Publication Date

May 1, 2001

Perspectives Section


Senate Holds Hearing on Copyright Harmonization Act

On March 13, 2001, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act of 2001 (S. 487), which was introduced March 7 by Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), chair of the committee and cosponsored by the committee’s ranking Democrat, Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). The objective of the bill is to make it easier to use copyrighted material in online instruction. The bill incorporates the recommendations made by the United States Copyright Office in a 1999 report, and suggestions advanced by the Congressional Web-based Education Commission.

Under current law, copyrighted material used under “fair use” provisions in a classroom often cannot be used in an online course; securing copyright permission can be a lengthy and at times expensive process. The legislation is designed to correct this. Presently, distance educators can only make fair use of complete versions of nondramatic literary and musical works. This legislation seeks to enable educators to use limited portions of dramatic literary and musical works as well as audiovisual works and sound recordings. The legislation relies on safeguards (such as passwords) to ensure that only students have access to the copyrighted material.

Testifying in support of the measure was Gerald A. Heeger, president of the University of Maryland’s University College, an institution that specializes in providing distance education for students worldwide. This legislation, he said, “will move the copyright law in accordance with the educational reality of today.”

The Association of American Publishers, however, testified in opposition to the bill. The association’s objections were that the language may be too broad and the potential for misuse by students too great. “We don’t believe the Copyright Act is holding back distance education in any serious way,” said Allan Robert Adler, a vice president of the association.

Another witness, Marybeth Peters, register of copyrights, spoke in favor of amending the bill to extend the fair-use exemption to for-profit colleges and universities so that they, along with nonprofit educational institutions, could benefit from the exemptions. Because of the strong bipartisan support for the bill, it is expected to clear the Senate Judiciary Committee fairly quickly.

Hearing on Cold War Theme Study/Ronald Reagan Commemorative Sites

The House Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on National Parks, Recreation, and Public Lands held its first hearing of the 107th Congress on March 8, 2001. Several bills were considered: H.R. 107, a bill introduced by the new subcommittee chair, Rep. Joel Hefley (R-Colo.), to direct the secretary of the interior to conduct a National Landmark theme study on Cold War sites; H.R. 400, legislation introduced by Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) to establish the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home in Dixon, Illinois, as a National Historic Site; and H.R. 452, legislation introduced by Resource Committee Chair Jim Hansen (R-Utah) to erect a memorial on the Mall to former President Ronald Reagan.

Richard Ring, associate director of park operations and education for the National Park Service (NPS), made his subcommittee debut testifying on behalf of the administration. On H.R. 107, the NPS recommended the committee “defer action … until we are able to begin making progress on the president’s initiative to eliminate the NPS deferred maintenance backlog.” On H.R. 400, Ring stated that the Department of the Interior appreciated the goals of the legislation, but wanted to see the bill amended ” to authorize a study of the site” to first determine whether it meets the various tests of national significance, suitability, and feasibility for national park designation. The central question the NPS wants to examine is whether the site is the best place to recognize the historical significance of President Reagan. On H.R. 452, the NPS opposed placement of the proposed Reagan memorial on the Mall (the testimony cited several reasons-most important, the administration wanted to adhere to guidelines established by the Commemorative Works Act-legislation signed by President Reagan himself that sets a 25-year time limit after a person’s death before considering placement of a memorial on the Mall).

Witnesses speaking on the Reagan memorial legislation included Carolyn Brody, a member of the Washington, D.C., Commission on Fine Arts, who opposed the memorial’s placement on the Mall, and Grover Norquist, chair of the Ronald Reagan Legacy Foundation, who spoke in favor of the legislation as crafted. Norm Wymbs, chair of the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home Foundation, eloquently addressed issues relating to the Reagan boyhood site. Jimmy Dishner, a deputy assistant secretary for the air force, addressed the committee in support of the Cold War theme study, as did Francis Gary Powers Jr., founder of the Cold War Museum in Fairfax, Virginia, and of the NCC, who made a number of suggestions to strengthen the legislation. Testimony and other related material regarding this hearing are expected to be posted on the subcommittee home page in the near future at.

