Past Programs

Created Equal? Freedom Riders: Roadblocks and Redemption on “Freedom’s Main Line”

A discussion about the heroic acts of the Freedom Riders and the tensions between the civil rights movement of that time and the Kennedy administration.

March 26, 2015

Adams, Jefferson, and the Misfits Who Saved Free Speech

Author Charles Slack vividly unfolds the pivotal events around the 1798 Sedition Act. Mike Quinn, President and CEO of the American Revolution Center, moderates.

March 24, 2015

James McPherson: Why the Civil War Still Matters

One of the nation’s leading Civil War historians, James McPherson, explored why the war remains so deeply embedded in the national psyche and identity of Americans today.

March 16, 2015

Behind the Revolt: The Origins of American Independence

Generations have been taught that the American Revolution was a revolt against the king, but was it?

March 09, 2015

Do We Need An Equal Rights Amendment To Ensure Gender Equality?

Constitutional law expert Cary Franklin, leading women’s history scholar Alice Kessler-Harris, and American legal history professor Serena Mayeri discuss whether we need an Equal Rights Amendment to ensure gender equality.

March 04, 2015

Judith Rodin: The Resilience Dividend

Judith Rodin, president of The Rockefeller Foundation, discusses her latest book.

February 17, 2015

David Boaz: The Libertarian Mind

Executive Vice President of Cato Institute, David Boaz discusses the libertarian perspective on government surveillance, the 2008 financial crisis, and more.

February 16, 2015

Lincoln’s Legacy: The 13th Amendment 150 Years Later

A special kick-off celebration commemorating the 13th Amendment. Video remarks by the Honorable Sandra Day O’Connor and an exclusive sneak peek of an original copy of the 13th Amendment. Jeffrey Rosen, President and CEO of the National Constitution Center, moderates and panel with leading Reconstruction scholars as well as philanthropist David Rubenstein, NEH Chairman William "Bro" Adams, Chief Judge Theodore A. McKee.

February 12, 2015

Corruption in America

Law professor and political organizer Zephyr Teachout explores political corruption and how the courts have defined it throughout history.

February 10, 2015

The First Amendment Bubble

The growth of the Internet has made it ever harder to distinguish public from private, news from titillation, and journalists from provocateurs.

February 03, 2015

Judge Robert Katzmann on Interpreting the Law of Congress

In an ideal world, the laws of Congress – known as federal statutes – would always be clearly worded and easily understood by the judges who must interpret them. But the wording of many laws is ambiguous or even contradictory. What are the principles, then, by which judges should interpret their meaning? Stick only to the text? Consult aids beyond the statutes themselves – and to what degree?

January 21, 2015

Reagan at Reykjavik

Ken Adelman shared his riveting firsthand account of the unexpectedly historic summit in Reykjavik, Iceland in 1986 with Reagan and Gorbachev.

December 09, 2014

100 Years of Politics and Culture in America

In celebration of The New Republic's 100th year anniversary, Franklin Foer, editor of The New Republic, joined the National Constitution Center for a conversation on the magazine’s recently released book exploring the pivotal issues of modern America – Insurrections of the Mind: 100 Years of Politics and Culture in America. Constitution Center President and CEO and New Republic legal affairs editor Jeffrey Rosen will moderate.

December 02, 2014

The 12th Annual Templeton Lecture for Economic Liberty and the Constitution

Charles Murray, author and scholar, was the speaker for the 12th Annual John M. Templeton Jr. Lecture on Economic Liberties and the Constitution.

December 01, 2014

Is the Supreme Court Objective? Cases For and Against

Most Americans share the perception that the Supreme Court is objective, but is it?

November 18, 2014

Blindfolds Off: Judges on How They Decide - In an Era of Discontent

A distinguished panel of former and current judges joined Joel Cohen for a discussion drawing inspiration from his new book, Blindfolds Off.

November 12, 2014

Richard Norton Smith: The Life of Nelson Rockefeller

Richard Norton Smith on American icon Nelson Rockefeller.

November 03, 2014

The Constitutional Legacy of James Madison

Two conversations on Madison’s historical and contemporary legacy.

October 30, 2014

Gov. Jeb Bush, Justice Alito attend preview of George H.W. Bush gallery

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito and National Constitution Center chairman Jeb Bush were among the dignitaries at the National Constitution Center on Monday night as the Center previewed its new George H.W. Bush Gallery.

