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Hillsdale College Releases Its 1776 Curriculum, Countering “The 1619 Project”

There is a war going on all around us. It is a conflict born of racial hatred motivated by Fascist thought and which threatens to destroy an entire generation.

On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress, composed of representatives from the 13 British colonies in America, declared unanimously and officially that “these colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States … Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown.”

That historical reality is being systematically attacked by no less than The New York Times’ through its1619 Project.” Developed with a complete lack of honesty or scholarship by a Times magazine writer named Nikole Hannah-Jones, the word has been poorly received by academics across the political spectrum. The 1619 Project aims to teach American youth that our nation was founded in 1619 when the first slaves arrived from Africa.

One would suppose that virtually every citizen in the United States of America would be able to recognize the dichotomy represented in those opposing histories. We see that far too many have forgotten the meaning of 1776. The revisionist myths taught by Hannah-Jones and other Fascist Leftists in control of our school systems have diminished the great accomplishment of America’s founding generation.

Ask the American on the street why the United States declared independence, and he or she will in all likelihood repeat the well-known slogan “no taxation without representation,” if that person could answer at all. But did the whole question of independence really hang on unfair taxation — on material and commercial concerns?

There is so much more behind American independence that Americans today would do well to remember. To the Founders, the fight for American independence was necessary. It was just. The righteousness of their cause is seen through an understanding of the natural-rights philosophy of the American founding.

This was a clear understanding that has largely been lost, thanks to the rejection of the American founding by the progressive movement of the 20th century. Rediscovering this understanding may help Americans navigate our own political crises today.

Americans declaring independence in 1776 made a universal claim. In the familiar words of the Declaration of Independence, “When in the Course of human events . . . ” Note the phrase “human events.” Not “American” events. Not “colonial” events. Not “white people” events. “Human” events.

From the beginning, the representatives of the colonies make clear that what follows in this document is meant for all people, in all places, in all times. Pay attention: This document claims to speak to directly to you.

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“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The cornerstone of the Declaration is the self-evident truth that “all men are created equal.” This proposition has caused headaches among some conservatives who worry that the equality principle conflicts with liberty.

Such conservatives take to heart Tocqueville’s warning that the “taste men have for freedom and the one they feel for equality are in fact two distinct things. … [T]hey want equality in freedom, and, if they cannot get it, they still want it in slavery.” This is true if we take equality to mean equality of outcome, which the government must impose by force, which the Fascists of the 21st Century are willing to impose by any means.

That is not what the Founders meant by equality. The Founders meant equality in rights. What rights? Natural rights ― rights that belong to human beings because they are human beings. These are rights endowed by man’s “Creator,” shared equally among mankind.

Equality is the central idea of the Declaration of Independence. “All men are created equal” in the sense that no one is so perfect that he may rightfully exercise absolute power over other men for their good or his own. Nor is anyone so defective that he may rightfully be treated as a “slave by nature,” as Aristotle had claimed in his ancient work, Politics. These facts imply that all are rightfully free of the rule of other men, and that therefore no one should rule another without that other’s consent.

The right to life means no one has the right to take away our lives by murder. The right to liberty means the right to live our lives free from the coercion of others ― including the right to pursue happiness in the private sphere, provided individuals acknowledge their moral duty to respect the rights of others and treat them with the dignity required by their equal status as members of the human race.

“That to secure these rights,” the Declaration continues, “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Contrary to the violent ideology of Antifa and BLM anarchists, the Founders understood that government is a necessary good. In the absence of government, in a state of nature, the rights of individuals are insecure, because the strong always prey upon the weak. Good government is that which secures our rights from those who would violently prey upon them.

However, the principle of equality establishes that a good government, a just government, is only that government which men consent to live under, since no individual has the natural right— granted by God — to rule another without that consent.

This understanding of equality and consent, of the proper role of government, is critical to understanding the Founders’ theory of politics and why independence from Great Britain was both necessary and just.

“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends,” the Declaration says, “it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

In the part of the Declaration of Independence few these days bother to read, the Founders laid out their charges against King George III and the British Parliament, citing a “long train of abuses and usurpations” that show exactly how the British Empire had, by its actions, ceased to be a just government and had become “destructive” of the ends of “Safety and Happiness” for the American people.

