The Spirit of the Laws and the Separation of Powers
The Bonnie and Richard Reiss Lecture in Constitutional History and Law
Akhil Reed Amar, Philip Bobbitt, Trevor Morrison (moderator)
Tue, October 20, 2020 | 6 pm ET | $20 (Members $10)


Presented LIVE on Zoom

The separation of powers and the system of checks and balances are sacred to the foundation of the U.S. government. Why did the Founders establish the new nation based on these principles? Constitutional scholars discuss the origins of the American political system—including Montesquieu’s The Spirit of the Laws, published anonymously in 1748—and how the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Branches evolved throughout the presidencies, from George Washington to Donald J. Trump.

Akhil Reed Amar is Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University and a trustee of the New-York Historical Society. Philip Bobbitt, a leading constitutional theorist, is Herbert Wechsler Professor of Jurisprudence at Columbia Law School. Trevor Morrison (moderator) is Dean of NYU School of Law, where he is also the Eric M. and Laurie B. Roth Professor of Law.


By phone: Contact New-York Historical’s in-house call center at (212) 485-9268. Call center is open 9 am–5 pm daily.
Online: Click on the orange “Buy Tickets” button at the top of this page.

Registration closes at 3 pm the date of the program.


This program will be presented live via Zoom, an easy-to-use video conferencing platform.

The day before the program, a member of New-York Historical’s staff will contact all registered attendees from the email address with instructions on how to join the virtual presentation. An additional reminder will be sent within two hours of the program start time. If you do not receive a message, please check your spam folder.


Advance purchase is required to guarantee participation. All sales are final; refunds and exchanges not permitted. Programs and dates may be subject to change.

Creative: Tronvig Group