October 27, 2014

Red, White, and Blue: America’s Influence on the Norwegian Constitution

In celebration of the 200th anniversary of Norway’s Constitution, the National Constitution Center and the Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce (Philadelphia Chapter) presents a conversation on the influence of the Founding Fathers and U.S. Constitution on the Norwegian Constitution — just one of the many historic bonds between these two countries. Participating in this discussion is University of Oslo Professor Ola Mestad and University of California Professor Kaare Strøm.

October 22, 2014

Richard Brookhiser: Abraham Lincoln, Founders’ Son

Biographer Richard Brookhiser has turned his eye to perhaps the Founding Fathers' greatest pupil—Abraham Lincoln

October 15, 2014

Edward Larson: The Return of Washington

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Edward Larson highlights a crucially important, yet often overlooked chapter of George Washington’s illustrious career.

October 13, 2014

IQ2US Debate: Phone records and the Fourth Amendment

The award-winning debate program Intelligence Squared U.S. returned to the National Constitution Center for a no holds barred debate.

October 07, 2014

The Forgotten Presidents

Leading legal expert Michael J. Gerhardt joins the National Constitution Center for a myth-shattering discussion surveying the 13 presidents he deems the "most forgotten".

October 06, 2014


Screenwriter and historian Geoffrey C. Ward painted an extraordinarily vivid portrait of one of America’s greatest political dynasties as represented by three extraordinary individuals—Theodore, Eleanor, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt—and their lasting impact on our nation.

October 01, 2014

Annette Gordon-Reed: The Contradictions of Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson helped create a new nation based on individual freedom and self-government—yet he remained a slaveholder throughout his life.

September 29, 2014

The Federalist Papers

Federal judges, when interpreting the U.S. Constitution, frequently use the Federalist Papers as a contemporary account of the intentions of the Framers.

September 24, 2014

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy: The Constitution and the Bill of Rights

The National Constitution Center hosted a special talk with Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

September 22, 2014

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: Raise Your Voice, Change the World

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand shared her insider’s view on D.C. politics at the National Constitution Center.

September 16, 2014

The Classical Liberal Constitution

Influential legal thinker Richard A. Epstein of NYU Law School offers his distinctive interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.

September 09, 2014

Supreme Court Review 2014 July 8, 2014

The National Constitution Center partnered with the Anti-Defamation League to explore the Supreme Court’s landmark 2013 – 2014 session

July 08, 2014

Finding Equality in the Declaration of Independence

Political philosopher Danielle Allen of the Princeton Institute of Advanced Studies discussed her latest book, Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality.

June 27, 2014

IQ2US Debate On Campaign Finance

The award-winning NPR show Intelligence Squared U.S. returned to the National Constitution Center for a no holds barred debate focusing on campaign finance, Super PAC’s, and the First Amendment.

June 26, 2014

The Roberts Court: Redrawing the Ground Rules of American Government

From Citizens United to the Affordable Care Act to gay marriage, the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts has profoundly affected American life. Scholar Laurence Tribe explored these and other ideas during a recent program at the National Constitution Center.

June 24, 2014

David Boies and Theodore Olson vs. the Supreme Court

The nation’s most prominent lawyers, David Boies and Theodore Olson, who famously went head to head in Bush v. Gore talked about teaming up together for one of the highest-profile cases in recent Supreme Court history.

June 20, 2014

The Meaning of the Fourth Amendment in a Digital Age

Fourth Amendment cases about cell phone data search and seizure examined in depth.

June 16, 2014

A Judge’s Perspective on Current Threats to a Fair and Impartial Judiciary

An insider’s look at the challenges state court judges face in charged political environments with Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Justice Barbara J. Pariente of the Florida Supreme Court, and former Chief Justice Marsha Ternus of the Iowa Supreme Court.

June 09, 2014

The History of the Second Amendment

Attorney Alan Gura and Michael Waldman of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, sat down with National Constitution Center President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen for a smart and informed discussion about the history of the Second Amendment.

June 04, 2014

Senator James Webb: Love of Country, Love of Service

Former U.S. Senator and Navy Secretary James Webb joined the National Constitution Center to discuss his new memoir, I Heard My Country Calling.

May 27, 2014

Supreme Court Fellows: A Perspective from Inside the Federal Judiciary

National Constitution Center President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen sat down with the 2013-2014 Supreme Court Fellows to learn about these members of the Supreme Court community.

