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John Marshall

John Marshall

Overview
John Marshall was the Chief Justice of the United States
Chief Justice of the United States
The Chief Justice of the United States is the head of the United States federal court system and the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Chief Justice is one of nine Supreme Court justices; the other eight are the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States...

 (1801–1835) whose court opinions helped lay the basis for American constitutional law
United States constitutional law
United States constitutional law is the body of law governing the interpretation and implementation of the United States Constitution.- Introduction :United States constitutional law defines the scope and application of the terms of the Constitution...

 and made the Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 a coequal branch of government
Separation of powers under the United States Constitution
Separation of powers is a political doctrine originating from the United States Constitution, according to which the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the United States government are kept distinct in order to prevent abuse of power. This U.S...

 along with the legislative and executive branches. Previously, Marshall had been a leader of the Federalist Party in Virginia and served in the United States House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 from 1799 to 1800. He was Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 under President John Adams
John Adams
John Adams was an American lawyer, statesman, diplomat and political theorist. A leading champion of independence in 1776, he was the second President of the United States...

 from 1800 to 1801.

The longest-serving Chief Justice of the United States, Marshall dominated the Court for over three decades and played a significant role in the development of the American legal system.
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Quotations

It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is...If two laws conflict with each other, the courts must decide on the operation of each...This is of the very essence of judicial duty.

Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch, 1317 (1803).

The people made the Constitution, and the people can unmake it. It is the creature of their own will, and lives only by their will.

Cohens v. Virginia, 6 Wheaton (19 U.S.) 264, 389 (1821).

The law does not expect a man to be prepared to defend every act of his life which may be suddenly and without notice alleged against him.

In the Trial of Aaron Burr, August 1807.

We must never forget that it is a constitution we are expounding.

4 Wheaton 316, 407.

This provision is made in a constitution, intended to endure for ages to come, and consequently, to be adapted to the various crises of human affairs.

4 Wheaton 316, 415.

Let the end be legitimate, let it be within the scope of the constitution, and all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, which are not prohibited, but consist with the letter and spirit of the constitution, are constitutional.

4 Wheaton 316, 421.

The power to tax involves the power to destroy.

4 Wheaton 316, 431.
Encyclopedia
John Marshall was the Chief Justice of the United States
Chief Justice of the United States
The Chief Justice of the United States is the head of the United States federal court system and the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Chief Justice is one of nine Supreme Court justices; the other eight are the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States...

 (1801–1835) whose court opinions helped lay the basis for American constitutional law
United States constitutional law
United States constitutional law is the body of law governing the interpretation and implementation of the United States Constitution.- Introduction :United States constitutional law defines the scope and application of the terms of the Constitution...

 and made the Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 a coequal branch of government
Separation of powers under the United States Constitution
Separation of powers is a political doctrine originating from the United States Constitution, according to which the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the United States government are kept distinct in order to prevent abuse of power. This U.S...

 along with the legislative and executive branches. Previously, Marshall had been a leader of the Federalist Party in Virginia and served in the United States House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 from 1799 to 1800. He was Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 under President John Adams
John Adams
John Adams was an American lawyer, statesman, diplomat and political theorist. A leading champion of independence in 1776, he was the second President of the United States...

 from 1800 to 1801.

The longest-serving Chief Justice of the United States, Marshall dominated the Court for over three decades and played a significant role in the development of the American legal system. Most notably, he reinforced the principle that federal courts are obligated to exercise judicial review
Judicial review
Judicial review is the doctrine under which legislative and executive actions are subject to review by the judiciary. Specific courts with judicial review power must annul the acts of the state when it finds them incompatible with a higher authority...

, by disregarding purported laws if they violate the Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

. Thus, Marshall cemented the position of the American judiciary as an independent and influential branch of government. Furthermore, the Marshall Court made several important decisions relating to federalism
Federalism
Federalism is a political concept in which a group of members are bound together by covenant with a governing representative head. The term "federalism" is also used to describe a system of the government in which sovereignty is constitutionally divided between a central governing authority and...

, affecting the balance of power between the federal government and the states during the early years of the republic. In particular, he repeatedly confirmed the supremacy of federal law over state law, and supported an expansive reading of the enumerated powers
Enumerated powers
The enumerated powers are a list of items found in Article I, section 8 of the US Constitution that set forth the authoritative capacity of the United States Congress. In summary, Congress may exercise the powers that the Constitution grants it, subject to explicit restrictions in the Bill of...

.

