11-R085

2011 -- S 0116

Enacted 02/24/11

 

 

J O I N T R E S O L U T I O N

CREATING A SPECIAL LEGISLATIVE COMMISSION TO BE KNOWN AS "THE RHODE ISLAND CIVIL WAR SESQUICENTENNIAL COMMEMORATION COMMISSION"

     

     

     Introduced By: Senators McCaffrey, Felag, and Lynch

     Date Introduced: January 27, 2011

 

     

 

     WHEREAS, The American Civil War was a defining experience in the development of

the United States; and

     WHEREAS, 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; and

     WHEREAS, 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; and

     WHEREAS, Rhode Island provided more troops proportionately to the Union than any

other northern state; and

     WHEREAS, Rhode Island citizens supported the administration of President Abraham

Lincoln in many ways, by voting for him in 1860 and 1864, as well as providing cultural,

political, and military support; and

     WHEREAS, 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;

and

     WHEREAS, Notable milestones during this period include the following:

     On November 6, 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United

States;

     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 of America;

     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;

     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, and

Appomattox;

     On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation,

freeing all slaves in states or parts of states considered to be in rebellion against

the Federal Government;

     On June 28, 1864, President Lincoln repealed all fugitive slave laws;

     On January 31, 1865, the United States Congress, with the vigorous support of

Abraham Lincoln, passed the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing

slavery and involuntary servitude;

     On April 9, 1865, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox

Courthouse;

     On April 14, 1865, President Lincoln was shot by Confederate sympathizer John

Wilkes Booth while attending a play at Fordís Theatre, and died the next day;

     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; and

     By the end of the Civil War, an estimated 620,000 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; and

     WHEREAS, The sesquicentennial of the Civil War presents a significant opportunity for

Rhode Islanders and all 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; now, therefore be it

     RESOLVED, That a special legislative commission to be known as ďThe Rhode Island

Civil War Sesquicentennial Commemoration CommissionĒ be and the same is hereby created

consisting of twenty-seven (27) members: two (2) of whom shall be members of the Senate, not

more than one from the same political party, to be appointed by the President of the Senate; two

(2) of whom shall be members of the House of Representatives, not more than one from the same

political party, to be appointed by the Speaker of the House; one of whom shall be the Adjutant

General of the State of Rhode Island, or designee; one of whom shall be the President of the

Rhode Island Civil War Roundtable, or designee; one of whom shall be the Chair of the Lincoln

Forum, or designee; one of whom shall be the Commanding General of the New England

Brigade, or designee; one of whom shall be the Rhode Island State Archivist, or designee; one of

whom shall be a member from the Rhode Island State Council on the Humanities, to be appointed

by its Executive Director; one of whom shall be a member from the Rhode Island Economic

Development Corporation, to be appointed by its Executive Director; one of whom shall be a

member from the Rhode Island Historical Society, to be appointed by its Executive Director; one

of whom shall be a member from the Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission, to be

appointed by its Executive Director; one of whom shall be a member from the Rhode Island State

Council on the Arts, to be appointed by its Executive Director; one of whom shall be a member

from the Lincoln Group of Boston, to be appointed by the organizationís President; one of whom

shall be a member of the Rhode Island Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary

Education, to be appointed by the Chairperson of the Board; one of whom shall be a member of

the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education, to be appointed by the Chairperson

of the Board; one of whom shall be the curator of the McLellan Lincoln Collection at The John

Hay Library of Special Collections at Brown University, or designee; one of whom shall be the

curator of the Anne S. K. Brown and Military Collections at Brown University, or designee; one

of whom shall be the Director of Hearthside House, located in the Town of Lincoln, or designee;

one of whom shall be the Rhode Island Commander, Military Order of the Loyal Legion, or

designee; one of whom shall be the President of the Providence Chapter of the N.A.A.C.P., or

designee; one of whom shall be the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Urban League of

Rhode Island, or designee; and four (4) of whom shall be members of the general public with a

demonstrated interest in history and substantial knowledge and appreciation of the Civil War, to

be appointed by the Governor.            