Education Bill Passes Senate Committee

Republicans and Democrats in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee have agreed on a $27 billion education package that includes most of President George W. Bush’s proposals for education reform. The measure passed 20-0. The president hopes to hold schools accountable for results, wants to have statewide testing, and seeks to promote a reading literacy program. In order to avoid a partisan fight in committee, chair James Jeffords (R-Vt.) and ranking minority member Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) agreed to leave the president’s controversial voucher plan out of the bill. Vouchers are expected to be a major issue when the bill hits the Senate floor. Due to a “busy schedule,” however, the Senate will not take up the president’s education proposals until late April or early May, according to Republican sources. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.)—who very much wanted to debate the education bill—said that the Senate will first debate bankruptcy and campaign finance reform prior to addressing the education bill.

As currently drafted, the committee mark does not include a specific earmark for history education. However, Senator Robert Byrd’s (D-W.Va.) office informs the NCC that the senator is considering a floor amendment to earmark some funds for history education when the legislation is debated in the Senate. (Byrd authored a $50 million earmark for history education in the fiscal 2001 education department appropriation.) Byrd is probably not the only Democrat who will advance amendments—according to Democratic aides, Democrats are likely to insist on more education money across the board as their price for backing the Bush plan.

On a related front, the Committee for Education Funding (CEF)—a nonpartisan coalition of some 100 education organizations—issued a statement late in February that the Bush education budget “does not provide the level of resources for education that are needed today.” The organization claims that a close reading of President Bush’s “A Blueprint for a New Beginning” (the budget document is available online at reveals that the total increase for the Department of Education is not $4.5 billion (or an 11.5 percent increase over the previous year), but rather $2.5 billion (a 5.9 percent increase). Furthermore, “this increase would represent the smallest percentage increase for the Department of Education in the last five years.”

The CEF is calling on Congress to invest five cents of every tax dollar on education over the next five years; this represents a three cents per dollar increase over the present spending level. Details about the CEF are available at

Push for Additional History Education Funding

On February 15, 2001, Senator Byrd used the opportunity of the President’s Day holiday to remind his Senate colleagues about the sorry state of historical awareness on the part of America’s youth. In his speech Byrd said that as the nation celebrates the birth of two of its most revered presidents many school children “do not fully appreciate the lives and accomplishments of these two American giants of history.” He lamented that students “have been robbed by a school system that no longer stresses a knowledge of American history. … What a waste. What a shame.”

Byrd summarized the findings of a 1994 National Assessment of Educational Progress study and last year’s study released by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. The results of both studies he found to be “deeply disturbing” as they demonstrate that students from elementary school through college levels “lack even the most rudimentary grounding in U.S. history.” Byrd said that every American student “must know the history of the land to which they pledge allegiance. They should be taught about the Founding Fathers of this nation, the battles that they fought, the ideals that they championed, and the enduring effects of their accomplishments. They should be taught about our nation’s failures, our mistakes, and the inequities of our past. Without this knowledge, they cannot appreciate the hard won freedoms that are our birthright.”

Byrd then explained his rationale for adding an amendment in last year’s education department appropriations act that earmarked $50 million for history (not social studies) education for local school districts that devise programs to teach history as a distinct discipline (see NCC Washington Update, 6:45, December 21, 2000). Byrd characterized his funding effort as “a starting point for a partial solution to this egregious failure of the American educational system.” Byrd expressed his hope that with this money, “schools that have previously sought to teach American history should be commended, and schools that wish to add this critical area of learning to their curricula should be helped to do so.”

Byrd indicated that he is supportive of additional funding for history education. “It is my hope that this money will serve as seed corn, and that future spending will be dedicated to the improvement and expansion of courses dedicated to teaching American history on its own, unencumbered by the lump sum approaches of ‘social studies’ or ‘civics.’ The senator then concluded his remarks with an excerpt from the famous funeral oration of Pericles as reported by Thucydides in his History of the Peloponnesian War, which emphasizes the need to remember the deeds of great people and nations.

