The U.S. Constitution Then and Now | National Humanities Center

Public Events

The U.S. Constitution Then and Now

April 7, 2020

Due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions affecting our speakers and in an abundance of caution for our guests, “The U.S. Constitution Then and Now” panel discussion and public talk on April 7 have been canceled. Like so many of you, we were eagerly anticipating the conversation with scholars Jill Lepore, Michael Gerhardt, Jeffrey Rosen, and Kathleen DuVal and regret that we will be unable to have them with us at this time.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020 at the National Humanities Center

For over 230 years, the U.S. Constitution has served as the central document shaping life and law in the United States. Originally consisting of seven articles, the Constitution has been amended 27 times to meet the changing needs of the country and its citizens. Interpretation of its provisions and the intent of its framers has been debated throughout our country’s history.

3:00–5:00 pm: Panel Discussion

This panel will feature Harvard historian Jill Lepore, Director of the National Constitution Center Jeffrey Rosen, and UNC Constitutional law scholar Michael Gerhardt and will be moderated by UNC historian and former NHC Fellow Kathleen DuVal. It will discuss how history has informed our Constitution and, conversely, how our Constitution has shaped our country’s history both then and now.

  • Jill Lepore

    Jill Lepore

    David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History, Harvard University

  • Jeffrey Rosen

    Jeffrey Rosen

    President and CEO, National Constitution Center

  • Michael Gerhardt

    Michael Gerhardt

    Burton Craige Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence, University of North Carolina School of Law

  • Kathleen DuVal

    Kathleen DuVal

    Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Term Professor of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

7:00 pm: “The Constitution as Argument”

Jill Lepore will deliver an illustrated and interactive lecture about the writing and ratification of the Constitution. A reception and book signing will follow.


Both the afternoon panel and evening talk are free and open to the public. However, to ensure seating, please make sure that you register for the events separately.
Panel Registration Talk Registration

About the Presenters

Jill Lepore

Award-winning historian Jill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University and a staff writer at The New Yorker. As a wide-ranging and prolific essayist, Lepore writes about American history, law, literature, and politics, and her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Times Literary Supplement, The Journal of American History, Foreign Affairs, the Yale Law Journal, The American Scholar, and the American Quarterly. She is the author of several award-winning books, including the international bestseller, These Truths: A History of the United States (2018). Her next book, IF THEN: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future, will be published in 2020.

Jeffrey Rosen

Jeffrey Rosen is president and chief executive officer of the National Constitution Center, a professor at George Washington University’s School of Law, and a contributing editor for The Atlantic. He is the author of eight books including, most recently, Conversations with RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life, Love, Liberty, and Law. His essays and commentaries have appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, on National Public Radio, and The New Republic, where he was the legal affairs editor, and in The New Yorker, where he has been a staff writer. He also serves as host of the weekly podcast “We the People”.

Michael Gerhardt

Michael Gerhardt is the Burton Craige Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of six books, including leading treatises on impeachment, appointments, presidential power, Supreme Court precedent, and separation of powers. Gerhardt’s extensive public service has included testifying more than a dozen times before Congress, including as the only joint witness in the Clinton impeachment proceedings in the House; speaking behind closed doors to the entire House of Representatives about the history of impeachment in 1998; and serving as special counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee for seven of the nine sitting Supreme Court justices.

Kathleen DuVal

Kathleen DuVal is Bowman and Gordon Gray Professor in the History Department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was a Fellow at the National Humanities Center in 2008–09. DuVal is the author of Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution and The Native Ground: Indians and Colonists in the Heart of the Continent and her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, William and Mary Quarterly, Ethnohistory, Journal of the Early Republic, Early American Studies, and the Arkansas Historical Quarterly. She is currently writing a book on Native dominance of North America from the eleventh to the nineteenth centuries.