     In lieu of any appointment of a member of the legislature to a permanent advisory

commission, a legislative study commission, or any commission created by a General Assembly

resolution, the appointing authority may appoint a member of the general public to serve in lieu

of a legislator, provided that the majority leader or the minority leader of the political party which

is entitled to the appointment consents to the appointment of the member of the general public.

     The purpose of said Commission shall be to make a comprehensive study in order to:

     Ensure a suitable observance in the State of Rhode Island 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;

     Collaborate with and assist other state and national organizations with programs

and activities for the observance of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War in the

State of Rhode Island;

     Observe and study Rhode Islandís participation in the Civil War, including the

contribution of its soldiers, sailors, and citizens;

     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

     Provide assistance for the development of programs, projects, and activities on

the Civil War that have lasting educational value within the State of Rhode

Island.

     The duties of said Commission shall be to:

     Plan, develop, and carry out programs and activities appropriate to commemorate

the sesquicentennial of the Civil War and Rhode Islandís participation and

contributions therein, including activities in recognition of the historic, social,

legal, cultural, and political forces that caused the American Civil War and

influenced its course and outcomes;

     Encourage interdisciplinary examination of the Civil War;

     Facilitate Civil War-related activities throughout the State of Rhode Island;

     Encourage civic, historical, educational, economic, and other organizations

throughout the State of Rhode Island to organize and participate in activities to

expand the understanding and appreciation of the significance of the Civil War;

     Coordinate and facilitate the public distribution of scholarly research,

publications, and interpretations of the Civil War;

     Provide assistance to localities, and nonprofit organizations to further the

commemoration of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War;

     Develop programs and facilities to ensure that the sesquicentennial

commemoration of the Civil War results in a positive legacy and long-term

public benefit; and

      Encourage the development and conduct of programs and activities that

commemorate the Civil War and Rhode Islandís participation and contributions

therein.

     Appointments to the Commission shall be made within sixty (60) days of the passage of

this resolution.  The members of the Commission shall meet no later than sixty (60) days after the

completion of all appointments to the Commission, and shall select a Chairperson and a Vice

Chairperson from among its voting members.  Subsequent meetings of the Commission shall be

at the call of the Commissionís Chairperson. 

     A majority of members shall constitute a quorum, but a lesser number may hold

meetings. The commission shall act only on an affirmative vote of a majority of the voting

members of the Commission.

     Vacancies in said Commission shall be filled in like manner as the original appointment.

     The membership of said Commission shall receive no compensation for their services.

     All departments and agencies of the state shall furnish such advice and information,

documentary and otherwise, to said Commission and its agents as is deemed necessary or

desirable by the commission to facilitate the purposes of this resolution.

     The Commission may, for the purpose of carrying out its duties:

     Accept and use gifts of money, property, and services, and may accept and use

voluntary services;

     Appoint any advisory committee as the Commission considers appropriate;

     Authorize any voting member or employee of the Commission to take any action

that the Commission is authorized to take under duties and purpose of the

commission;

     Procure supplies, services, and property, and make or enter into contracts, leases,

or other legal documents to carry out its duties and purpose (except that any

contracts, leases, or other legal agreements entered into by the Commission shall

not extend beyond the date of the Commissionís expiration;

     To perform any and all other activities in connection with the educational,

charitable and scientific purposes of the Commission within the meaning of

Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, and to

work in conjunction with other 501(c)(3) and non-profit organizations with a

similar mission.

     The Joint Committee on Legislative Services is hereby authorized and directed to provide

suitable quarters in the State House for said Commission; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That the Commission shall prepare a strategic plan and shall submit annual

performance plans for the activities of the commission to the General Assembly.  In addition to

performance plans, said reports shall contain a list of each gift, bequest, or devise with a value of

more than two hundred fifty dollars ($250), together with the identity of the donor of each such

gift, bequest, or devise; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That the Commission shall issue a final report that contains a summary of

activities of the Commission, a final accounting of funds received and expended by the

Commission, and the findings and recommendations of the Commission to the General Assembly

not later than January 5, 2016, and said Commission shall expire on March 5, 2016. 

     

=======

LC00447

========