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.

Infanterie Regiment von Donop (Hessian)

Sun, February 26th, 2012 | 11:00 am


History comes alive for the whole family with Living History Days at the New-York Historical Society! Do you want to know what life was like in the eighteenth century? Please join us as re-enactment troops and Living History actors recreate the world of Revolutionary America. Living History Days will feature appearances by troops of the Continental, Loyalist, British and Hessian armies and, on select days, actors portraying Revolutionary heroes, including George Washington, Benjamin and Deborah Franklin, and the Marquis de Lafayette.

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."

Citizen Founders: Ratification, the People Debate the Constitution, 1787–1788

Pauline Maier
Jack Rakove
Akhil Reed Amar (moderator)
Tue, November 9th, 2010 | 6:30 pm

Event Details

The American Constitution is our nation's most important document and the battle to ratify it was a crucial turning point in American history. Three experts recall a nearly 225-year-old debate that raged in homes, taverns, and convention halls across the new nation and discuss the key players who fought for and against ratification.

Notes on the State of Virginia

Notes on the State of Virginia
Thomas Jefferson’s copy of Notes on the State of Virginia, his only book, inscribed to the Abbé Morellet, and used by the latter to make the first French translation.
Credit Line 
Rare Books Division, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

Haitian Declaration of Independence

Haitian Declaration of Independence
The only known surviving copy of the first printing of the Haitian Declaration of Independence (1804, National Archives, London), recently discovered and exhibited here to the public for the first time.
Credit Line 
On loan from the National Archives, UK
Object Number 
CO 1371111
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

James Madison

Richard Brookhiser
Benno Schmidt (moderator)
Tue, October 25th, 2011 | 7:30 pm


Carl Menges

Event details

James Madison was one of the most influential and integral figures in American history: he collaborated on the Federalist Papers and the Bill of Rights, assembled one of the nation’s first political parties and took to the battlefield during the War of 1812, becoming the last president to lead troops in combat. Richard Brookhiser presents a vivid portrait of the “Father of the Constitution,” an accomplished yet humble statesman who nourished Americans’ fledgling liberty.

George Washington’s New York: Walking Tour of Lower Manhattan

Barnet Schecter
Sun, November 14th, 2010 | 11:00 am

Among the maps that George Washington owned was British military engineer John Montresor's A Plan of the City of New-York, surveyed in 1766. The map provided Washington with detailed information about the streets and hills of Lower Manhattan as he fortified the city against a British assault in 1776. The map was also useful for planning Washington's triumphant entry into New York on November 25, 1783 as the British ended their 70- year occupation and evacuated the city.

Nation at the Crossroads: The Great New York Debate Over the Constitution, 1787–1788

The debate over the United States Constitution in New York in 1787–1788 was an extraordinary combination of great political argument and skilled political practice, and it engaged critical issues that are relevant even today.

The statewide public debate culminated in a county-by-county election of delegates to the New York Ratifying Convention, an election in which there were no property qualifications for voters or delegates and which may be considered among the first truly democratic elections in the modern sense.

This online exhibition features documents, contemporary newspapers and broadsides, portraits and objects illuminating the hard-fought advocacy and courage to compromise that characterized this debate.

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.

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Creative: Tronvig Group