H. R. 1420
To establish a commission to commemorate the sesquicentennial of
the American Civil War.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
April 7, 2011
Mr. JACKSON of Illinois (for himself and Ms. MOORE) introduced the following
bill; which was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
To establish a commission to commemorate the sesquicentennial of
the American Civil War.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission Act'.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.
(a) Findings- Congress makes the following findings:
(1) The American Civil War was a defining experience in the development
of the United States.
(2) The people of the United States continue to struggle with issues of
race, civil rights, heritage, and the politics of federalism, which are
legacies of the Civil War and Reconstruction.
(3) There is a resurgence of interest in the Civil War that is evidenced
by the multitude of publications, exhibits, reenactments, research organizations,
Internet and multimedia resources, historic parks, and preservation associations
focused on the Civil War.
(4) The years 2010 through 2015 mark the sesquicentennial of the period
beginning with the election of Abraham Lincoln and concluding with the end
of the Civil War. Notable milestones during this period include the following:
(A) On November 6, 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the
(B) On December 20, 1860, in a special convention, the South Carolina
Legislature voted to secede from the Union following the election of Lincoln.
In the early months of the following year, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama,
Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas seceded and formed the Confederate States
(C) In April 1861, Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter, the first
shots fired in the Civil War. In response, President Lincoln ordered the
blockade of all Confederate ports and called for 75,000 volunteers to
enlist in the Union Army. Four more Southern States--Virginia, Arkansas,
Tennessee and North Carolina--seceded in the months following the attack
on Fort Sumter.
(D) The Civil War spawned numerous campaigns, battles, and engagements,
including Bull Run, the Monitor versus the Merrimac, the Peninsula Campaign,
Shiloh, the Capture of New Orleans, the Shenandoah Valley Campaign, Seven
Pines, Seven Days, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg,
the Siege of Vicksburg, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Wilderness, the Siege
at Petersburg, the Capture of Atlanta, the March to the Sea, Nashville,
(E) In January 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation,
freeing all slaves in States considered to be in rebellion against the
(F) On June 28, 1864, President Lincoln repealed all fugitive slave laws.
(G) On January 31, 1865, the United States Congress passed the 13th Amendment
to the Constitution, abolishing slavery and involuntary servitude.
(H) On April 9, 1865, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered at
(I) On April 14, 1865, President Lincoln was shot by Confederate sympathizer
John Wilkes Booth while attending a play at Ford's Theater, and died the
(J) In April and May 1865, Confederate Generals Joseph Johnson and E.
Kirby Smith, leaders of the remaining organized Confederate Forces, surrendered,
formally ending the Southern Resistance.
(K) By the end of the Civil War, an estimated 600,000 Union and Confederate
soldiers had been killed and over 471,000 wounded, making the Civil War
the bloodiest war in the history of our Nation.
(5) The sesquicentennial of the Civil War presents a significant opportunity
for Americans to recall and reflect upon all aspects of that conflict and
its legacy in a spirit of reconciliation and honest reflection, through
exploration, interpretation, and discussion.
(6) The sesquicentennial of the Civil War presents a significant opportunity
to preserve and promote the remaining battlefields and historic sites relating
to the Civil War before the battlefields and sites are lost to future generations.
(b) Purpose- The purpose of this Act is to establish a Civil War Sesquicentennial
Commemoration Commission to--
(1) ensure a suitable national observance of the sesquicentennial of the
Civil War that includes recognition of the historic, social, legal, cultural,
and political forces that caused the American Civil War and influenced its
course and outcomes;
(2) explore the causes of the Civil War to gain a better understanding of
the reasons that the democratic framework of the United States failed to
resolve the sectional issues without resorting to war;
(3) fully examine and reflect upon the consequences of the Civil War, subjects
which Congress directed the National Park Service to address in National
Park Service programs and materials beginning in 1999, including the Reconstruction
era and the aftermath, the subsequent constriction of equal rights for African-American
citizens, and the ultimate achievement of civil rights for the descendants
of enslaved peoples almost a century later;
(4) collaborate with and assist States and national organizations with programs
and activities for the observance of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War;
(5) assist in ensuring that any observance of the sesquicentennial of the
Civil War is inclusive and appropriately recognizes the experiences and
points of view of all people affected by the Civil War; and
(6) provide assistance for the development of programs, projects, and activities
on the Civil War that have lasting educational value.
SEC. 3. CIVIL WAR SESQUICENTENNIAL COMMEMORATION COMMISSION.
The Secretary of the Interior shall establish a commission to be known as
the Civil War Sesquicentennial Commemoration Commission (hereafter in this
Act referred to as the `Commission').
SEC. 4. COMPOSITION OF THE COMMISSION.
