Shakespeare and the Making of America

12.01.2020 - By Live at the National Constitution Center

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From Ben Franklin to George Washington to Abraham Lincoln—American founders and many early Americans read and revered Shakespeare. As a result, echoes of Shakespeare can be heard in some of the most fundamental documents in American history, including the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, and Shakespearean themes and influences have resonated throughout some of America’s biggest crises, from the Civil War to COVID-19. Last week, three of America’s leading authorities on Shakespeare— Barry Edelstein of The Old Globe Theater in San Diego; Kevin Hayes, author of the new book, Shakespeare and the Making of America; and Lucas Morel of Washington and Lee University and author of Lincoln and the American Founding—joined National Constitution Center President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen for a look at how Shakespeare has shaped the country, and how his work relates to American constitutional values today.  
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