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Vivek Ramaswamy is invoking ‘1776 ideals’ on the campaign trail: What does that really mean?

A familiar date — 1776 — has repeatedly been invoked on the campaign trail by Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy.

A biotech entrepreneur, Ramaswamy has rallied supporters around what he calls the “ideals of 1776,” arguing that people should embrace a “1776 moment” to ignite a fight against “wokeness,” referring to progressive policies around identity and social equality.

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Other conservatives, including former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, have made similar arguments in years past, seeking to contrast how they describe the spirit of America’s founding revolution with the values of today.

Here’s what they’ve said and why, and what experts say about the lessons of 1776.

‘A new kind of American Revolution’?

“I think the work that you all are doing is the beginning of a new kind of American Revolution in our country, reviving the ideals of 1776,” Ramaswamy said in a June roundtable with House Anti-Woke Caucus members. “That’s how we defeat the woke agenda.”

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Dr. Carol Swain
Dr. Carol Swain
Dr. Carol Swain is a Distinguished Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies with the Texas Public Policy Foundation and a former tenured professor at Vanderbilt and Princeton universities. Her most recent books are Black Eye for America: How Critical Race Theory is Burning Down the House (Co-authored with Dr. Chris Schorr, 2021) and Countercultural Living: What Jesus Has to Say about Life, Marriage, Race, Gender, and Materialism (2021).


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