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house Bill H.R. 7573

Should Statues of Confederates or Other Defenders of Slavery & White Supremacy Be Removed From the U.S. Capitol?

Argument in favor

Statues of former Confederates & supporters of slavery or white supremacy should not be publicly displayed in the U.S. Capitol and states that have sent such statues need to replace them. This bill would ensure that the offending statues are removed from public display until the states that sent them to the Statuary Hall Collection arrange for them to be returned.

Christopher's Opinion
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07/22/2020
Why put up statues and revere traitorous losers? I asked this question 30 years ago in HS. I don’t know of any other country that pays homage to conquered enemies.
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Savannah's Opinion
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07/23/2020
Removing statues does not erase history, it just removes the idea that they stood for something to be praised. Germany has no statues of their Nazi soldiers, however they still learn their history as something horrible that occurred, not something to be praised or celebrated. The US should do the same.
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Austin's Opinion
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07/22/2020
It is time that we honor the lives of marginalized individuals and not celebrate the racist history that perpetuated so much of the bigotry and hate still pervasive today.
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Argument opposed

Several states are already in the process of replacing their statues depicting former Confederates or other supporters of slavery & white supremacy, and those that aren’t will likely follow suit soon. There’s no need for Congress to move the statues out of public view in the meantime.

Lori's Opinion
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07/22/2020
No. History is history. We correct any and all mistakes by learning from them. People should look back and see how changes have been made. If we start looking back at history there will be none. What will we teach our children? Nothing has been said about this issue until Trump was placed into office.
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Doug's Opinion
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07/22/2020
History reminds us of where we came from, and if we don’t remember history we are bound to repeat it.
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Ezequiel's Opinion
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07/23/2020
I think it’s more disgusting this is an issue, and my representative voted in favor. She is not representing me or many in her region. We MUST protect and preserve them for it is a piece of history. We read and learn about this all throughout school, are we going to erase everything from our history books as well? This is not wise and I’m sure the senate will make a better job on voting against it.
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What is House Bill H.R. 7573?

This bill would direct the removal of a busy of a Supreme Court justice who authored an opinion upholding slavery from display in the Capitol’s Old Supreme Court Chamber, in addition to the removal of statues depicting individuals who joined the Confederacy or otherwise defended slavery, segregation, and white supremacy from Statuary Hall. It would authorize the use of up to $5 million to carry out these activities in fiscal year 2021, with $2 million allocated to the Architect of the Capitol and $3 million to the Smithsonian Institution.

Specifically, it would:

  • Require the removal of the bust of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, who authored a majority opinion that upheld slavery in Dredd Scott v. Sandford (1857), from the Old Supreme Court Chamber. It would be replaced with a bust of Justice Thurgood Marshall — the Court’s first Black justice.

  • Require states to reclaim & replace any statues in the National Statuary Hall Collection on individuals who fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War.

  • Require the removal of statues depicting John C. Calhoun, Charles B. Aycock, and John C. Clarke because of their role in defending slavery, segregation, and white supremacy.


Impact

States with statues of former Confederates or supporters of slavery & white supremacy on display at Statuary Hall; and visitors to the U.S. Capitol.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 7573

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wrote a letter calling for the removal statues from the Capitol that are linked to figures who joined the Confederacy or were otherwise advocates for slavery & white supremacy. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) joined a group of Democrats in introducing legislation to remove the statues from display in the Capitol:

“Next week, the Democratic-led House will take a historic vote to show our country and the world that statues honoring defenders of racism, slavery, segregation, and white supremacy are not welcome in the U.S. Capitol building. It is appropriate that our bill removes the bust of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, the author of the Dred Scott ruling in 1857 that upheld slavery, from the Old Supreme Court Chamber and replaces it with that of Justice Thurgood Marshall, a Marylander who fought for civil rights and equality as the Court’s first African-American justice. It is reprehensible that individuals who did so much to divide our country and dehumanize African Americans are honored in the halls of Congress.” 

