Over the past five years, historians, journalists, and political activists have crafted seemingly conflicting narratives about the American founding. They are “seemingly conflicting” because all three center on the “proposition nation myth” of American history. According to this account, the United States was founded on the idea that all men (and women) were created equal. The “idea of equality” forms the backbone of both major political parties and saturates both American history and politics. The left’s 1619 Project and the right’s 1776 Commission Report are two sides of the same proposition nation coin. Both believe in the “idea” of America. The difference is not intent but action. The left argues Americans never lived up to their lofty ideals and even now fail to fully embrace real equality. The right agrees that some Americans–namely Southerners–rejected equality, but good, righteous Americans corrected those evils and created a real equitable society by the 1960s. Neither are completely correct. But what if America, the real tangible America, was not founded on an “idea” at all? What if most Americans in the founding period were more interested in the longstanding “Anglo-American tradition” of limited government, political independence, and the ancient rights of Englishmen than any lofty notions of equality. And what if Virginia, rather than New England, provided the model of American cultural and political development? If you believe “Virginia First,” you would be correct.

Virginia, more than any other state, forged what most people throughout the world considered to be an “American” culture. She was the home of presidents, jurists, and statesmen, explorers and adventurers, and some of the greatest military heroes in American history. Her sons established the first permanent English foothold in America, blazed trails to the west, mapped the seas, drafted the founding documents, crafted our debates over the powers of the Supreme Court and the general government, provided the foundation for the Bill of Rights, established representative government, dominated the origins of American music, free religion, and the writing of history, and birthed the first American heroes. America, as we know it, would not exist without Virginia. This is a positive narrative of the American experience designed to wrest control of the American story from both “conservative” and “progressive” historians and their gloomy, ideologically driven New England narrative. Virginia should be the American sun, the “lamp of experience” in a world of destructive political and historical innovation. As Lyon Gardiner Tyler writes in his opening essay “Virginia First”: “The United States of America are mere words of description. They are not a name. The rightful and historic name of this great republic is Virginia. We must get back to it if the country’s name is to have any real significance.”

This “project” has been three years in the making, and we hope it will stimulate a discussion about the American founding, American history, and American political identity and philosophy. The following documentary is a compliment to Virginia First: The 1607 Project which is now available in paperback, hardback, and Kindle formats. We invite you to both purchase a copy or two of the book, review it at Amazon or online, and share it with your friends and family. Please do the same with the documentary and the direct link to the Virginia First website. We believe this can change the way Americans remember their past and navigate their future.


Brion McClanahan

Brion McClanahan is the author or co-author of six books, How Alexander Hamilton Screwed Up America (Regnery History, 2017), 9 Presidents Who Screwed Up America and Four Who Tried to Save Her (Regnery History, 2016), The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Founding Fathers, (Regnery, 2009), The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution (Regnery History, 2012), Forgotten Conservatives in American History (Pelican, 2012), and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Real American Heroes, (Regnery, 2012). He received a B.A. in History from Salisbury University in 1997 and an M.A. in History from the University of South Carolina in 1999. He finished his Ph.D. in History at the University of South Carolina in 2006, and had the privilege of being Clyde Wilson’s last doctoral student. He lives in Alabama with his wife and three daughters.


  • James Persons says:

    I watched this last night and it was terrific. I passed it on to all my family members. Thank you, Dr. McClanahan and all the others who produced this!!

  • William Quinton Platt III says:

    Every stripe on the US flag represents a slave State. The first yankee State to outlaw slavery was PA…they got rid of the 14 slaves in the State and started passing laws to prevent blacks from returning…in 1840, PA disenfranchised the free blacks who had managed to avoid deportation. Of course, no blacks were ever freed in PA…the owners just received ample time and opportunity to sell their stock down the river to New Jersey.

    Yankees had so few blacks because there was less fear of mosquito-born disease as there was in the South. Yankees had few blacks because the oppressive heat of the South kept many Whites from wanting to migrate there. There was no need for black labor in the north…there were plenty of White slaves to import.

    In modern Florida, yankees abound…but 50 years ago, when I was a child, yankees came for the WINTER…not the summer…and damx yankees stayed instead of packing up and heading home in the spring.

  • Will says:

    Thank you to the Abbeville Institute for this!

  • Paul Yarbrough says:

    Small acorns grow into large oaks. I thoroughly enjoyed this presentation.

  • THT says:

    Gosh, Mr. McClanahan. Thank you and other contributors for this.

    I read somewhere that, of all the cultures that came to the Americas, i.e. the Yankees, the Piedmont/Tidewater, Appalachians, Deep Southerners, Midlanders, etc… that the Tidewater and Piedmont has pretty much gone “extinct”.

  • D. R. Holaway says:

    Many thanks to the Abbeville Institute in conjunction with Last Stand Studios for providing this superb documentary. I watched it with my parents, and we were able to have a meaningful conversation afterwards about Conservatism and Southern history. I wholeheartedly agree with military historian Sandy Mitcham’s advice in the film that, in order to save this nation from the dark path it now treads, young people should purpose in their hearts to emulate the integrous Christian character and graceful resolve of General Robert E. Lee.

  • Ryan says:

    Just finished watching it. It’s fantastic. A huge achievement, Congratulations.

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