“A Truly American Education”: Hillsdale College Introduces Pro-1776 K-12 Curriculum

AMAC Exclusive by: Seamus Brennan


Over the past several months, the school curriculum has suddenly emerged as a major political battleground following months of strong grassroots resistance to the proliferation of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and other radical ideologies in classrooms. As parents of all political stripes have united to de-racialize their children’s education, Hillsdale College, long a pillar of honest academic inquiry in the increasingly radicalized world of higher education, has stepped in to not only combat CRT, but to restore the preeminence of traditional history and civics education.

Late last month, Hillsdale released its 1776 Curriculum, a new K-12 curriculum that seeks to immerse students in American history and the American political tradition by focusing on primary source documents and balanced commentary, rather than CRT and leftist-inspired narratives. “In history and civics classes, American students should have one aim above all: to understand what they have received, i.e., their inheritance as Americans,” Hillsdale’s website states. The curriculum prioritizes “knowledge and understanding of American history and of the American republic as governed by the Constitution and morally grounded in the Declaration of Independence.”

“Our curriculum was created by teachers and professors—not activists, not journalists, not bureaucrats,” Hillsdale’s Dr. Katherine O’Toole said in a press release. “It comes from years of studying America, its history, and its founding principles, not some slap-dash journalistic scheme to achieve a partisan political end through students. It is a truly American education.”

The 1776 Curriculum was inspired by the work of the 1776 Commission, a President Trump initiative that was cancelled by President Biden in his first few hours  in office. The Commission was originally envisioned as a classical restatement of America’s founding principles by historians and scholars to counter a disfigured account of American history that “lacks perspective, obscures virtues, twists motives, ignores or distorts facts, and magnifies flaws.” On January 18 of this year, just two days before President Trump left office, the Commission released a detailed report that sought to refute “attempts that seek to reframe American history around the idea that the United States is not an exceptional country but an evil one.”

Dr. Matthew Spalding, former Executive Director of the 1776 Commission and Kirby Professor in Constitutional Government at Hillsdale College, told AMAC Newsline in an interview that although he was at first “taken aback” by the cancellation of the Commission,” he became “almost immediately thankful because by cancelling it, [Biden] actually brought more attention to the report” than he had perhaps anticipated. “What’s going on here is not a historical debate between one view of the Founding and another view of the Founding,” Spalding said. “Much of the approach of the 1619 Project and the current debate coming from CRT really has nothing to do with history, it’s more about fighting a current ideological battle. And they’re using history as a tool to fight current debates.”

Spalding noted that Hillsdale’s 1776 Curriculum seeks not only to counter the false narratives promoted by publications like the 1619 Project and radical ideologies like CRT, but also to heed the call of the 1776 Commission Report by teaching history that is “accurate, honest, unifying, inspiring, and ennobling.” In other words, Hillsdale’s curriculum is not just about countering the woke status quo in teaching history and civics, but also replacing it with a comprehensive program that adheres to America’s founding principles. Whereas CRT advocates make primarily ideological and political arguments in favor of their distorted vision of American history, Spalding said, the ideas embodied in both the Report and in Hillsdale’s new curriculum are grounded solely in history.

Hillsdale’s 1776 Curriculum consists of nearly 2,500 pages—including lesson plans and primary source documents—in addition to 20 units, 85 lessons, and an estimated 478 class periods’ worth of course material. Curriculum units for K-8 students include the American Founding, the American Civil War, the Declaration of Independence, and the United States Constitution, while high school units include the Principles of America, Equality in America, and Progressivism and the State. By the end of 2021, Hillsdale plans to add more units in American history ranging from Colonial America to the Cold War.

Though many progressives are quick to accuse efforts like the 1776 Curriculum of being ahistorical and indifferent to the evils of slavery, the Curriculum references slavery close to 2,000 times and condemns the practice as a “glaring” failure for America to live up to its “founding ideals.”

When asked how concerned parents can ensure their children are receiving a valid historical account of the Founding in the classroom, Dr. Spalding urged parents and other worried community members to remember that they have a say in school curriculum through elections for local officeholders and school board members: “One of the things the 1776 Report also pointed out was it reminded us that the federal government really has no role at all in curriculum matters. These are matters for states, for local school boards, for particular schools,” he said. “Parents should get involved in their schools, they should get involved in their school districts, they should be going to school board meetings, they should be actively involved in tracking what’s going on in their state legislatures.”

As parents become increasingly aware of the dangers of CRT and similar anti-American ideas that permeate their children’s classrooms, Hillsdale’s 1776 Curriculum provides a ready-made alternative that can equip students with a factual account of the nation’s founding, its heroes, and its history. For the millions of concerned Americans who hope to expel CRT from American education altogether, Hillsdale’s curriculum is a monumental step toward achieving that goal.

The 1776 Curriculum is free to the public and can be accessed on Hillsdale’s website.

