Action authorizing two Theodore Roosevelt silver dollars bearing a 2006 date was taken on Saturday, Dec. 17, by the U.S. Senate which unanimously backed S. 863, a bill introduced April 20 by Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D. An amendment to the bill would allow Lewis and Clark nickels to be part of government-issued sets in 2006 and beyond.
Two silver dollars, one with a Rough Rider design the other bearing an adventurer design, are contemplated. In one of Congress? most ambitious artistic direction, the origin of the Teddy Roosevelt portrait and illustrated themes are spelled out in the legislation, which still requires House approval and presidential signature before it becomes law.
Roosevelt, who served as the nation?s 26th president, has a rich history and has been an important part of American culture for over a century. He was last in the news during the Clinton Administration, when he was given the Medal of Honor for conduct in Spanish-American War of 1898 for leading the charge up San Juan Hill in Cuba. Three years later, he became President of the United States when McKinley was assassinated in 1901. But he did not live to see the Medal of Honor.
The day after Veterans Day 1998, President Clinton signed into law a bill that both authorized and requested ?the President to award the congressional Medal of Honor posthumously to Theodore Roosevelt for his gallant and heroic actions in the attack on San Juan Heights, Cuba, during the Spanish-American War.?
On Jan. 16, 2001, when the medal was finally awarded, Clinton briefly summarized T.R.?s accomplishments.
?TR was a larger-than-life figure who gave our nation a larger-than-life vision of our place in the world. Part of that vision was formed on San Juan Hill. His Rough Riders were made up of all kinds of Americans from all walks of life. They were considered unpolished and undisciplined, but they were true citizen soldiers. By taking San Juan Hill, eventually they forced the enemy fleet into the Battle of Santiago Bay, where it was routed. This led to the Spanish surrender and opened the era of America as a global power.?
Roosevelt was also the first American to win the Noble Peace Prize of 1906 for his work in settling the Russo-Japanese War of 1905. He also had a passion for conservation.
The legislation noted that he placed 230,000,000 acres of land placed under public protection during his presidency.
Two silver dollars, each 90 percent silver, 1.5-inch in diameter, would be struck.
The Senate bill would require use of the designs of James Earle Fraser or Augustus Saint-Gaudens, two sculptors most closely associated with the revitalization of the United States coinage.
The Rough Rider design obverse ?shall bear the image of Theodore Roosevelt as a a Rough Rider that was used on the James Earle Fraser medal of 1920,? the reverse ?shall bear the eagle design, with motto, from the $20 gold ?double eagle? coin produced between 1907 and 1933 and designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens.?
The adventurer coin ?obverse ... shall bear the image of Theodore Roosevelt on horseback, based on James Earle Fraser?s monumental 16-foot-high bronze equestrian figure of Roosevelt that stands at the east front of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
For the reverse, a special treat ? Congress trying to design a coin from a medal: a ?design based on the reverse designs by James Earle Fraser used on the Roosevelt Memorial Association Medal of Honor and the Association?s Founders Medal that depict the crusader?s flaming sword of righteousness and evoke the ?Big Stick? philosophy espoused by President Roosevelt.
To the left and right of the flaming sword in four lines would be the quotation, ?If I Must Choose Between Righteousness and Peace, I Choose Righteousness,? from Roosevelt?s historical work, Unwise Peace Treaties.
The coins would be required to have the 2006 date of issue inscription and ?Liberty,? ?In God We Trust,? ?United States of America,? and ?E Pluribus Unum.? Designs would be reviewed by the Fine Arts Commission and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee.
A $10 surcharge on each coin would benefit the Theodore Roosevelt Association, which helps to maintain Sagamore hill, his Oyster Bay, N.Y. home, and the Theodore Roosevelt Mendora Association in North Dakota.
The Mendora group hopes to build a Theodore Roosevelt Badlands Institute and ?to the extent that funds remain available, in the discretion of the Theodore Roosevelt Mendora Foundation, for the support of other curatorial activities that preserve and enhance collections maintained by institutions of higher learning dedicated to the study and memory of Theodore Roosevelt.?