Senator Byrd’s speech reflects his deeply held belief that the nation’s failure to adequately teach American history will “ultimately mean a failure to perpetuate this wonderful experiment in representative democracy.” To keep this from happening, he appears committed to history education and is urging his Senate colleagues to set aside still more federal funds to address the problem of historical illiteracy. “The history of our nation,” Byrd stated, “is too important to be swept under the bed, locked in a closet, or distorted beyond all recognition. The corridors of time are lined with the mistakes of societies that lost their way, cultures that forgot their purpose, and nations that took no heed of the lessons of their past. I hope that this nation, having studied their failures of those before it, would not endeavor to test fate’s nerve.”

The full text of Senator Byrd’s comments appears in the Congressional Record (Senate: February 15, 2001; S1455-56) and may be accessed through the Library of Congress’s “THOMAS” Internet legislative information system at

Clinton National Monument Orders to Stand

Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton said on February 19, 2001, that the Bush administration would not seek to overturn any of President Bill Clinton’s designations of some five million acres of federal lands as national monuments. Under the authority of the 1906 Antiquities Act, which provides a means for a sitting president to protect unique or historically significant lands without congressional approval, Clinton designated 19 new national monuments—18 of them during his last year in office. While there may be some special legislation introduced to modify boundaries of some of the new monuments, Norton said that there would be no comprehensive roll back of Clinton’s designations. Norton did, however, criticize the Clinton administration for its haste in designating the monuments and in not taking into account the cost of producing management plans for the new areas.

In the meantime, House Resources Committee chair James V. Hansen (R-Utah), who is a severe critic of the Antiquities Act provision that grants a president national monument designation authority, sent letters to House members urging them to introduce legislation challenging Clinton’s designations if they are unhappy with them. While neither Congress nor a newly sitting president has the authority to override a designation order, Hansen’s committee is making a comprehensive review of all of Clinton’s designations to determine whether the actions “are popular with local communities and to correct other problems.” One monument set aside by President Clinton specifically for its historical importance—the President Lincoln and Soldiers Home National Monument in Washington, D.C. (see NCC Washington Update, 6: 24, July 19, 2000)—is not expected to garner significant postdesignation community opposition.

In the past, Congress has been reluctant to curb presidential powers established in the Antiquities Act. Representative Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), however, reportedly is drafting legislation that would require congressional approval of any monument larger than 50,000 acres.

Legislation Introduced

Several bills of interest to the historical community have been introduced recently. They include:


Louisiana Purchase Commission

Senator Mary L. Landrieu (D-La.) has introduced legislation (S. 356) to establish a National Commission on the Bicentennial of the Louisiana Purchase. In 1803, Congress paid France $15 million for western lands that at the time virtually doubled the size of the United States. The legislation seeks to celebrate the event in 2003 by “enhancing public understanding of the impact of westward expansion on the society of the United States” and by “providing lessons for continued democratic governance in the United States.”

As drafted, the legislation seeks to authorize a 24-member commission (12 Republicans and 12 Democrats) that would be appointed by the president and the majority and minority leaders of the House and Senate. The legislation does not specify that any member need have historical expertise but merely “have demonstrated a strong sense of public service, expertise in the appropriate professions, scholarship and abilities likely to contribute to the fulfillment of the duties of the commission.” In addition, the governments of France and Spain would each have the right to appoint a nonvoting member to the commission. The commission may also appoint such advisory committees as it deems necessary.

The professionally staffed commission would be charged to plan, develop, and coordinate activities throughout the United States and internationally. It would coordinate activities developed by various federal departments and agencies, and consult with tribal, state, local, and foreign governments, as well as schools, colleges, and private organizations whose activities would “commemorate or examine the history of the Louisiana Territory, the negotiations of the Louisiana Purchase, voyages of discovery, frontier movements, and westward expansion of the United States.”

One year after the enactment of the legislation, the commission would issue a report and make recommendations for the production of books, films, and other educational materials; suggest bibliographical and documentary projects, conferences, lectures and seminars, traveling exhibitions, ceremonies, and celebrations; and consider issuing commemorative coins, medals, and stamps. Total funding for the project is not to exceed $4 million.

