The National Archives Records Administration placed a “harmful content” warning on the Constitution, labeling the governing document of the United States as “harmful or difficult to view.” The warning applies to all documents across the Archives’ cataloged website, including the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence.
“NARA’s records span the history of the United States, and it is our charge to preserve and make available these historical records,” the administration said in a statement. “As a result, some of the materials presented here may reflect outdated, biased, offensive, and possibly violent views and opinions. In addition, some of the materials may relate to violent or graphic events and are preserved for their historical significance.”
The NARA, which is responsible for preserving and protecting documentation of American heritage, noted that so-called harmful historical documents could “reflect racist, sexist, ableist, misogynistic/misogynoir, and xenophobic opinions and attitudes; be discriminatory towards or exclude diverse views on sexuality, gender, religion, and more,” and “include graphic content of historical events such as violent death, medical procedures, crime, wars/terrorist acts, natural disasters and more.”
Along with committing to diversity and equity, the NARA said it would “[work] in conjunction with diverse communities, [and] seek to balance the preservation of this history with sensitivity to how these materials are presented to and perceived by users.”
This isn’t the first time the National Archives has catered to a leftist view of history. In June, the National Archives’ racism task force claimed that the Archives’ rotunda, which houses founding documents, is an example of “structural racism.” The task force also pushed to include trigger warnings around displays of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, which are all in the rotunda.
The warning is a blanket statement atop all documents in the archived catalogs that links to a “Statement on Potentially Harmful Content.”
As news of the website’s warning circulated on Twitter, the NARA issued a standard response to those concerned by the “harmful” label on the Constitution.
“This alert is not connected to any specific records, but appears at the top of the page while you are using the online Catalog. To learn more about why the alert about harmful language appears in our Catalog, please go to ‘NARA’s Statement on Potentially Harmful Content,’” the tweet said.