(a) In General- The Commission shall be composed of 25 members as follows:
(1) GOVERNMENT MEMBERS- The Commission shall include--
(A) 2 Members of the Senate appointed by the President pro tempore of
the Senate, in consultation with the majority leader and the minority
leader of the Senate;
(B) 2 Members of the House of Representatives appointed by the Speaker
of the House of Representatives, in consultation with the minority leader
of the House;
(C) the Secretary of the Interior or the designee of the Secretary;
(D) the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, or the designee of the
(E) the Secretary of Education, or the designee of the Secretary;
(F) the Secretary of Defense, or the designee of the Secretary;
(G) the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, or the
designee of the Chairman;
(H) the Chairman of the National Endowment of the Arts, or the designee
of the Chairman;
(I) the Archivist of the United States, or the designee of the Archivist;
(J) the Librarian of Congress, or the designee of the Librarian; and
(K) the Director of the National Park Service, or the designee of the
(2) PRIVATE MEMBERS- The Commission shall include--
(A) 5 members appointed by the President from among individuals who are
representative of the corporate and nonprofit communities; and
(B) 7 individuals appointed by the President from among persons who by
reason of education, training, and experience, are experts on the Antebellum,
Civil War, and Reconstruction eras and the preservation, interpretation,
and presentation of those eras to the public, including--
(i) 5 individuals with expertise in history or related academic disciplines
germane to the Civil War, including--
(I) individuals representing the museum community, in particular history
museums and historical societies, such as the National Civil War Museum;
(II) individuals with expertise in art history, historic preservation,
or a related field;
(III) individuals with expertise in anthropology, cultural geography,
sociology, or a related field; and
(IV) individuals with expertise in political science, law, economics,
or a related field;
(ii) 1 individual with expertise in the preservation of Civil War historic
sites and battlefields; and
(iii) 1 individual representing State Civil War sesquicentennial efforts.
(1) GOVERNMENT MEMBERS- If any member of the Commission who was appointed
as an officer designated under subsection (a)(1) leaves such office, the
member may continue as a member of the Commission for not longer than the
30-day period beginning on the date the member leaves such office.
(2) PRIVATE MEMBERS- Private members under subsection (a)(2) shall be appointed
for the life of the Commission.
(c) Vacancies- Any vacancy in the Commission shall not affect its powers,
and shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.
(d) Initial Appointments- The appointment of the members of the Commission
shall be made not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this
SEC. 5. GENERAL PROVISIONS.
(1) INITIAL MEETING- Not later than 60 days after the date on which all
members of the Commission have been appointed, the members appointed under
subparagraphs (A) and (B) of section 4(a)(2) shall call the first meeting
of the Commission.
(2) SUBSEQUENT MEETINGS- The Commission shall hold subsequent meetings at
the call of the Chairperson.
(b) Chairperson and Vice Chairperson- At the initial meeting, the Commission
shall elect a Chairperson and a Vice Chairperson from among its voting members.
(c) Quorum- A majority of voting members shall constitute a quorum, but a
lesser number may hold meetings.
(1) IN GENERAL- The Commission shall act only on an affirmative vote of
a majority of the voting members of the Commission.
(2) NONVOTING MEMBERS- The individuals appointed under subparagraphs (A)
and (B) of section 4(a)(1) shall be nonvoting members, and shall serve only
in an advisory capacity.
SEC. 6. DUTIES OF THE COMMISSION.
(a) Activities Related to the Sesquicentennial- The Commission shall--
(1) plan, develop, and carry out programs and activities appropriate to
commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, including activities
in recognition of the historic, social, legal, cultural, and political forces
(A) caused the Civil War; and
(B) influenced the course and outcomes of the Civil War;
(2) encourage interdisciplinary examination of the Civil War;
(3) facilitate Civil War-related activities throughout the United States;
(4) encourage civic, historical, educational, economic, preservation, and
other organizations throughout the United States to organize and participate
in activities to expand the understanding and appreciation of the significance
of the Civil War;
(5) coordinate and facilitate the public distribution of scholarly research,
publications, and interpretations of the Civil War;
(6) coordinate with and provide technical assistance to States, units of
local government, and nonprofit organizations (including State and local
sesquicentennial commemoration entities) to further the commemoration of
the sesquicentennial of the Civil War;
(7) coordinate and facilitate commemoration activities of Federal agencies
relating to the sesquicentennial of the Civil War;
(8) develop programs and facilities to ensure that the sesquicentennial
commemoration of the Civil War results in a positive legacy and long-term
(9) encourage and facilitate the preservation of Civil War historic sites
and battlefields as a lasting legacy of the sesquicentennial commemoration;
(10) plan, develop, and carry out programs and activities to use funds raised
from individuals, foundations, and corporations for sesquicentennial activities
at the national level;
(11) at its discretion, provide funds to State and local programs to carry
out activities that advance the goals of the Commission; and
(12) encourage the development and conduct of programs designed to involve
the international community in activities that commemorate the Civil War.