Original cosponsor Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) added:

“In this moment, the horrors of systemic racism are front and center and the manifestations are before the public each and every day. The removal of Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol is an important step in dismantling the systems that hold us back on our path forward. As I said when I first introduced the Confederate Statue Removal Act in 2017: these painful symbols of bigotry and racism have no place in our society and certainly should not be enshrined in the U.S. Capitol. Justice Thurgood Marshall, a champion of equality and justice, is a fantastic addition to our Capitol and embodies the efforts we are making to eliminate symbols of hate and injustice.”

The National Statuary Hall Collection contains statues of two historical figures associated with each state, that are supplied by each state and displayed in the U.S. Capitol. Statues that are included in the National Statuary Hall Collection include those depicting several figures who are controversial because of their connections to the Confederacy, slavery, or Jim Crow, including:

  • Confederate President Jefferson Davis of Mississippi & Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens of Georgia, both of whom were charged with treason.

  • Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee of Virginia, Joseph Wheeler of Alabama (who later served as general in the U.S. Army), and Wade Hampton III of South Carolina; Confederate Colonels James Z. George of Mississippi & Zebulon Vance of North Carolina; plus Confederate soldiers John Kenna of West Virginia, and Edward Douglass White of Louisiana (who later served as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court).

  • The statue of Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith of Florida, which will be replaced by a statue of African-American educator & civil rights activist Mary McLeod Bethune; and the statue of Uriah Rose of Arkansas, a lawyer & county chancellor who sided with the Confederacy and whose statue is scheduled for replacement with a statue of Johnny Cash.

  • John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, who served as a U.S. senator & vice president and was a strong defender of slavery.

  • James Paul Clarke of Arkansas, a Democratic governor & U.S. senator who advocated for white supremacy. (Arkansas is replacing his statue with one of Daisy Bates, who was one of the Little Rock Nine.)

  • Charles Aycock of North Carolina, a Democratic governor who advocated for white supremacy campaigns during the Jim Crow era that disenfranchised blacks. (North Carolina has voted to replace his statue with one of the Reverend Billy Graham.) 

Because Congress doesn’t have discretion over what statues states send for display, this bill would simply remove them from display in areas accessible to the public rather than sending them back to their state of origin.

The Democrats’ bill excludes one additional controversial statue depicting former Sen. Pat McCarran (D-NV), who held openly racist & anti-Semitic views that have prompted current members of Nevada’s congressional delegation to call for his statue’s removal.

This legislation has the support of 16 cosponsors, all of whom are Democrats.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: iStock.com / florin1961)

AKA

To direct the Joint Committee on the Library to replace the bust of Roger Brooke Taney in the Old Supreme Court Chamber of the United States Capitol with a bust of Thurgood Marshall to be obtained by the Joint Committee on the Library and to remove certai

Official Title

To direct the Architect of the Capitol to replace the bust of Roger Brooke Taney in the Old Supreme Court Chamber of the United States Capitol with a bust of Thurgood Marshall to be obtained by the Joint Committee on the Library and to remove certain statues from areas of the United States Capitol which are accessible to the public, to remove all statues of individuals who voluntarily served the Confederate States of America from display in the United States Capitol, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house Passed July 22nd, 2020
    Roll Call Vote 305 Yea / 113 Nay
    IntroducedJuly 13th, 2020