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Ron Howard
2 months ago

Once again I have had to call AMAC to complain about censorship. I was replying to a comment from a reader questioning if Hillsdale would make their 1776 curriculum available to home school teachers, and I copied the last line of the article as an answer to the reader. That last line stated that that it is available free at Hillsdale. Since that included a link my comment was held for approval. I have complained many times to AMAC about censorship, and the person I talked to today felt it was to avoid getting a virus in a link, but will check it out and get back to me. I said if they must check links 1st, then they should do so much more quickly, especially when the link was in their article. Epoch Times news is the best honest, non-censored online news, and they censor foul language, but not links. I love all else about AMAC, so hope the censorship and approval of comments before publishing becomes a thing of the past very soon.

John S. Rinck
2 months ago

Thank you Hillsdale for preserving the accuracy of our historical heritage.

Susan Yarnell
2 months ago

Just what is needed in today’s confusion!

2 months ago

Hillsdale College is a bastion of American patriotism. I love this college even though I’ve never seen it or visited it. I thank heaven fir it’s existence.????????????????????????????????????????????????

2 months ago
Reply to  BeeBee

I didn’t leave ? Marks but American flags!

Ron Howard
2 months ago
Reply to  BeeBee

Hillsdale is a wonderful college who offers many online courses, many free. I took a good free online course from them on the Constitution. They also maintain their independence from government control by NOT taking any funds from the government. They need donations. Check out what they offer.

2 months ago

I applaud Hillsdale for standing up for preserving the history of the past, and teaching the truth to future generations. We have to continue to have a free nation or we will lose everything that which was fought for in times past.

Jody Nazarchyk
2 months ago

Thank you so much for this excellent curriculum! I was on our town Board of Ed for 24 years and I am now an elected Select Person. I am deeply concerned about the direction our country’s educational system is going in. We need to teach our Students about how great America is. Of course we are not perfect and we have made mistakes, but the hatred I see and hear about our country is very concerning and it has to stop! We need to be teaching history facts not hate. we need to stop being a Democrat and a Republican and start being an American!

Sandra Foster
2 months ago

This is a wonderful idea. I hope this news goes viral because we so need for our children to know the truth about the development of this great country.

Edward Pratt
2 months ago

This is the kind of article that needs to be posted virally on social media – showing there is an alternative to the destructive 1619 project and critical race theory. Going to AMAC facebook page to share it now.

Jerome Gabrovic
2 months ago

I wonder if Hillsdale would make available study materials for home schooling parents/instructors?

Ron Howard
2 months ago

“The 1776 Curriculum is free to the public and can be accessed on Hillsdale’s website.”.

Sharon Griffin
2 months ago

Love, love love

JL Garcia
2 months ago

We just finished presenting a Patriot Camp to students 6 to 12 here in Florida. We’ve been doing it since 2011 and it’s always an inspiring week for everyone. We have them experience from the time of the Pilgrims through the Constitution. They have a great time and learn without knowing they are learning. So wonderful that Hillsdale is doing this.

Linda Murdock
2 months ago

Hillsdale should take their high school curriculum and develop individual on line subject classes. In this way kids stuck at liberal high schools could opt out and replace their literature, history, and civics classes.

Dr. Deborah Mitchell Gerold
2 months ago

I’d love to work for this college. I have 40+ years in education and my doctorate, but because of the democrats I have returned to Christian education.

Cherrill Corby Lewis
2 months ago

This is a great article. You have a wonderful magazine and I love what you are doing!
God Bless you all.

2 months ago

Hillsdale College is a beacon of truth and deserves the support of every conservative patriot!

2 months ago
Reply to  Felix

KUDOS to Hillsdale College. A beacon of truth indeed!. I am intensely proud of my relationship with Hillsdale College.

2 months ago
Reply to  Felix


2 months ago

There are increasingly faith based and fact based curriculum alternatives available. Hillsdale College has its own elementary schools now, too, I think. They are American centric and really educate young people to think and be functioning and contributing members of American society. A great organization.

Linda Murdock
2 months ago
Reply to  LauraC

Where are there schools?

Di B
2 months ago
Reply to  Linda Murdock

If you click on the 1776 Commission link near the top of the article, it will take you to a page with a link for school locations on the far right.

Bill on the Hill
2 months ago

Talk about a breath of fresh air! Kudos to Hillsdale College…
The 1776 Commission is precisely what all schools across America are in dire need of right now…!
Yes, it was inspired by President Trump, even those that don’t like Trump because of his personality flaws, his hairdo, whatever the hell your problem with Trump is, for just a moment folks, put that in the closet & pretend it was somebody else that initiated the 1776 Commission. Along comes JRB & he REMOVES the 1776 Commission & REPLACES it with CRT & the now infamous 1619 Project, I ask any level headed American citizen, regardless of your political persuasion, race, creed or gender: What is wrong with learning American history with all of it’s richness & beauty to behold?
Bill on the Hill… :~)

2 months ago

I’m with you my friend! There is no place for lies and filling our children’s heads with false information. Our county is the most wonderful place to live. We were founded “under God with peace and liberty for all” I pray that He continues to bless America!

2 months ago
Reply to  Marilyn

It’s getting harder to see any greatness in this nation

Ron Howard
2 months ago
Reply to  HocasPocas

Try looking a little harder. Many great things are happening in many states to counter the damage from the Marxist Democrats in Congress and Senate.

2 months ago

I agree whole heartedly. I truly fear for what my great-grand children may be taught in school.

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