The Great Degeneration

Niall Ferguson
Wed, June 19th, 2013 | 6:30 pm


Slowing growth, crushing debts, aging populations, anti-social behavior — what exactly is amiss with Western civilization? The answer, Niall Ferguson argues, is that our institutions are degenerating and that to slow the degeneration of the West’s once dominant civilization will take heroic leadership and radical reform.


Niall Ferguson is a professor of history at Harvard University and the author of many books, including The Great Degeneration.

Foreign Policy Begins at Home: The Case for Putting America’s House in Order

Richard N. Haass
Roger Hertog (moderator)
Tue, June 4th, 2013 | 6:30 pm


In the twenty-first century, the world seems in constant crisis. In his new book, Richard N. Haass argues that only by getting its own house in order can the United States reclaim its role as the primary director of global events and maintain that role in a world of unprecedented chaos.

The Roberts Court

Marcia Coyle
Linda Greenhouse (moderator)
Tue, May 14th, 2013 | 6:30 pm

Note: This event is sold out



The Roberts Court sits at the center of a constitutional maelstrom. Two of the most prestigious Supreme Court experts discuss its direction under Chief Justice Roberts and trace the paths of recent landmark decisions on race, guns, immigration, campaign finance, and health care.


The Second World War (1939–1945) was the most widespread, destructive, and consequential conflict in history. WWII & NYC is an account of how New York and its metropolitan region contributed to Allied victory. The exhibition also explores the captivating, sobering, and moving stories of how New Yorkers experienced and confronted the challenges of “total war.”

When war broke out in 1939, New York was a cosmopolitan, heavily immigrant city, whose people had real stakes in the global conflict and strongly held opinions about whether or not to intervene. The attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 brought the U.S. into the war, and New York became the principal port of embarkation for the warfront. The presence of troops, the inflow of refugees, the wartime industries, the dispatch of fleets, and the dissemination of news and propaganda from media outlets, changed New York, giving its customary commercial and creative bustle a military flavor.

The Thirteenth Amendment

Feb 1 2012 - Apr 30 2012

In honor of Black History Month and Abraham Lincoln's birthday, the New-York Historical Society is proud to display a rare handwritten copy of the Thirteenth Amendment—signed by Lincoln himself—in our Robert H. and Clarice Smith New York Gallery of American History.  The document, which was recently acquired by David Rubenstein, managing director of The Carlyle Group, is on loan to the New-York Historical Society through April 1.

Abraham Lincoln. Manuscript Document Signed (“Abraham Lincoln”) as President, with his Autograph Endorsement (“Approved. February 1, 1865.”) Washington, DC, ca. February 1, 1865. Co-signed by Hannibal Hamlin as Vice President of the United States and President of the Senate, Schuyler Colfax as Speaker of the House, and John W. Forney as Secretary of the Senate. 1 p., 15 1/16 x 20 in., on lined vellum with ruled borders.

One of about thirteen manuscripts Lincoln signed in addition to the original, this copy belonged to Schuyler Colfax, House Speaker in 1863 and later Vice President under Ulysses S. Grant. According to Seth Kaller, president of Seth Kaller, Inc., who acquired the document for Mr. Rubenstein in a private transaction, and arranged its loan to New-York Historical, “this is the one that is directly traceable to a leader instrumental in the amendment’s passage. It has not been displayed in New York for more than forty years."

Making Our Democracy Work: A Judge's View

Stephen Breyer
Tue, May 31st, 2011 | 7:30 pm

How does the Constitution, an 18th-century document, relate to and dictate the laws of a 21st-century society? Through the analysis of past cases, including those concerning slavery, the Cherokee Indians, and detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Justice Stephen Breyer examines the Court’s arduous—and often turbulent—journey to establish its legitimacy as guardian of the Constitution. Having earned the public’s confidence, he expounds how the Court can continue promoting a workable democracy going forward.

Post Elections: The Great Divide

Beverly Gage
Akhil Reed Amar
Jonathan Alter
Christopher Caldwell
Lesley Stahl
Thu, April 28th, 2011 | 7:30 pm

When Barack Obama was elected President, people across the globe anticipated the coming of a new age of American liberalism and bipartisanship. Yet two years after his inauguration, the nation is experiencing a conservative resurgence of dramatic proportions. With Republicans consistently opposing the president’s main platforms and Democrats accusing the president of being too conceding, political disharmony is crippling the legislative process.

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