Log in or create an account to see how your Reps voted!
    Why put up statues and revere traitorous losers? I asked this question 30 years ago in HS. I don’t know of any other country that pays homage to conquered enemies.
    Like (175)
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    No. History is history. We correct any and all mistakes by learning from them. People should look back and see how changes have been made. If we start looking back at history there will be none. What will we teach our children? Nothing has been said about this issue until Trump was placed into office.
    Like (59)
    Follow
    Share
    Removing statues does not erase history, it just removes the idea that they stood for something to be praised. Germany has no statues of their Nazi soldiers, however they still learn their history as something horrible that occurred, not something to be praised or celebrated. The US should do the same.
    Like (146)
    Follow
    Share
    It is time that we honor the lives of marginalized individuals and not celebrate the racist history that perpetuated so much of the bigotry and hate still pervasive today.
    Like (77)
    Follow
    Share
    these people should NOT BE HONORED. these statues aren't historical, they don't teach anything. there's a reason there's no memorials of hitler in germany. we don't need a commemoration of slavery. besides, these are statues of CONFEDERATES. these are literal traitors against the united states.
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    History reminds us of where we came from, and if we don’t remember history we are bound to repeat it.
    Like (37)
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    Nobody is saying anything about erasing history. History belongs in a museum, that’s where all these statues should go. Statues in public places represent idols and praise. These statues especially of slave owners should be taken down, those statues represent different things to different people sooo ya its 2020 slavery universally bad its a big bad get rid of them statues. We are to far in the future to say “well its history it was ok back then” its dirty history and we have to be better
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    The confederacy was an insurgent traitor action. It should not be celebrated or honored. And I’m from Alabama so I grew up hearing all the propaganda; the confederacy was a failed traitorous rebellion and should not be honored or celebrated.
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    This should have been done a long time ago. History can be learned in museums, classrooms, and books. A statue is a statement of reverence which should not be used to glorify those who fought expressly for the right to own slaves.
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    The confederacy violated human rights aka slavery. We as a nation should not be proud of beating, raping, and lynching people for hundreds of years. We as a nation should not be proud of degrading and abusing anybody or anything especially not those we FORCED to be here.
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    Duh
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    Maybe all white folks could just be eliminated since it appears that we are the cause for every bad thing that has happened to anyone else - I guess all the hard work, sacrificing, and volunteering and living within your means is just part of privilege- well the one privilege I don’t have is blaming someone else for the mistakes I’ve made
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    Traitors should not be honored. That’s why you don’t see statues of Hitler in Berlin or Mussolini in Rome.
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    My representative Jack Bergman voted no to removing Confederate statues from the White House. I am surprised. I thought he represented Michigan which was a part of the Union and against slavery. Why is he, as a retired military officer, supporting traitors who divided our nation so they could continue to own other human beings as slaves. When they lost the war and surrendered they should have been re-assimilated into the country but not celebrated for any of their military might. Their statues need to be removed and, if the south wants to honor these traitors they should fund their own museums and hide these in their museums. This way fellow racists can go celebrate these traitors and pay entrance fees to support dusting them off and keeping them out of the sight of the real Americans who exist in this country.
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    I think it’s more disgusting this is an issue, and my representative voted in favor. She is not representing me or many in her region. We MUST protect and preserve them for it is a piece of history. We read and learn about this all throughout school, are we going to erase everything from our history books as well? This is not wise and I’m sure the senate will make a better job on voting against it.
    Like (18)
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    Of all the places to have a bust commemorating someone who advocated for slavery, the Capitol is not it. The Capitol should be a monument to All men are created equal and Freedom and justice for all. There should be nothing in the Capitol that looks back to the Confederacy or Slavery but should only represent those who served the law of this land, the United States Constitution.
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    No! Plain and simple! No!
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    Leave history alone. Of course the democrats passed this in the House. It is their goal to destroy America and all that are faithful to the Constitution and the history of our nation. Like it or not, it is our history. Don't destroy it.
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    These signs of our history are important and also works of art which should be maintained and protected for all. The story of the United States is constantly being eroded and such actions must be stopped in order to preserve our history and remind everyone of where we have come from.
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    No! If any statue is removed then take down every statue because it might offend others and never put another one up. Never! Even slave owners made good contributions to this country despite their flaws to own slaves. The fact that anyone bought and owned slaves in this country is the biggest mistake ever made in this country and their greatest flaw!!
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