Analysis: The 1619 Project vs. the 1776 Commission
Photo by flysnowfly via Shutterstock
During a White House Conference on American History in September, President Trump addressed some issues within modern-day education that he believed were corrupting the American school system, citing the 1619 Project.
What is the 1619 Project?
In August 2019, the New York Times released a special edition of their magazine highlighting a story titled the 1619 Project. Following this release, the New York Times also made an interactive version of this story on their website.
When the interactive site was first published, the front page read, “The 1619 Project is major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.”
The statement that reads “understanding 1619 as our true founding,” quickly became controversial amongst many critics. They believed the New York Times staff was trying to rewrite history by neglecting the year the country was originally founded, in 1776.
A few months after the 1619 Project was published, New York Times Magazine reporter and creator of the project, Nikole Hannah-Jones, took to Twitter to promote her work. In a series of tweets that were soon deleted, Hannah-Jones argued that 1619 was the true founding date of America because it was the year the first slave ships arrived in Jamestown, Virginia. Her profile header still shows “July 4, 1776” crossed out with “August 20, 1619” bolded just beneath it.
In addition, several historians fact checked the entire 1619 Project. Most have concluded that several claims written in the project are false.
The New York Times and Nikole Hannah-Jones continue to receive backlash for publishing the 1619 Project. Criticism from all sides of the political spectrum haunted the Times so much that they decided to subtly remove certain claims that were written as if they never existed in the first place. But they did this without addressing it publicly.
The front page of the 1619 site now reads, “The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.”
Although the New York Times fixed their mistakes, there are still many skeptics who oppose the 1619 Project because of its original claims and objectives.
The 1776 Commission
The Trump Administration created the 1776 Commission in order to promote patriotic education and combat educators pushing the 1619 Project. President Trump believes today’s educational system is corrupt and that many on the left are trying to reinvent America’s pastime.
During the White House Conference on American History, Trump said: “The left has warped, distorted, and defiled the American story with deceptions, falsehoods, and lies. There is no better example than the New York Times’ totally discredited 1619 Project. This project rewrites American history to teach our children that we were founded on the principle of oppression, not freedom.”
“The left-wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American Revolution,” he added.
Further along in his speech, he said the left is trying to destroy the vision of Martin Luther King by dividing American citizens by race and imposing new segregation. He also ridiculed the 1619 Project, Critical Race Theory, and the crusade against American history, labeling them as “toxic propaganda.”
With the 1776 Commission, President Trump hopes “the legacy of 1776 will never be erased” and that “our youth will be taught to love America” through patriotic education.
Many people believe signing the 1776 Commission was a good move by the president. Most citizens want their children to learn about the history of the nation without bias. But there are still those who oppose this commission who believe there is no constitutional role for the federal government in education and as a result, the government would eventually corrupt the school systems over time.