H. R. 2633
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
July 9, 2013
Mr. Danny K. Davis of Illinois (for himself and Mr. Shimkus) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Financial Services
To require the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the Sesquicentennial Anniversary of the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which officially marked the abolishment of slavery in the United States.
This Act may be cited as the
Thirteenth Amendment Commemorative
The Congress finds the following:
The economic contributions of enslaved African Americans to the American economy between 1691 and 1860 were immeasurable. This labor force was used to build the foundations upon which America stands today.
From the 16th through the 19th centuries, most colonial economies in the Americas were dependent on human-trafficking and the use of enslaved African labor for their survival. This included the North American mercantile and shipping sectors that were dependent on slave-produced cotton, rice, sugar and indigo, and the profits derived from triangular trade with the West Indies, Africa, and Europe.
Enslaved Africans in the United States were also recognized as an important element in the political and economic capital in the nation’s political economy.
Over the course of
246 years, slaves contributed an estimated 605 billion hours of forced free
labor, the gain from which provided
seed capital for the
American economy, helped finance the birth of American finance and industrial
sectors, contributed to the growth of most of the
companies, and ultimately assisted the nation in financing both world
During the Civil
War, after Union forces repelled a Confederate invasion at the battle of
Antietam in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation
Proclamation, which declared that all slaves in states then in rebellion would
forever free as of January 1, 1863. By his action, Lincoln
added a new and revolutionary dimension to the nation’s war aims: from being a
conflict to preserve the Union, the Civil War grew to be a crusade to end black
slavery and fulfill the promise of the Declaration of Independence.
In the spring of 1864, Charles Sumner introduced an anti-slavery amendment in the Senate, much like the amendments that were introduced in the House by Representatives James Ashley and James Wilson in December of 1863, which declared all persons as equal, prohibited the slavery, and granted Congress the power to enforce these provisions. After extensive debate, the 13th Amendment was formed from this proposal, with the omission of the declaration of equality of all persons, and passed the Senate on April 8, 1864, by a vote of 38–6.
abolitionists and supporters of slavery focused on the moral issue of slavery
and various interpretations of
natural law. Representative John
Farnsworth of Illinois stated that
the old fathers who made the
constitution believed that slavery was at war with the rights of human
nature, and pointed out the contradiction between the existence of
inalienable rights and the institution of slavery. Some members within the
Republican Party, such as Charles Sumner, sought an interpretation of the
Constitution that rejected slavery as incompatible with moral law.
took an active role in promoting the 13th Amendment in Congress. He ensured
that the Republican Party’s 1864 election platform included a provision
supporting a constitutional amendment to
terminate and forever prohibit
the existence of Slavery. His efforts were met with success when the
House passed the bill on January 31, 1865, with a vote of 119–56.
On February 1, 1865, Illinois became the first state to ratify the proposed 13th Amendment; it was joined by 17 other states by the end of the month. Georgia ratified on December 6, 1865, becoming the 27th of 36 states to approve the Amendment, thus achieving the constitutional requirement that it be ratified by three-fourths of the states. Secretary of State William Seward declared the 13th Amendment to be part of the Constitution on December 18.
The Smithsonian National Museum of African
American History and Culture (hereafter referred to in this section as the
NMAAHC) was established by an Act of Congress in 2003, in Public
It is fitting that the NMAAHC receive the surcharges from the sale of coins issued under this Act because the Museum is devoted to the documentation of African American life, and, among other areas, encompasses the period of slavery and the era of Reconstruction.
The surcharge proceeds from the sale of a commemorative coin, which would have no net cost to the taxpayers, would raise valuable funding to supplement the endowment and educational outreach funds of the NMAAHC.
Secretary of the Treasury (hereafter in this Act referred to as the
Secretary) shall mint and issue the following coins in
commemoration of the Sesquicentennial Anniversary of the passage of the 13th
$50 bi-metallic platinum and gold coins
Not more than 250,000 $50 coins, which shall—
have a weight, diameter, and thickness determined by the Secretary; and
contain platinum and .9167 pure gold.
$20 gold coins
Not more than 250,000 $20 coins, which shall—
weigh 33.931 grams;
have a diameter of 32.7 millimeters; and
contain .900 pure gold.
$1 silver coins
Not more than 500,000 $1 coins, which shall—
weigh 31.103 grams;
have a diameter of 40.6 millimeters; and
contain .999 fine silver.
The coins minted under this Act shall be legal tender, as provided in section 5103 of title 31, United States Code.
Design of coins
The design of the coins minted under this Act shall be emblematic of the Thirteenth Amendment and the abolishment of slavery in America.
Designation and inscriptions
On each coin minted under this Act there shall be—
a designation of the value of the coin;
an inscription of
In God We Trust,
States of America, and
E Pluribus Unum.
The design for the coins minted under this Act—
shall be based on the economic contributions of slavery, and include images of the pathway from slavery to freedom;
may include, on the $20 coins, that the design elements be in high relief;
may include, on the $50 coins—
on the obverse, an illustration of Columbia or similar figure representing Liberty, the female representation of America; and
on the reverse, a single eagle, and a set of stars on one or both sides;
shall be selected by the Secretary after consultation with the Commission of Fine Arts; and
shall be reviewed by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee.
Issuance of coins
Quality of coins
Coins minted under this Act shall be issued in uncirculated and proof qualities.
Period of issuance
The Secretary may issue coins minted under this Act only during the calendar year beginning January 1, 2016, except that the Secretary may initiate sales of such coins, without issuance, before such date.
Minting in 2016
Notwithstanding section 5112(d)(1) of title 31, United States Code, the Secretary may continue to mint the coins under this Act in the year 2016.
Sale of coins
The coins issued under this Act shall be sold by the Secretary at a price equal to the sum of—
the face value of the coins;
the surcharge required under section 7(a) with respect to such coins; and
the cost of designing and issuing such coins (including labor, materials, dies, use of machinery, overhead expenses, marketing, and shipping).
The Secretary shall make bulk sales of the coins issued under this Act at a reasonable discount.
Prepaid orders at a discount
The Secretary shall accept prepaid orders for the coins minted under this Act before the issuance of such coins.
Sales prices with respect to prepaid orders under paragraph (1) shall be at a reasonable discount.
All sales of coins under this Act shall include a surcharge of $10 per coin.
Subject to section 5134(f) of title 31, United States Code, all surcharges received by the Secretary from the sale of coins issued under this Act shall be promptly paid by the Secretary to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture to carry out the purposes of the museum, which goes beyond simply telling the history of African Americans, creating an opportunity for anyone who cares about African American Culture a place to explore, learn, and revel in the rich history of African American Culture.
The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture shall be subject to the audit requirements of section 5134(f)(2) of title 31, United States Code, with regard to the amounts received under subsection (b).
Notwithstanding subsection (a), no surcharge may be included with respect to the issuance under this Act of any coin during a calendar year if, as of the time of such issuance, the issuance of such coin would result in the number of commemorative coin programs issued during such year to exceed the annual 2 commemorative coin program issuance limitation under section 5112(m)(1) of title 31, United States Code. The Secretary of the Treasury may issue guidance to carry out this subsection.
The Secretary shall take such actions as may be necessary to ensure that—
minting and issuing coins under this Act will not result in any net cost to the United States Government; and
no funds, including applicable surcharges, are disbursed to any recipient designated in section 7 until the total cost of designing and issuing all of the coins authorized by this Act is recovered by the United States Treasury, consistent with sections 5112(m) and 5134(f) of title 31, United States Code.