Some of his decisions were unpopular. Nevertheless, Marshall built up the third branch of the federal government, and augmented federal power in the name of the Constitution, and the rule of law
Rule of law
The rule of law, sometimes called supremacy of law, is a legal maxim that says that governmental decisions should be made by applying known principles or laws with minimal discretion in their application...

. Marshall, along with Daniel Webster
Daniel Webster
Daniel Webster was a leading American statesman and senator from Massachusetts during the period leading up to the Civil War. He first rose to regional prominence through his defense of New England shipping interests...

 (who argued some of the cases), was the leading Federalist of the day, pursuing Federalist Party approaches to build a stronger federal government over the opposition of the Jeffersonian Republicans, who wanted stronger state governments.

Early years (1755 to 1782)


John Marshall was born in a log cabin close to Germantown
Germantown, Virginia
Germantown is a historic unincorporated rural community in Fauquier County, Virginia, United States. It is the resting place of John Jacob Richter . He was buried there in 1729. It is located in and around current-day C. M. Crockett Park, which contains the popular local fishing destination of...

, a rural community on the Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 frontier, in what is now Fauquier County near Midland, Virginia
Midland, Virginia
Midland is a census-designated place in Fauquier County, Virginia, United States. The population as of the 2010 Census was 218. Midland is home to a post office with the local zip code of 22728....

, on September 24, 1755, to Thomas Marshall and Mary Isham Keith, the granddaughter of Thomas Randolph of Tuckahoe
Thomas Randolph of Tuckahoe
Thomas Randolph , also known as Thomas Randolph of Tuckahoe, was the builder of Tuckahoe, a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, and the second child of William Randolph and Mary Isham.-Biography:...

. The oldest of fifteen, John had eight sisters and six brothers. Also, several cousins were raised with the family. He was also relative of Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

, both of them being descendants of Virginia colonist William Randolph
William Randolph
William Randolph was a colonist and land owner who played an important role in the history and government of the Commonwealth of Virginia. He moved to Virginia sometime between 1669 and 1673, and married Mary Isham a few years later...

, though Marshall and Jefferson would oppose each other on many political issues. From a young age, he was noted for his good humor and black eyes, which were "strong and penetrating, beaming with intelligence and good nature".

Thomas Marshall was employed in Fauquier County as a surveyor and land agent by Lord Fairfax
Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron
Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron was the son of Thomas Fairfax, 5th Lord Fairfax of Cameron and of Catherine, daughter of Thomas Culpeper, 2nd Baron Culpeper of Thoresway....

, which provided Marshall with a substantial income.

In the early 1760s, the Marshall family left Germantown and moved some thirty miles to Leeds Manor (so named by Lord Fairfax) on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge
Blue Ridge Mountains
The Blue Ridge Mountains are a physiographic province of the larger Appalachian Mountains range. This province consists of northern and southern physiographic regions, which divide near the Roanoke River gap. The mountain range is located in the eastern United States, starting at its southern-most...

. On the banks of Goose Creek, Thomas Marshall built a simple wooden cabin there, much like the one abandoned in Germantown with two rooms on the first floor and a two-room loft above. Thomas Marshall was not yet well established, so he leased it from Colonel Richard Henry Lee
Richard Henry Lee
Richard Henry Lee was an American statesman from Virginia best known for the motion in the Second Continental Congress calling for the colonies' independence from Great Britain. He was a signatory to the Articles of Confederation and his famous resolution of June 1776 led to the United States...

. The Marshalls called their new home "the Hollow", and the ten years they resided there were John Marshall's formative years. In 1773, the Marshall family moved once again. Thomas Marshall, by then a man of more substantial means, purchased a 1700 acres (6.9 km²) estate adjacent to North Cobbler Mountain, approximately ten miles northwest of the Hollow. The new farm was located adjacent to the main stage road (now U.S. 17) between Salem (the modern day village of Marshall, Virginia
Marshall, Virginia
Marshall is an unincorporated village and census-designated place located in the hunt country of northwestern Fauquier County, Virginia. The population as of the 2010 Census was 1,480. Marshall was originally known as Salem. The town became Marshall after a short-lived incorporation...

) and Delaplane, Virginia
Delaplane, Virginia
Delaplane is a small unincorporated village in Fauquier County, Virginia, located approximately due west of Washington, D.C.. Delaplane is situated along U.S. Route 17 and Interstate 66; bordering Upperville, Virginia to the north, Hume, Virginia to the south, Paris, Virginia to the west, and...

