Critique of the 1776 Commission Report/Printable version

Critique of the 1776 Commission Report

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Guide for Contributors

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Furthermore, we particularly encourage authors who are scholars, teachers, and students of US History, Civics, and related fields. Ideally, we will recruit a reputable core group to guide the project.

The Basics edit

General help and links:

Style Guide for this Wikibook edit

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Policies for this Wikibook edit

General edit

This book will follow all the general Wikibook policies and guidelines.

No Essays or Polemics -- The Importance of 'Neutral Point of View' edit

The authors of 1776 Report wove value-based and judgment-based essay in with summaries of history and memories of history. Many critics of 1776 Report will want to write essays or polemics opposing the values and judgments expressed by the authors. We encourage you to do so, but this Wikibook (Critique of the 1776 Commission Report) is not the place for it.

As one of the Wikimedia projects, Wikibooks has a 'Neutral Point of View' policy. This has been debated, revised, and governed from the very start of Wikipedia in the late 1990s. We won't be debating the pros and cons of that policy, nor will we attempt to create a version of our own (a.k.a. a "fork"). Diversity of viewpoints are welcome and identifying 'contested territory' is valued. But this Wikibook is not the place to resolve all the debates and controversies.

One way we hope to cope with diversity of viewpoints and controversies is having multiple categories of analysis and rebuttal (e.g. History Content, Memory Content, Rhetoric, etc.). Hopefully this gives space for each of these modes of analysis.

Finally, if you fundamentally disagree with the 'Neutral Point of View' policy, then this Wikibook project is not well suited to you as an author or editor.

Wiki Structure (Planned) edit

Text from the original 1776 Report will be uploaded into "source pages" -- one wiki page per paragraph. (Exception: Appendix I. Declaration of Independence.) These pages will be locked to prevent from further editing or vandalism.

All of the authors and editors will add/modify content on individual pages for each page/column/paragraph number. These are called "Analysis and Rebuttal Pages".

There will be a fixed template for each Analysis and Rebuttal Page:

  • At the top, for reference, will be the original paragraph (transcluded from it's source page.)
  • Below or next to it will be the "summaries" for each category of analysis or rebuttal.
  • These summaries for each category will be automatically generated from the subsection headings, on the page below. Each subsection title must be a sentence, and be sequenced in logical order for the paragraph.
  • The required sections are:
    • History Content
    • Memory Content
    • Rhetoric
    • Viewpoints
    • Authorship
    • Other Content
      • (anything that doesn't fit into the sections above, and also will not appear in the Summaries. Excludes meta-discussions, which belong in the 'Talk' page for each.)
    • Footnotes -- automatically generated from <ref> tags on the page
    • Further Reading
  • The summaries for each category of analysis and each paragraph will be transcluded on to the "side-by-side" pages in the main text.

Creating New Pages edit

For the most part, authors will not need to be creating new pages, but instead will be adding/editing text and references on existing pages.

Named Contributors

(please enter your name in alphabetical order)

Thomas, Russell Cameron -- Data Scientist and PhD Candidate in Computational Social Science, George Mason University


This textbook is an annotated/augmented text based on the President’s Advisory 1776 Commission Report, published by the White House, United States of America, January 2021 (public domain).

This critique is needed because the 1776 Report includes many errors, omissions, and contested assertions, and lacks context to help readers evaluate its content and messages independently. We justify this strong assertion via the content of this textbook.

Presentation edit

For easy reading and interpretation, the original paragraphs of the 1776 Report are presented side-by-side with the corresponding the analysis/ rebuttal. Color coding and interactive buttons allow the reader to switch between the different categories of analysis.

Content edit

The paragraph-by-paragraph analysis and rebuttal of the 1776 Report includes these categories:

  • History and Memory content -- historical facts, historical analysis, what we remember about history, why those memories are prominent, etc.
  • Rhetoric -- how the content is presented and to what end, e.g. factual statement, values statement, example, story, hyperbole, generalization, argumentation, etc.
  • Viewpoints -- whose viewpoints are expressed, and whose are excluded, and the implications
  • Pedagogy -- the educational process or methods expressed or implied
  • Authorship -- who authored the 1776 Report, issues about references, sources, and plagiarism

Appendix I. Declaration of Independence from the 1776 Report is not included in the side-by-side analysis because it is simply the text of the Declaration, without any addition content by the report authors.

Consistent with all Wikibooks, this textbook adopts a neutral point of view, and therefore does not include essays or arguments regarding the values expressed in the 1776 Report, including philosophy (ethics, morals), social justice, politics, personal motives or biases of the authors, and similar. Readers interested in these perspectives and arguments are encouraged to look at the Further Reading section.

Intended audiences edit

  • Teachers and students of Civics and US History -- high school and undergraduate college
  • Educational policy makers for high schools and undergraduate colleges
  • Teachers and students of communications, rhetoric, cultural studies, and education -- undergraduate college


Original Text Analysis & Rebuttal
I. Introduction
p1, col. 1, ¶1:
In the course of human events there have always been those who deny or reject human freedom, but Americans will never falter in defending the fundamental truths of human liberty proclaimed on July 4, 1776. We will — we must — always hold these truths.


[history placeholder]


[memory placeholder]





[authorship placeholder]
Original Rebuttal
Original Rebuttal

Page 1, Col. 1, PP 1

Original Text:

In the course of human events there have always been those who deny or reject human freedom, but Americans will never falter in defending the fundamental truths of human liberty proclaimed on July 4, 1776. We will — we must — always hold these truths.

Analysis & Rebuttal:

History Content edit


[history placeholder]

[Analysis & Rebuttal from regarding History Content in the Original Text -- What events happened and when? Who was involved? Who was affected? What factors or conditions led to or caused historical events? ]

Memory Content edit


[memory placeholder]

[Analysis & Rebuttal from regarding Memory Content in the Original Text -- what is remembered about history? What has been omitted or forgotten?]

Rhetoric edit



[Analysis & Rebuttal from regarding Rhetoric in the Original Text.]

Viewpoint edit


[Analysis & Rebuttal from regarding Viewpoint in the Original Text, especially whose viewpoints are included and excluded.]

Authorship edit


[authorship placeholder]

[Analysis & Rebuttal from regarding Authorship in the Original Text, especially sources, omissions from sources, and plagiarism]

Other edit

[Any other Analysis & Rebuttal that does not fit in the categories above]

Footnotes edit

Further Reading edit

Original text

The original text of the 1776 Report is included in the following subpages, by page number, with one section per paragraph. This facilitates transclusion of the original text into the side-by-side analysis/rebuttal pages.

Original_Table_of_Contents edit

I. Introduction -- 1

II. The meaning of the declaration -- 2

III. A constitution of principles -- 6

IV. Challenges to America's Principles -- 10

Slavery -- 10
Progressivism -- 12
Fascism -- 13
Communism -- 14
Racism and Identity Politics -- 15

V. The Task of National Renewal -- 16

The Role of the Family -- 17
Teaching America -- 17
A Scholarship of Freedom -- 18
The American Mind -- 18
Reverence for the Laws -- 19


Appendix I: The declaration of independence -- 21

Appendix II: Faith and America's Principles -- 24

Appendix III: Created Equal or Identity Politics? -- 29

Appendix IV: Teaching Americans about Their Country -- 34

Original Text, by Page edit

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