This fall, the CHS is partnering with UCONN Law School to offer a lecture series, The Constitution of 1818: Debate and Dissent in the Land of Steady Habits, to mark the 200th anniversary of the creation of Connecticut’s 1818 state Constitution.
Connecticut’s nickname is the “Constitution State”, but in fact it was almost the last state in the early republic to change its colonial charter to a constitution. Why? This lecture series will examine the ways in which the Constitution of 1818 grew out of a specific historical context: local, national, and international. The speakers will pay special attention to the many ways in which political debates in the past still resonate today.
We kick off our series with a talk by UCONN School of Law Professor Richard Kay. He’ll use Connecticut’s history to explore the question: Who makes constitutions, and what is there about those people that convinces us to conform our behavior to their rules? The 200th anniversary of the Connecticut Constitution of 1818 provides an opportunity to reflect on many aspects of Connecticut history and on the particular functions that constitutions serve in shaping a political society. In looking at the initiation of any new constitutional regime, one salient question is always present. A constitution is, almost definitionally, supreme law. That being the case, we ought to be curious about the authority that brought the supreme constitution into being.
This event takes place at UCONN Law School, in the William R. Davis Courtroom in Starr Hall, Rm. 204. Directions can be found here.
The event is FREE and open to the public, but please RSVP at [email protected] or by calling 860-236-5621 ext. 238.
About the Speaker
Richard S. Kay is the Wallace Stevens Professor of Law Emeritus and Oliver Ellsworth Research Professor at UCONN School of Law. He holds a B.A. from Brandeis University, an M.A. in economics from Yale University and a J.D. (magna cum laude) from Harvard Law School. Professor Kay teaches basic and advanced courses in constitutional law, comparative law and commercial law. He is also a leading scholar on constitutional interpretation. His book, The Glorious Revolution and the Continuity of Law (2014) is a historical study of the relationship between revolution and legality.
Support for the 1818 Constitution Lecture Series comes from Connecticut Humanities.