(1) STRATEGIC PLAN AND ANNUAL PERFORMANCE PLANS- The Commission shall prepare
a strategic plan in accordance with section 306 of title 5, United States
Code, and annual performance plans in accordance with section 1115 of title
31, United States Code, for the activities of the Commission carried out
under this Act.
(A) ANNUAL REPORT- The Commission shall submit to Congress an annual report
that contains a list of each gift, bequest, or devise with a value of
more than $250, together with the identity of the donor of each such gift,
bequest, or devise.
(B) FINAL REPORT- Not later than September 30, 2016, the Commission shall
submit to Congress a final report that contains--
(i) a summary of activities of the Commission;
(ii) a final accounting of funds received and expended by the Commission;
(iii) the findings and recommendations of the Commission.
SEC. 7. GRANT PROGRAM.
(a) Grants Authorized- The Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities
shall award grants under this section for the uses described in subsection
(b) Use of Grants- Grants awarded under this section shall be used for appropriate
activities relating to the sesquicentennial of the Civil War.
(c) Consideration- In awarding grants under this section, the Chairman of
the National Endowment of the Humanities shall consider and give priority
to programs carried out by institutions of higher education, museums, nonprofit
organizations, professional associations, and State sesquicentennial commissions
with a national scope, that support the duties of the Commission described
in section 6, including programs that concentrate on the role of African-Americans
in the Civil War.
SEC. 8. POWERS OF THE COMMISSION.
The Commission may, for the purpose of carrying out this Act--
(1) solicit, accept, use and dispose of gifts, bequests, or devises of money
or property, both real and personal, for the purpose of aiding or facilitating
the work of the Commission;
(2) authorize any voting member or employee of the Commission to take any
action that the Commission is authorized to take under this Act;
(3) procure supplies, services, and property, and make or enter into contracts,
leases, or other legal agreements to carry out this Act (except that any
contracts, leases, or other legal agreements entered into by the Commission
shall not extend beyond the date of the termination of the Commission);
(4) use the United States mails in the same manner and under the same conditions
as other Federal agencies.
SEC. 9. PERSONNEL MATTERS.
(a) Compensation of Members- Members of the Commission shall serve without
(b) Travel Expenses- Members of the Commission shall be allowed, as the Secretary
of the Interior determines appropriate to carry out this Act, travel expenses,
including per diem in lieu of subsistence, at rates authorized for an employee
of an agency under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code,
while away from the home or regular place of business of the member in the
performance of the duties of the Commission.
(1) IN GENERAL- The Chairperson may appoint a Director and such additional
staff as are necessary to enable the Commission to perform its duties.
(2) CONFIRMATION OF DIRECTOR- The appointment of the Director shall be subject
to the approval of the Commission.
(A) NONAPPLICABILITY OF CIVIL SERVICE LAWS- Except as provided in subparagraph
(B), the Director and staff may be appointed without regard to the provisions
of title 5, United States Code, governing appointments in the competitive
service, and may be paid without regard to the provisions of chapter 51
and subchapter III of chapter 53 of that title relating to classification
and General Schedule pay rates.
(B) MAXIMUM RATE OF PAY- The rate of pay for the Director and other staff
shall not exceed the rate payable for level V of the Executive Schedule
under section 5316 of title 5, United States Code.
(d) Detail of Government Employees- At the request of the Commission, the
head of any Federal agency may detail, on a reimbursable or nonreimbursable
basis, any of the personnel of the agency to the Commission to assist the
Commission in carrying out the duties of the Commission under this Act.
(e) Support Services- Upon the request of the Commission, the Secretary of
the Interior, acting through the Director of the National Park Service, shall
provide to the Commission, on a reimbursable basis, the administrative support
services necessary for the Commission to carry out its responsibilities under
(f) Volunteer and Uncompensated Services- Notwithstanding section 1342 of
title 31, United States Code, the Commission may accept and use voluntary
and uncompensated services as the Commission determines necessary.
(g) Procurement of Temporary and Intermittent Services- The Chairperson of
the Commission may procure temporary and intermittent services under section
3109(b) of title 5, United States Code, at daily rates for individuals which
do not exceed the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay prescribed
for level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of such title.
(h) Nonapplicability of Charter Requirement- Section 14(b) of the Federal
Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall not apply to the Commission.
(i) Termination- The Commission shall terminate on the date that is 90 days
after the date on which the Commission submits its final report under section
SEC. 10. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.
(a) In General- There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this Act
(other than section 7) $500,000 for each of fiscal years 2012 through 2016.
(b) Grants- There is authorized to be appropriated $3,500,000 to the National
Endowment for the Humanities to provide grants under section 7, to remain
available until expended.