Montpelier and the National Archives to Host State of the Constitution Lecture

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Hosted by the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at Montpelier, discussants include U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese, and constitutional scholar Akhil Reed Amar.

On September 17, the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison’s Montpelier will host a celebration of the 226th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution in collaboration with the National Archives in Washington. The event will poll the expected 300 audience members in a candid conversation about American constitutional rights with responses by a sitting senator, former U.S. Attorney General, and a Constitution scholar.

“We will be asking questions about current perceptions of the U.S. Constitution and use comparable national data to see what the audience knows, or perhaps misunderstands, about this most important document. There is simply no better way to recognize Constitution Day than an interactive event at the very place our Constitution is displayed, the Archives,” said Douglas Smith, Vice President for the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison’s Montpelier. “We expect an unscripted and highly spirited conversation that will remind us all how our many opinions are able to unite us into one nation.”

Responding to the results of the audience poll will be Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Edwin Meese, III, former Attorney General of the United States, and Akhil Reed Amar, Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale College and Yale Law School.

The interactive discussion to gauge knowledge of the U.S. Constitution will be enhanced by real-time audience participation through hand-held personal polling devices. Results will be tabulated and displayed live, showing participants how their views compare to national polling data. The event will be streamed by the National Archives via its U-Stream channel (USNatArchives), and strong live social media participation driven by several national non-profit organizations is also expected. The twitter hashtag# for the evening will be #constitution.

Who: The Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison’s Montpelier
The National Archives         
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar
Former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese, III
Constitutional Scholar Akhil Reed Amar    

What: “State of the Constitution: What Americans Really Know” - Interactive Lecture and Celebration of the 226th Anniversary of the U.S. Constitution

When: Tuesday, September 17, 2013, at 7:30 p.m.

Where: William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives
700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC

Media: Media are invited to attend and asked to RSVP to Caroline Godfrey, Communications Associate for James Madison’s Montpelier, at 540-308-2077. Advance interviews and background information on participants and event structure will be provided as possible prior to the event.

Cost: Attendance is free. Seating is limited. Doors open at 7:00 p.m.

About the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at Montpelier

The Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization dedicated to the study and teaching of founding principles and constitutional ideals to promote an understanding of the rights and responsibilities our democracy protects and requires. To date the Center has served teachers from all 50 states, judges, state legislators, police officers, members of the media, and dignitaries from more than 60 countries. The Center for the Constitution is located on the grounds of Montpelier, James and Dolley Madison's restored home in Orange, Va.

About James Madison’s Montpelier

Montpelier is the lifelong home of James Madison, Father of the Constitution, Architect of the Bill of Rights, and fourth president of the United States. Montpelier is administered by The Montpelier Foundation, which seeks to inspire continuing public engagement with American constitutional self-government by bringing to life the home and contributions of James and Dolley Madison. The historic home and grounds are open to visitors and student groups throughout the year, and through the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution, Montpelier provides world-class residential and online educational programs. Montpelier is a National Trust Historic Site. To learn more, visit

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Caroline Godfrey
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