The American Revolution Institute of the Society of the Cincinnati works to ensure that all Americans understand and appreciate the major achievements of the American Revolution—our independence, republican institutions, national identity, and our dedication to ideals of liberty, equality, natural and civil rights and responsible citizenship. The men and women of the Revolutionary generation who fought for these achievements deserve the respect of all Americans, and should be honored for their achievements. Those achievements are the foundations upon which nearly 250 years of progress are based. Each generation of Americans, including our own, should work to fulfill the high ideals of our Revolution.
Active participation in public discussion and debate about the achievements of the American Revolution is an essential aspect of the mission of the American Revolution Institute. This commitment sets the American Revolution Institute apart from many historical societies, museums, libraries, historic preservation groups and lineage organizations, most of which do not participate in public discussion and debate.
The American Revolution Institute encourages respect for the men and women of the Revolutionary generation who secured our independence, created our republican institutions and dedicated the nation to liberty, equality, natural and civil rights and responsible citizenship. We encourage, applaud and support public and private efforts to honor them. We support public policies that encourage understanding and appreciation of the constructive achievements of the Revolutionary generation. We encourage teachers, schools and school systems to make understanding and appreciation of the constructive achievements of the Revolutionary generation a high priority. We applaud those who do. We encourage efforts to fulfill the high ideals articulated by the Revolutionary generation.
The American Revolution Institute opposes disrespect for the men and women responsible for the constructive achievements of the American Revolution. We object to misrepresentations of their accomplishments, motives and commitment to the great cause to which they dedicated themselves and for which so many died.
Our advocacy is non-partisan. The need for understanding and appreciation of the achievements that define our nation is a cause that should unite all Americans. We welcome the support of all who share our convictions and our concern for encouraging effective, non-partisan history education. We look forward to a future in which all Americans understand and appreciate the legacy of the American Revolution.
We encourage all our visitors to read Why the American Revolution Matters, our basic statement about the importance of the American Revolution. It outlines what every American should understand about the central event in American history. It will take you less than five minutes to read—and a few seconds to send the link to your friends, family and colleagues so they can read it, too.
If you share our concern about ensuring that all Americans understand and appreciate the constructive achievements of the American Revolution, we invite you to join our movement. Sign up for news and notices from the American Revolution Institute. It costs nothing to express your commitment to thoughtful, responsible, balanced, non-partisan history education.
Since its beginning, the American Revolution Institute has been committed to promoting understanding and appreciation of the achievements of the American Revolution. In this opening statement, we promised to address a major problem of our time: “We believe that Americans are growing forgetful, and that far too many have been persuaded that our Revolution is a source of injustice and oppression that threw off one set of tyrants only to impose new ones. There is no truth in this. The Revolution was imperfect and incomplete, but it created the foundations upon which liberty has grown for nearly 250 years.”
The American Revolution was the central event in American history. The men and women of the Revolutionary generation secured our independence, created our republic, established our national identity and committed the new nation to ideals of liberty, equality, natural and civil rights and responsible citizenship. Those ideals have defined our national history. Fulfilling their bright promise in the lives of all Americans is our responsibility.
A year before rioters began vandalizing monuments to heroes of the American Revolution, students at Hofstra University demanded the removal of a statue of Thomas Jefferson from campus, asserting that Jefferson was a symbol of oppression. This essays explores how a generation of American students have been indoctrinated in a radical school of history shaped by the late Howard Zinn, a self-described Marxist for whom the goal of history teaching was entirely political.
In the New York Times “1619 Project,” lead author Nikole Hannah-Jones asks Americans to reject the achievements of the American Revolution and claims that the men and women who sacrificed, struggled and died for American independence are unworthy of our respect. We ask Americans to embrace the Revolution and its principles as the common inheritance of free people, and to respect the men and women who secured our independence as our benefactors—and to recognize that the work they began is not yet done.
In the “1619 Project,” Nikole Hannah-Jones claims that the American Revolution was fought to perpetuate slavery and that the nation’s founding ideals were a fraud. She couldn’t be more wrong. The American Revolution committed the nation to the idea of natural rights that has been the basis for the extension of freedom for nearly 250 years.
The lead essay of the New York Times “1619 Project” misrepresents the American Revolution, asserting that the revolutionaries declared independence to perpetuate slavery. There’s no credible evidence for this claim, which rests on discredited political polemics masquerading as scholarship. This essays refutes the claims about the American Revolution in “The Idea of America” and traces them to their discredited sources.
A statue of Major General Philip Schuyler, a hero of the Revolutionary War, has graced the front of Albany City Hall since 1925. The president general of the Society of the Cincinnati sent this letter to Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan of Albany appealing her executive order to remove the statue because Schuyler, one of the wealthiest men in Revolutionary New York, owned slaves. The mayor’s order neglects Schuyler’s role in creating a new nation that placed slavery on the path to extinction.
We first published this statement in September 2017, shortly after a church where George Washington worshiped in Alexandria, Virginia, announced that it was removing a marble plaque with the simple text, “In Memory of George Washington.” Some members of the parish, they said, were “uncomfortable” with the memorial because Washington was a slaveowner. We thought then, and think now, that this ignores the importance of the Revolution Washington led for the expansion of liberty for all mankind. We republished the statement on July 4, 2020, after vandals destroyed and damaged memorials to Washington and other heroes of liberty across the country.
Black soldiers and sailors made up a substantial part of the armed forces that won American independence. Recovering their stories, as this essay makes clear, can be extremely challenging, but the effort enriches our understanding of the Revolutionary War and the experience of the thousands of black Americans who fought for the American cause.
This is a brief summary of the three essays on the “1619 Project” published on June 16, 2020, with links to each of those essays and publications elsewhere exposing the errors of the “1619 Project” about the American Revolution.
Most of the published critiques of the “1619 Project” focus on the historical errors of the publication’s lead essay by Nikole Hannah-Jones, neglecting the 1619 Project Curriculum promoted by the Pulitzer Center with the support of the New York Times. In this essay we examine the central lesson in the curriculum, which directs students to consider American history—including the history of the American Revolution—as if the claims made by Ms. Hannah-Jones are established facts. Nowhere does the curriculum invite students to challenge the premise of the “1619 Project” that American history is defined by “systemic racism.”
Americans need to understand the experience of African Americans who fought to secure American independence. In The Heroic Jeffrey Brace, we examine the experience of one of those soldiers. He was taken from Africa as a young man, endured brutality at the hands of those who enslaved him, and enlisted in the Continental Army to secure his freedom. His story illustrates the complicated relationship between race and the ideals of the American Revolution.
For news and commentary on education and popular understanding of the American Revolution and its legacy, as well as reports and editorial coverage of American history and civics education, we recommend the American Civics portal of RealClear Public Affairs.