Warning: It’s Worse Than You Thought

National Archives Slaps ‘Harmful Content’ Warning On Constitution, All Other Founding Documents

Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States is a 1940 oil-on-canvas painting by Howard Chandler Christy, depicting the Constitutional Convention signing the U.S. Constitution at Independence Hall in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787.

Generations of children have grown up learning the simple truism, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never harm me.” They might be shocked to know that the nation’s primary keeper of its most important words disagrees.

The National Archives hosts several million visitors every year, who come to the nation’s official museum to see the original “charters of freedom” – the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. Millions more view those founding documents on the Archives’ website. But this year, for the first time, visitors are being warned that many of America’s historical documents contain not only offensive, but “harmful language.” So much for teaching children there is no such thing.

What started as a plan to address racial inequity in Archives’ employment and personnel policies, quickly morphed into a critique of its historic collections themselves, especially how they are interpreted and explained to students and other visitors. A “Reparative Description… Working Group” was empaneled to address “archival description and equity,” including the use of “harmful language.” Based on its recommendation, the National Archives has now slapped a “warning” on its website, declaring that the museum contains “some content that may be harmful or difficult to view.”

It explains that the Archives “records span the history of the United States, and it is our charge to preserve and make available these historical records. As a result, some of the materials presented here may reflect outdated, biased, offensive, and possibly violent views and opinions.”

How tragic – that as we celebrate Constitution Day, September 17, the agency charged with preserving that venerable document may care more about political correctness, and “harmful language,” than about the freedom that Constitution has brought to millions for over two and a quarter centuries.

Fortunately, the Leadership Program of the Rockies continues to grow the army for freedom, a network of engaged and active citizens who understand the vital importance of those founding documents, and have the skills to persuade others. Our base of over 1700 alumni are fighting to preserve individual freedom, personal responsibility, and free enterprise. They understand that, far from being “harmful,” the words of America’s founding documents have inspired generations of people around the world to fight for freedom.

We are continuing to build that army every year, and to preserve the essential principles of the founders. Whether or not the keepers of the original documents take time to read and understand those documents, we at LPR are making sure generations of Americans will continue to do so. Thank you for your support in this vital mission.

by Haley Strack, for The Federalist