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FG 75 (American Revolution Bicentennial Commission)

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Scope and Content Note

The file FG 75 contains correspondence and memoranda relating to the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission. The Commission was established by an act of July 4, 1966 (80 Stat. 259) as amended under President Lyndon Johnson. The Commission was initially made up of certain designated Federal officials and seventeen members of the public appointed by the President; many of them drawn from the academic community. The Commission was terminated in December, 1973, when it was replaced by the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration (ARBA).

The American Revolution Bicentennial Commission was created to prepare an overall program for commemorating the bicentennial of the American Revolution, and to plan, encourage, develop, and coordinate observances and activities, focusing on the national and international significance of the American Revolution, and its implications for present and future generations. During the Johnson administration, the Commission met only very infrequently. However, the Commission began to meet more often after 1969.

In July, 1970, the Commission submitted its first draft report to the President--a report which proved to be the beginning of the end of the ARBC. After the report's release, the Commission came under attack by some who alleged that it was a tool of corporate businessmen engaged in the crass commercial exploitation of the Bicentennial. The files also contain information regarding the Commission's budgetary spending, and White House reaction to its effectiveness in carrying out its mandate. In 1973, the White House recommended that the Commission be replaced by the ARBA.

Principal correspondents include the President, J. E. Wallace Sterling and David Mahoney, the Chairman of the Commission, Charles ("Bud") Wilkinson, Special Consultant to the President, Leonard Garment, Counselor to the President, Anne L. Armstrong, Counselor to the President, and Pamela Powell, Staff Assistant to Anne Armstrong.

While FG 75 is primarily an administrative file, it does contain some of the draft reports, progress reports, etc. of the ARBC. The Executive folders consist largely of White House memoranda and letters from and about the Commission, including proposed arrangements for Bicentennial observances around the United States, highlights of progress to date, and, occasionally, minutes of meetings. The General folders are largely made up of letters from members of the general public requesting appointment to the Commission, and later, expressing criticism of the Commission and its activities.

On the folders, the terms Executive and General are used in the titles to indicate separation of documents according to source and handling. "Executive" items include communication among national, foreign, and state and local governments and their agencies, members of Congress, and selected prominent correspondents. "General" designates communications between Government officials and private citizens, institutions, and private interest groups. Where "/A" follows a numeric file designation, it indicates files relating to appointments, nominations, and resignations within that organization.

Some of the files related to FG 75 include:

White House Central Files: Subject Files

FG 370 American Revolution Bicentennial Administration
PR 8-1 Public Relations: American Bicentennial Celebration

White House Central Files: Staff Member and Office Files

  • Leonard Garment
  • Anne Armstrong

FG 75

This category contains letters and memoranda relating to various undertakings of the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission. Subjects include plans for the proposed international exposition in Philadelphia, the Bicentennial Parks, the Washington Bicentennial Development Program, and documents of the House Judiciary Committee relating to the ARBC.

FG 75/A

This category contains Executive Orders, transmittal letters, and memoranda relating to the appointments, nominations, and resignations of members of the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission.

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