“Peopling” Theme Study

On February 14, 2001, Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii) introduced S. 329, “The Peopling of America Theme Study Act,” which would direct the National Park Service (NPS) to conduct a theme study to identify, interpret, and preserve sites relating to the migration, immigration, and settling of America. In the 106th Congress, the Senate conducted hearings and passed similar legislation (S. 2478). The Senate measure was referred to the House Committee on Resources, but because of the press of business at the close of Congress, the House did not act on the measure.

Akaka introduced the legislation noting that “All Americans were originally travelers from other lands. Whether we came to this country as native peoples, English colonists or African slaves, or as Mexican ranchers, or Chinese merchants, the process by which our nation was peopled transformed us from strangers from different shores into neighbors unified in our inimitable diversity—Americans all.” It is Akaka’s hope that the study, which will focus on immigration, migration, and settlement of the United States, will serve as a springboard for the preservation and interpretation of several significant properties. The NPS supports the study and the enactment of the legislation.

In preparing the theme study, the legislation calls on the NPS to establish linkages to “maximize opportunities for public education and scholarly research” by entering into cooperative agreements with state and local governments, educational institutions, professional organizations, local historical organizations, or other appropriate entities to prepare the study and/ or preserve and interpret key sites. These entities would assist the NPS to prepare the theme study in accordance with generally accepted scholarly standards.

Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA)

Representative Don Young (R-Alaska) has introduced H.R. 701 to create permanent funding levels for a broad spectrum of conservation and preservation programs. The bill has the same number as last year’s CARA measure that was derailed shortly before the end of the 106th Congress (see NCC Washington Update, 6:34, October 5, 2000). As with the legislation that was hotly debated in the 106th Congress, Young’s bill seeks to use royalties from Outer Continental Shelf Oil and gas production to establish a fund for conservation and preservation of heritage resources. Among its various provisions, the bill grants the secretary of the interior $160 million annually for historic preservation purposes.

Steel Industry National Historic Park

Senator Arlen Specter (R-Penn.) and Representative Michael F. Doyle (D-Penn.) have introduced bills (S. 391 and H.R. 635) to establish the Steel Industry National Historical Park in the boroughs of Munhall, Swissvale, and Rankin, Pennsylvania. Among the sites included are the United States Steel Homestead Works, the Carrie Furnace complex, and the Hot Metal Bridge.

According to Sen. Spector’s statement, issued when he introduced his legislation, “The importance of steel to the industrial development of the United States cannot be understated. A national park devoted to the history of the steel industry will afford all Americans the opportunity to celebrate this rich heritage, which is symbolic of the work ethic endemic to this great nation.”

If established, the park unit would commemorate a wide range of accomplishments and topics ranging from industrial process advancements to labor-management relations. The proposed unit includes the site of the Battle of Homestead, waged in 1892 between steelworkers and Pinkerton guards. The battle was an important event in labor history in relation to the evolution of the workers rights movement.

Coast Guard Museum

Representative Rob Simmons (R-Conn.) introduced the “National Coast Guard Museum Act of 2001” (H.R. 850) designed to commemorate 210 years of national maritime and military history of the Coast Guard and its predecessor services and agencies. The bill authorizes not more than $10 million in nonfederal funds and $10 million in federal funds for the project. The exact location of the new museum is not specified but it will be placed on federal lands administered by the Coast Guard.

Abel and Mary Nicholson House National Historic Site

Representative Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) and Senator Robert Torricelli (D-N.J.) introduced legislation (H.R. 793 and S. 419) that seeks to authorize a study of the Abel and Mary Nicholson House (designated a National Historic Landmark in June 2000) for its national significance, suitability, and feasibility as a unit of the National Park System. The proposed National Historic Site is said to possess a high degree of architectural integrity and is noted for its associations with the earliest Quaker settlement in North America.

CIA Declassifies 19,000 Pages

The CIA has declassified some 19,000 pages of CIA reports. Researchers familiar with the materials state that the documents contain extensive redactions to protect what the CIA characterizes as “sensitive sources and methods of intelligence gathering.”

The collection was released in conjunction with a Princeton University conference on the CIA analysis of the Soviet Union from 1947 to 1991. The release sheds light on various Cold War incidents including U-2 spy flights, Soviet nuclear capabilities, the development of Stealth bomber technology, and the debate over whether President Reagan’s large military buildup in the early 1980s and Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) hastened the Soviet Union’s demise.

