WASHINGTON — In a ceremony at the White House today, President Donald Trump announced the launch of the President’s Advisory 1776 Commission, a group of 18 patriotic Americans who will work together to safeguard America’s founding principles, to restore national confidence in, and love for, those principles, and to rekindle the faith in the common story that binds us to one another as Americans.
Mike Gonzalez, a Heritage senior fellow and author of “The Plot to Change America,” was named as one of scholars that Trump intends to appoint to the commission. Gonzalez, the Angeles T. Arredondo E Pluribus Unum fellow at Heritage, brings decades of experience and a deep knowledge of American history to the commission.
Gonzalez will join Dr. Larry Arnn, chairman of the President’s Advisory 1776 Commission, and Dr. Matthew Spalding, who will be the commission’s executive director. Arnn is president of Hillsdale College and a member of Heritage’s Board of Trustees. Spalding is former vice president of American studies at The Heritage Foundation and director of the Simon Center for Principles and Politics, and executive editor of “The Heritage Guide to the Constitution.”
“At this divisive time in our nation’s history, it is more important than ever that all Americans, especially our youngest generations, come to know and love America for who she is—a nation unlike any other in recorded history,” said Heritage President Kay C. James. “America is a nation that has been divinely used to not only safeguard the freedom of its own citizens, but also to unleash unprecedented freedom and flourishing on the rest of the world.
“I am so proud of Mike, Larry, and Matt for their tireless efforts to educate the American people about our founding principles and ideals, and to stand against the voices of those who seek to lie, to distort and to undermine not only who we are as a nation, but our unity as the American people,” James added. “The commission will be well-served by having them as members.”
The commission was created by executive order in November 2020 to push back against the rising tide of anti-Americanism and sentiments antithetical to the American founding in our nation’s schools, institutions of higher learning, and in the media.
The work of the commission is to replace these poisonous, divisive views, and efforts to undermine the country with information that is not only historical accurate, but which seeks to define and portray America and her founding principles fairly and truthfully. Failure to overcome this rising tide of anti-Americanism in our educational institutions could “ultimately erase the bonds that knit our country and culture together,” and end the American experiment, according to the executive order, thus highlighting the need for accuracy and truth even more.
“I look forward to rendering this service. Teaching the young to hate their country and its history is a recipe for national suicide, and a quick one at that,” Gonzalez said. “America has had its trials and tribulations, and they should not be swept under the rug by history. But, all of America’s accomplishments have been achieved by those who inspired their countrymen to live up to the ideals contained in the founding documents. From James Madison and Thomas Jefferson to Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr., our leaders have aspired to improve the republic by forcing it to live up to its promise, not to tear it down and build something new.”
The commission will have numerous, specific roles to play in new generations of school-aged children and young people as well as the principles and character of their nation. It will produce a report regarding the core principles of America’s founding and how these principles further guarantee and protects “the blessings of liberty” and to promote “a more perfect Union.”
The commission will play a key advisory role in helping state and local institutions prioritize the American founding in their educational materials, and advise state and federal agencies on prioritizing America’s founding principles in the awarding of grants and other resources.