Discover dynamic education programs and curriculum resources about the history of our city, state, and nation.

Institute for Constitutional History

Education Mission

The New-York Historical Society Education Division provides dynamic programming and curriculum resources for students and teachers in New York and beyond. Historical study sparks curiosity and creativity, promotes cultural understanding, and fosters an empowered citizenry to strengthen our democracy. Our staff of passionate professionals draws on our world-renowned collections to engage learners of all ages in the study of our collective past.


Education programs made possible through endowments established by:
National Endowment for the Humanities
The Hearst Foundations
The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation

Public funding provided by:
Institute for Museum and Library Services
New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council
New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature

Important support provided by:
Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation
Carnegie Corporation of New York
Ford Foundation
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Altman Foundation
Deutsche Bank
The Pinkerton Foundation
Barker Welfare Foundation
The Keith Haring Foundation
The Bay and Paul Foundations
The Alice Lawrence Foundation
The Henry Nias Foundation
Fred and Joan Pittman


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The Institute for Constitutional History sponsors or co-sponsors a variety of events during the academic year. Here is a partial list of upcoming and recent events:

Upcoming Events

Legal Thought in an Age of Fracture (NYC Seminar)
Friday afternoons, September 7, 21, October 5, 19, 2018
The idea of “the common good” and the reality of “America” with their call to fulfill duties of sacrifice and common purpose seemed to dissolve with the end of the Cold War. All these tendencies have made themselves felt in law, including Constitutional law—among other places in the battles over racial integration and affirmative action; gay rights and abortion; the role of the state in public choice theory and movements toward deregulation; state policies favoring voucher and charter schools; speech codes and curricula in universities; criminal justice policy; intellectual movements in the legal academy; and debates over the meaning of history in the Supreme Court. Led by Robert W. Gordon and Daniel T. Rodgers at the New-York Historical Society, this workshop draws from legal sources—cases, speeches, policy statements, and academic articles—illustrating facets of the Age of Fracture, each tied to a different chapter in Rodgers’ book, Age of Fracture.  

The deadline to apply is June 30, 2018. LEARN MORE

Applications should be sent via email to

Antislavery Constitutionalism (D.C. seminar)
Thursday nights, September 6, 20, October 4, 18, November 1, 15, 2018
Sooner or later every major political dispute becomes a dispute over the Constitution.  This is as true today for issues such as abortion rights, gun control, and the war powers of the president. Nowhere did the Constitution figure more prominently than in the increasingly rancorous debates over slavery. Indeed, what the Constitution did or did not allow the federal government to do about slavery was present at the creation of the Constitution in the Philadelphia convention of 1787. For decades scholars have investigated the proslavery compromises embedded within the Constitution, but much less attention has been paid to antislavery constitutionalism. This was a body of thought that carefully specified what the federal government could and could not do to put slavery on what Abraham Lincoln called a “course of ultimate extinction.” Led by James Oakes, this workshop takes place at the George Washington University Law School.

The deadline to apply is June 30, 2018. LEARN MORE

Applications should be sent via email to



The Institute for Constitutional History (ICH) is the nation’s premier institute dedicated to ensuring that future generations of Americans understand the substance and historical development of the U.S. Constitution. Located at the New York Historical Society and the George Washington University Law School, the Institute is co-sponsored by the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, and the American Political Science Association. The Association of American Law Schools is a cooperating entity. ICH prepares junior scholars and college instructors to convey to their readers and students the important role the Constitution has played in shaping American society. ICH also provides a national forum for the preparation and dissemination of humanistic, interdisciplinary scholarship on American constitutional history.




Support for this seminar of the Graduate Institute for Constitutional History is provided in honor of Eric J. Wallach. The Graduate Institute for Constitutional History is supported, in part, by the Saunders Endowment for Constitutional History and a “We the People” challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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