According to the electronic publication “Secrecy News” published by the Federation of American Scientists’, Project on Government Secrecy, “depending on points of view, the release either demonstrated the agency’s commitment to declassification and scholarly research, or it was a rather cynical exercise in orchestrating public access to documents that were unilaterally selected, declassified and packaged by the agency. Or some combination of the two.” The released documents are posted at A full text search of the documents may be found at

Other Archival Tidbits

Freedman Records

The Mormon Church has published records from the post-Civil War Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company, a bank established for newly freed slaves in 1865. The records of 480,000 black Americans are now available in a searchable database. The Mormon Church’s 11-year project links the names of former slaves who made deposits in the bank with other family information such as birth locations of freed slaves and names of former owners. The records are expected to help between 8-10 million African Americans research their family histories. The records are available to the public on CD and can be ordered for $6.50. To order, phone (800) 346-6044 and ask for transfer number 25274.

Clinton Papers Release

The National Archives and Records Administration has released the first of two volumes of the “Public Papers of President William J. Clinton, 1999.” The 1,160 page hardcover volume covers January 1-June 30, 1999, and contains the text of speeches, news conferences, messages, and communications to Congress. The volume is available for $71 (Stock No. 069-000-00130-1) from the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office. To order call the GPO order desk at (202) 512-1800.

Worthy of Note

Washington Portrait to Stay at Smithsonian

A $30 million gift from the Las Vegas-based Donald W. Reynolds Foundation to the Smithsonian Institution enabled agency officials to purchase the famous Gilbert Stuart 1796 life-size portrait of George Washington that was slotted for the auction block. The owner of the painting, a 33-year-old British lord, Harry Dalmeny, recently announced he was going to sell the painting that previously had been on loan to the National Portrait Gallery. “George Washington still has a home at the Smithsonian Institution …. [T]he father of our country will stay in this country forever,” said Lawrence W. Small, secretary of the Smithsonian, in front of a crowded news conference on March 13.

British Library Discovery

An unknown choral work by the German-English composer George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) that some scholars consider as significant as the “Messiah” has been discovered by researchers in the library of the Royal Academy of Music. “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” is a seven-movement composition believed to have been written in 1707 when the composer was only 21. It has not been performed since then. Scholars described the work as “fresh, exuberant and a little wild in places, but unmistakably Handel.”

NPS Management Policies

The National Park Service (NPS) has issued a new edition (December 22, 2000) of “NPS Management Policies” that replaces the 1988 edition. NPS Management Policies is the basic service-wide policy document of the NPS and is designed to provide policy guidance when managers confront a wide variety of park management issues. Adherence to the policies spelled out in this document “is mandatory unless specifically waived or modified by the Secretary, the Assistant Secretary, or the Director.” The draft of the new policies was subjected to a 60-day public review and comment in which the NPS received many thoughtful responses. Some of those comments were incorporated into the final version. The document and any future revisions will be posted at

Copies may be ordered from Eastern National Park and Monuments Association; call (215) 283-6900 for information.

NARA Annual Report

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has issued its Annual Report 2000. The report highlights a number of special achievements and includes summaries of various financial operations. NARA’s strategic plan is discussed in considerable detail. The report also includes a useful listing of top management staff, an updated organizational chart, and includes the addresses of NARA facilities (including the Presidential Libraries) nationwide. For a copy of the 44-page report, call NARA at (301) 713-7360, ext. 239.

Women’s History Project Reports

The President’s Commission on the Celebration of Women in American History has issued three publications: “Women’s History Is Everywhere: 10 Ideas for Celebrating In Communities”; “Honoring Our Past” (a year 2000 report with recommendations on how best to acknowledge and celebrate the roles and accomplishments of women in American history); and a similar report issued in March 1999 entitled “Celebrating Women’s History.” For copies or more information, write President’s Commission on the Celebration of Women in American History, U.S. GSA, Dept. of Communications, 1800 F St., NW, Washington, DC 20405.

Bruce Craig is the director of the National Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History.

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