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William J. Novak, professor at the University of Michigan Law School, will present "The Constitution and the Myth of the Weak American State" at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, in Gallagher Business Building Room 123 at The University of Montana.

The event is UM's Constitution Day Lecture, held each year to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787. The lecture is free and open to the public.

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Novak, an award-winning legal scholar and historian, joined the University of Michigan Law School faculty in 2009. He previously was an associate professor of history at the University of Chicago, where he helped found the Human Rights and the Law, Letters and Society programs. He also directed the university's Center for Comparative Legal History. A specialist on the legal, political and intellectual history of the United States, Novak earned his doctorate in the history of American civilization from Brandeis University in 1991.

Novak is the author of "The People's Welfare: Law and Regulation in Nineteenth-Century America," which won the American Historical Association's Littleton-Griswold Prize and was named its Best Book in the History of Law and Society in 1997. Novak currently is working on "The People's Government: Law and the Creation of the Modern American State," a study of the transformation in American liberal governance around the turn of the 20th century.

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