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Frederick Douglass, Thomas Jefferson, and the American Constitution

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For more than two centuries, the US Constitution has been emblematic of the nation’s democratic principles and the perpetual pursuit of liberty and happiness that underpins them. Yet within that aspirational spirit of “a more perfect Union,” the stains of slavery and oppression are ever-present. How did the Constitution—and the understanding of it—evolve from Thomas Jefferson’s time through that of Frederick Douglass’? In commemoration of Douglass’ birthday and Black History Month, an esteemed panel of New-York Historical scholar trustees examine America’s ongoing, often imperfect quest to uphold its democratic promise.

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The New-York Historical Society
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