May 20, 2014

The Civil Rights Movement: Redefining the Meaning of Equality

Scholars Bruce Ackerman, Tomiko Brown-Nagin, and Steven Calabresi discussed how the civil rights movement amounted to a genuine revolution in constitutional law, focusing on the landmark statutes of the 1960s: the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

May 14, 2014

James Madison Rediscovered with Lynne Cheney

New York Times bestselling author Lynne Cheney unveils her long-anticipated new biography on James Madison.

May 13, 2014

The End to Political Gerrymandering?

The location of district lines decide which voters vote for which representative. In 34 states, the state legislature has primary responsibility for creating a redistricting plan--in many cases subject to approval by the state governor. Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) believes that “people, not politicians” should be ultimately responsible for drawing political lines.

May 06, 2014

From Suffrage to Workplace Equality

Prominent scholars Nancy Cott of Harvard University, Neil Siegel of Duke University School of Law, and Yale Law School’s Reva Siegel discussed the evolution of 19th Amendment’s guarantee of women’s equality from suffrage to present day.

May 05, 2014

Justice John Paul Stevens: Amending the Constitution April 28, 2014

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens discussed his new book Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution.

April 28, 2014

Conspiracy Theories and Other Dangerous Ideas with Cass R. Sunstein

Harvard Law Professor and former Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Cass R. Sunstein visited the National Constitution Center to debut his latest book.

April 21, 2014

Sarah Lewis: The Freedom in Failure

Curator and art historian Sarah Lewis explores creative endeavors.

April 09, 2014

Bill of the Century: The Civil Rights Act of 1964

New York Times editor Clay Risen discussed his newest book, The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act, at the National Constitution Center

April 07, 2014

Two Presidents, Two Parties, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Vanity Fair and Politico correspondent Todd S. Purdum recounted the dramatic political battle to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as told in his powerful new narrative.

April 02, 2014

Senator Jim DeMint: Falling in Love with America Again

Former South Carolina Senator and current President of the Heritage Foundation Jim DeMint joined the National Constitution Center to discuss his latest book Falling in Love with America Again.

April 01, 2014

Alan Dershowitz: My Life in the Law

One of America’s most prominent legal minds, Alan Dershowitz,discusses his latest autobiograpy.

March 27, 2014

The State of Free Speech in America

Just how well do Americans understand the First Amendment? Should the First Amendment protect harmful or hateful words and expression?

March 25, 2014

Lessons Learned in the Wake of the Arab Spring

Former Prime Minister of Greece George Papandreou and others share their lessons learned in the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings

March 24, 2014

Lifting the Veil on the FISA Court

A secret body of law, the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) is now under scrutiny.

March 18, 2014

Our Broken Constitution with Jeffrey Toobin

In today's sharply divided political climate, there is one thing Americans appear to agree on: the government is not working.

March 11, 2014

A Quest for Privacy, Security and Freedom with Julia Angwin

Julia Angwin of the Wall Street Journal reports on how the government, private companies, and even criminals use technology to indiscriminately sweep up vast amounts of personal data.

March 10, 2014

Ezekiel Emanuel on Health Care

Ezekiel Emanuel on why health care in America has become such a divisive social issue.

March 06, 2014

Does the President have the power to target and kill Americans abroad?

An exciting and lively debate, "Does the President have the power to target and kill Americans abroad?"

March 05, 2014

Executive Power in a Time of War

As part of the Free Library of Philadelphia’s One Book, One Philadelphia celebration of Kevin Powers’ book, The Yellow Birds, join the Constitution Center for a discussion on terrorism. Panelists include Chris Edelson of American University and Lou Fisher of the Constitution Project.

February 04, 2014

A Discussion About The NSA and Government Surveillance

Peter Swire of the White House NSA Review Board, Anita Allen of the University of Pennsylvania, and Charlie Savage of the New York Times discuss government surveillance, past and future.

February 03, 2014

On the Front Lines of the First Amendment with Floyd Abrams

From the Pentagon Papers to Citizens United, Floyd Abrams has litigated the most controversial and compelling First Amendment cases to appear before the court in recent years.

January 30, 2014

What You Need to Know about American Politics

Linda Greenhouse, former Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter; Donald Ritchie, U.S. Senate historian; and Richard Valelly, Claude C. Smith '14 Professor of Political Science at Swarthmore College, offer an impartial, insightful primer on the basics of the American political system.

