America Revisited: The Constitution and Declaration of Independence (A Contrary View) – NYC

Saturday, May 12, 2018 10:00 am - 12:15 pm


10:00 am - 12:15 pm
The Constitution and The Declaration of Independence: A Contrary View

Kermit Roosevelt III / University of Pennsylvania

There's a story we like to tell about what makes us Americans. Centuries ago, great men enshrined noble principles of liberty and equality in the Declaration of Independence. They wrote the Constitution to carry those principles into execution. And for over two hundred years, that Constitution has served us well. It is the bedrock of our American society, it establishes our core values, it tells us who we are.

It's a nice story, but what if it's wrong? In this lecture, Professor Kermit Roosevelt will explain how the principles of the Declaration are not what we think they are, how the original Constitution fell to pieces, how the story of America is actually one of repeated crisis, struggle, and even failure—and how despite that, the Constitution remains a vehicle for the advancement and articulation of American ideals.

U Penn Law Professor Kermit Roosevelt III is the great-great-grandson of United States President Theodore Roosevelt and the cousin of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Kermit Roosevelt III / University of Pennsylvania

Kermit Roosevelt is a professor of constitutional law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and was a clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter. His novels include “Allegiance and In the Shadow of the Law,” and his nonfiction includes “The Myth of Judicial Activism: Making Sense of Supreme Court Decisions and Conflict of Laws.” Professor Roosevelt’s law review articles have been cited twice by the Supreme Court. In 2014 he was selected as the Reporter for the Third Restatement of Conflict of Laws. He is a graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School, and is the great great grandson of President Franklin D. Roosevelt as well as a 4th cousin of President Theodore Roosevelt! For more information please visit