The past few decades have seen a broad moral reevaluation of the American founding. Both on the left and on the right, many now regard the founders’ ideals as less valuable and their failings as more salient. These reckonings are necessary, but they also risk missing something important: a richer and more human understanding of the past, together with a recognition of the great good that the American founding achieved, here and elsewhere. This lecture will discuss how we ought to understand the founders’ historical legacy—and why we might respect and indeed honor their contributions with open eyes.
Stephen E. Sachs is the Antonin Scalia Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, where he teaches civil procedure, conflict of laws, and seminars on constitutional law. His research focuses on constitutional interpretation, federal jurisdiction, and the history of procedure.
Sachs previously taught at Duke University and practiced in the litigation group of Mayer Brown LLP. He clerked for Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and for Judge Stephen F. Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
He is a member of the American Law Institute, an adviser to the ALI’s project on the Restatement of the Law (Third), Conflict of Laws, a former member of the Appellate Rules Advisory Committee, and a founding member of the Academic Freedom Alliance.
- April 19, 2023