January 24, 2014

Affordable Care Act Town Hall

Join National Constitution Center President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen for a timely program featuring Legal Commentator and Law Professor Jonathan H. Adler and Senior Counsel to Constitutional Accountability Center Simon Lazarus to explore the constitutional controversies surrounding the Affordable Care Act.

January 21, 2014

Robert Gates at the National Constitution Center

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense and 2011 Liberty Medal recipient Robert M. Gates returns to the National Constitution Center to unveil his latest book, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War.

January 17, 2014

The 11th Annual Templeton Lecture for Economic Liberty and the Constitution

Governor Bobby Jindal presents his perspective on the connection between energy policy and economic prosperity for the nation—highlighting how “We the People” are impacted by energy regulations.

December 03, 2013

Governor Scott Walker at the National Constitution Center

The National Constitution Center in partnership with Talk Radio 1210 WPHT welcomes Wisconsin GOP Governor and rumored 2016 presidential contender Scott Walker.

November 21, 2013

American Epic: Reading the U.S. Constitution

Join distinguished legal scholar Garrett Epps and SCOTUS blog’s Lyle Denniston, the National Constitution Center’s adviser for constitutional literacy, as they delve into the indelible language of America’s founding document.

November 20, 2013

Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address

On the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, join constitutional scholar and Yale Law professor Akhil Amar, historian and Princeton University professor Sean Wilentz and Jeffrey Rosen of the National Constitution Center for a wide-ranging conversation about the constitutional legacy of Lincoln and the address itself.

November 19, 2013

The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination

Bestselling author and former New York Times reporter Philip Shenon talks about his newest book A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination.

November 18, 2013

Robert Dallek: Inside the Kennedy White House

Fifty years after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, distinguished presidential historian and bestselling author Robert Dallek provides a striking portrait of the iconic president and his inner circle of advisers.

November 06, 2013

From the Declaration to the Bill of Rights

In conversation with Jeffrey Rosen, David M. Rubenstein discusses the relationship between the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, telling the story of how one landmark document led to the next in the context of the evolving story of America’s battle for freedom.

October 30, 2013

The debt ceiling and the 14th amendment

Join Jeffrey Rosen for a conversation with George Washington University's Neil H. Buchanan and Princeton University's Sean Wilentz to discuss the constitutional issues raised by the debt ceiling and budget shutdown.

October 29, 2013

Chris Matthews talks about “When Politics Worked”

Chris Matthews provides a firsthand, insider’s look at the unlikely political partnership between President Ronald Reagan and Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill.

October 22, 2013

Privacy, Judaic law and U.S. constitutional law

Acclaimed lecturers of Jewish ethics Rabbi Mordechai Becher and Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe and National Constitution Center President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen examine the boundaries between public safety and personal privacy by comparing Judaic law and U.S. constitutional law.

October 15, 2013

John Bingham, America’s Founding Son

Professor Gerard N. Magliocca traces John Bingham’s life from his humble roots in Pennsylvania through his career as an influential leader of the Republican Party

October 04, 2013

Detention, Interrogation, And The Constitution

James R. Jones and David R. Irvine, from The Constitution Project’s bipartisan Task Force on Detainee Treatment join National Constitution Center President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen for an in-depth look at America’s pre- and post-9/11 actions.

September 24, 2013

Congressman John Lewis: The March for Civil Rights

Civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis and co-writer Andrew Aydin introduce March: Book One—the first in a graphic novel trilogy that shares Congressman Lewis’ remarkable story with new generations.

September 17, 2013

Drones and Your Privacy

National Constitution Center’s President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen; Georgetown University Law Professor Carrie F. Cordero, Director of National Security Studies; and Penn Law Professor Claire Finkelstein, Director of the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law talk about the challenges of ensuring both liberty and security.

September 17, 2013

Justice Ruth Ginsburg at the National Constitution Center

On the heels of the landmark 2012-2013 session, join Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court—for a wide-ranging conversation with the National Constitution Center’s new President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen.

September 06, 2013

National Conversation On American Unity

Join elected officials, Washington insiders, and volunteer leaders for an afternoon of conversation about public service.

July 23, 2013

Supreme Court Review 2013

The National Constitution Center and the Anti-Defamation League explore the Supreme Court’s landmark 2012 – 2013 session.

July 02, 2013

The Eve Of Gettysburg

In honor of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg the National Constitution Center presents a conversation with scholars Ted Widmer, Sean Wilentz, Judith Giesberg, and Adam Goodheart of the popular New York Times "Disunion" blog.

June 17, 2013