CHS is pleased to welcome Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Eric Foner to deliver the first Woodward Lecture, a new lecture series named after Charles Woodward, a significant benefactor of the CHS.

Dr. Foner was a historical consultant for the exhibition Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow. He will speak about his new book, The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the event.

The Second Founding is an authoritative story of the constitutional changes that built equality into the nation’s foundation. The Declaration of Independence announced equality as an American ideal, but it took the Civil War and the subsequent adoption of three constitutional amendments to establish that ideal as American law. The Reconstruction amendments abolished slavery, guaranteed due process and the equal protection of the law, and equipped black men with the right to vote. The federal government, not the states, was put in charge of enforcement. By grafting the principle of equality onto the Constitution, the amendments marked the second founding of the United States.

Foner will relate the dramatic origins of these revolutionary amendments in citizen meetings and political negotiations, explore the momentous court decisions that then narrowed and even nullified the rights guaranteed in these amendments. Today, issues of birthright citizenship, voting rights, due process, and equal protection are still in dispute, the ideal of equality yet to be achieved.

This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. Please tell us you’re coming by emailing or calling 860-236-5621 ex. 238.

Presentation begins at 5:45. Doors open at 5:00; come early to view our exhibits!


  • Occurred Thursday, September 12th, 2019 @ 5:45 pm – 7:00 pm


Connecticut Historical Society

One Elizabeth Street
Hartford, CT 06105


Connecticut Historical Society