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Akhil Reed Amar, Sterling Professor of Law, Yale Law School


This course is designed to introduce you to one of the most important texts in human history—the United States Constitution. Why and how did this document come into existence in the 1780s? How and why has it been amended over the years? Who decides what it means? What are the ground rules for proper constitutional interpretation? How does the written Constitution interact with unwritten sources of constitutional authority, such as judicial decisions, presidential proclamations, landmark statutes, and widespread popular understandings?


Readings are sent by the Institute to seminar participants. Readings may include:

  1. Akhil Reed Amar, America’s Constitution: A Biography (Random House, 2005)
  2. Akhil Reed Amar, America’s Unwritten Constitution: The Precedents and Principles We Live By (Basic Books, 2012)

Travel & Accommodations

Classes will take place daily at the National Constitution Center and participants will be housed at the University of Pennsylvania. There are several options for traveling to and from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. For more information visit the University of Pennsylvania website.

Philadelphia International Airport is located approximately twenty minutes from the University of Pennsylvania. There are several options for transportation from the airport to the university.

Workshop participants will be housed in an on-campus dormitory. Participants will have single bedrooms but share bathrooms and common space. Dormitories are air-conditioned. Wireless Internet service is provided along with temporary wireless access codes. Participants should plan to bring laptops as computer access on campus will be limited.

The university provides pillows, blankets, sheets, and towels only. Please note that participants should plan to bring alarm clocks, hangers, irons, hair dryers, and shower shoes.


Meals will be served in a university cafeteria in space shared by other programs. All on-campus meals will be paid for by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

Travel Reimbursement

Participants are responsible for making their own travel arrangements to and from the seminar. Each seminar participant will receive reimbursement of travel expenses up to $400. Please read our complete travel reimbursement policy before applying.

Graduate Credit

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is proud to announce its agreement with Adams State University to offer three hours of graduate credit in American history to participating seminar teachers. For more information click here.


Email the Teacher Seminars department or call 646-366-9666.

July 13th, 2014 5:00 PM   through   July 19th, 2014 9:00 AM
National Constitution Center
525 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
United States

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Seminar Fee
Attending $50.00
Not Attending $0.00

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