This is where we are today. Government has slowly, over the last 150 years, usurped our rights of consent, building an enormous bureaucracy that issues regulations, dictums and rules that we have not, as citizens of the United States, authorized through our elected representatives. Though the Left claims that, by our representatives authorizing these agencies to make those parameters  in place, the Constitution makes no allowance for such “passing the buck” from Congress to bureaucrats.

Without U.S. citizens becoming aware of what the Declaration and the Constitution actually grant us, there is little hope we as a population will realize we’ve been enslaved.

Our formative generations are being grossly misled by Hannah-Jones and her fraudulent work. The purveyors of Critical Race Theory are further obfuscating the meaning of equality, natural rights and race relations through the false teaching of Ibram X. Kendi.  True insurrectionists Antifa and BLM have reduced the constitutional definition of equality to a racist rant, “Black Lives Matter.”

As we have clearly delineated here, the Declaration and the Constitution state emphatically that all lives matter, not just whites, blacks or any other color. No nationality nor creed nor faith exempts anyone from the natural rights granted to them by God ― even if they do not believe in him.

The warped reality imagined by the racists claiming to be “woke” is counterintuitive to the reality created in 1776. Their various ideologies threaten the very fabric of American culture. Their violence threatens the lives and property of millions of Americans, especially police officer. The lies fabricated by Hannah-Jones, Kendi and their ilk must be not only resisted, but destroyed before they pollute the minds of an entire generation.

Enter Hillsdale College.

At a time when most colleges and universities — as well as many public schools — have been not just promoting but actually teaching “The 1619 Project” and so-called Critical Race Theory, both of which prop up the unconstitutional beliefs of the Left, Hillsdale has done the complete opposite. Moreover, their massive 2,400-page 1776 curriculum is being made available free of charge to any parents, students or schools that want it.

The K-through-12 educational material produced by private conservative Hillsdale Collage unabashedly teaches the patriotic American history that our public schools have, for the most part, abandoned. It holds fast to the principles and truths this article outlines.

Hillsdale Senior Provost Christopher Rufo said in a telephone interview with America’s Conservative Voice the Hillsdale the curriculum “is not political propaganda, but rather an attempt to offer American students an education that isn’t tainted by far-Left Fascist or Marxist ideology.”

In just a matter of 18 months, The 1619 Project has been so embraced at all levels of education that the reiteration of the truth became absolutely necessary. Though there are a few other such efforts underway, Hillsdale is the first to come up with a comprehensive public-school curriculum, much more so the first to offer it for free.

“This curriculum is a work of education,” Hillsdale College President Larry P. Arnn told America’s Conservative Voice in a separate telephone interview. “It seeks to teach the truth of American history and to cultivate in students the knowledge and virtue necessary to live good lives as citizens.”

The Hillsdale 1776 Curriculum was created by teachers, for teachers, according to Arnn. While developing the curriculum’s layout, materials, and pedagogy, he said, the K-12 Education Department used Hillsdale College’s decades of experience supporting teachers in K-12 education. As a result, unlike some other curricula being developed by non-educator groups, the Hillsdale 1776 Curriculum meets the practical needs of parents and teachers on the frontlines of K-12 education.

The curriculum’s content relies upon primary source documents and draws upon the insights of celebrated historians and political philosophers who once taught or continue to teach at some of the nation’s most prestigious institutions of higher education, including Princeton; Columbia; UCal-Berkeley; the University of Chicago; Johns Hopkins; and Hillsdale. The result treats American history, even its most controversial aspects, in a reasonable, respectful, candid and unbiased way.

The counter-point to the 1619 Project likely will not be well-received on the Left, particularly among public school and higher educators. Be prepared to see it attacked vociferously by the media and Fascist talking heads on CNN and MSNBC.

Be prepared to defend our history. Teach it to your children, protest the creeping fallacies of CRT and the 1619 Project into your local school district and area colleges and universities. Put down the rabid animal that is racism disguised as “wokeness” with prejudice.

The sooner, the better.


Mike Nichols is a conservative, a patriot, U.S. Army veteran, licensed professional counselor, political enthusiast, sports fan and writer living with his beautiful wife Liz in the Heartland. He has a regular blog at America’s Conservative Voice on Substack and a Facebook presence at Americas Conservative Voice-Facebook.