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Carl M Buchholz Memorial Lecture featuring a photo of authro Akhil Reed Amar and his book The Words that Made Us.
In addition to educating Americans engaged in discussion about their rich constitutional legacy, the book has a generous spirit that can be a much-needed balm in these troubled times.
The New York Times

Preeminent constitutional scholar and Yale University professor Akhil Reed Amar will join the Museum as the distinguished lecturer for the fifth Carl M. Buchholz Memorial Lecture. His talk will focus on his most recent book The Words That Made Us: America's Constitutional Conversation, 1760-1840, which provides a history of the American Constitution's formative decades.

When the U.S. Constitution won popular approval in 1788, it was the culmination of 30 years of passionate argument over the nature of government. But ratification hardly ended the conversation. For the next half century, ordinary Americans and statesmen alike continued to wrestle with weighty questions in the halls of government and in the pages of newspapers. Should the nation’s borders be expanded? Should America allow slavery to spread westward? What rights should Native American nations hold? What was the proper role of the judicial branch?

In The Words That Made Us, Akhil Reed Amar unites history and law in a vivid narrative of the biggest constitutional questions early Americans confronted, and he expertly assesses the answers they offered. His account of the document’s origins and consolidation is a guide for anyone seeking to properly understand America’s Constitution today.

Program Details

The program will be held in the Museum’s Liberty Hall and will be broadcast live via Zoom. Following the presentation, Museum President & CEO Dr. R. Scott Stephenson will join the conversation to facilitate a live Q&A with the onsite and online audiences.

Doors open at 6 p.m. for onsite guests to attend the lecture in Liberty Hall at 6:30-7:30 p.m. Each onsite ticket purchase includes one pre-signed copy of The Words That Made Us, available for pick up from Museum staff upon arrival at the event.

The event marks the fifth Carl M. Buchholz Memorial Lecture, a series established by the generosity of the family, friends, and colleagues of the late Carl Buchholz, former vice-chairman of the Museum’s Board of Directors. The series was created to honor his public service and to explore the political thought of the American Revolution and its national relevance today.

Those interested in contributing to the endowment for this lecture can contact [email protected].

About Akhil Reed Amar

Photo of author and scholar Akhil Reed Amar, who wears glasses, has a gray beard, and salt and pepper long hair.

Akhil Reed Amar is the Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University, where he teaches constitutional law at both Yale College and Yale Law School. His work has won awards from both the American Bar Association and the Federalist Society. He is the author of several books on constitutional law and history, including America’s Constitution: A Biography and America’s Unwritten Constitution. Amar’s books and articles have been favorably cited by Supreme Court justices across the spectrum in over 40 cases and he regularly testifies before Congress at the invitation of both Republicans and Democrats.

He has written widely for popular publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Time, and The Atlantic. He was an informal consultant to the popular TV show “The West Wing,” and his constitutional scholarship has been showcased on more recent TV shows, including “The Colbert Report,” “Up with Chris Hayes,” “Morning Joe,” “AC360,” “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” “11th Hour with Brian Williams,” “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” “Erin Burnett Outfront,” and “Constitution USA with Peter Sagal.” 

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Karen Buchholz introduces the 2023 Carl M. Buchholz Memorial Lecture.

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