. When John was seventeen, Thomas Marshall built "Oak Hill" there, a seven-room frame home with four rooms on the first floor and three above. Although modest in comparison to the estates of George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

, James Madison
James Madison
James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and at first an opponent of, and then a key author of the United...

, and Thomas Jefferson, it was a substantial home for the period. John Marshall became the owner of Oak Hill in 1785 when his father moved to Kentucky. Although John Marshall lived his later life in Richmond, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia
Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. It is an independent city and not part of any county. Richmond is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Greater Richmond area...

 and Washington D.C., he kept his Fauquier County property, making improvements and using it as a retreat until his death.

Marshall's early education was superintended by his father who gave him an early taste for history and poetry. Thomas Marshall's employer, Lord Fairfax, allowed access to his home at Greenway Court, which was an exceptional center of learning and culture. Marshall took advantage of the resources at Greenway Court and borrowed freely from the extensive collection of classical and contemporary literature. There were no schools in the region at the time, so home schooling was pursued. Although books were a rarity for most in the territory, Thomas Marshall's library was exceptional. His collection of literature, some of which was borrowed from Lord Fairfax, was relatively substantial and included works by the ancient Roman historian Livy
Livy
Titus Livius — known as Livy in English — was a Roman historian who wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people. Ab Urbe Condita Libri, "Chapters from the Foundation of the City," covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome well before the traditional foundation in 753 BC...

, the ancient Roman poet Horace
Horace
Quintus Horatius Flaccus , known in the English-speaking world as Horace, was the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus.-Life:...

, and the English writers Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope was an 18th-century English poet, best known for his satirical verse and for his translation of Homer. He is the third-most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, after Shakespeare and Tennyson...

, John Dryden
John Dryden
John Dryden was an influential English poet, literary critic, translator, and playwright who dominated the literary life of Restoration England to such a point that the period came to be known in literary circles as the Age of Dryden.Walter Scott called him "Glorious John." He was made Poet...

, John Milton
John Milton
John Milton was an English poet, polemicist, a scholarly man of letters, and a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell...

, and William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

. All of the Marshall children were accomplished, literate, and self-educated under their parents' supervision. At the age of twelve John had transcribed Alexander Pope's An Essay on Man
An Essay on Man
An Essay on Man is a poem published by Alexander Pope in 1734. It is a rationalistic effort to use philosophy in order to "vindicate the ways of God to man" , a variation of John Milton's claim in the opening lines of Paradise Lost, that he will "justify the ways of God to man" . It is concerned...

and some of his Moral Essays
Moral Essays
Moral Essays is a series of four poems on ethical subjects by Alexander Pope, published between 1731 and 1735...

.

There being no formal school in Fauqueir County at the time, John was sent, at age fourteen, about one hundred miles from home to an academy in Washington parish. Among his classmates was James Monroe
James Monroe
James Monroe was the fifth President of the United States . Monroe was the last president who was a Founding Father of the United States, and the last president from the Virginia dynasty and the Republican Generation...

, the future president. John remained at the academy one year, after which he was brought home. Afterward, Thomas Marshall arranged for a minister to be sent who could double as a teacher for the local children. The Reverend James Thomson, a recently ordained deacon from Glasgow, Scotland, resided with the Marshall family and tutored the children in Latin in return for his room and board. When Thomson left at the end of the year, John had begun reading and transcribing Horace and Livy.

The Marshalls had long before decided that John was to be a lawyer. William Blackstone
William Blackstone
Sir William Blackstone KC SL was an English jurist, judge and Tory politician of the eighteenth century. He is most noted for writing the Commentaries on the Laws of England. Born into a middle class family in London, Blackstone was educated at Charterhouse School before matriculating at Pembroke...

's Commentaries on the Laws of England
Commentaries on the Laws of England
The Commentaries on the Laws of England are an influential 18th-century treatise on the common law of England by Sir William Blackstone, originally published by the Clarendon Press at Oxford, 1765–1769...

had been published in America and Thomas Marshall bought a copy for his own use and for John to read and study. After John returned home from Campbell's academy he continued his studies with no other aid than his dictionary. John's father superintended the English part of his education. Marshall wrote of his father, "... and to his care I am indebted for anything valuable which I may have acquired in my youth. He was my only intelligent companion; and was both a watchful parent and an affectionate friend".

Marshall served in the Continental Army
Continental Army
The Continental Army was formed after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War by the colonies that became the United States of America. Established by a resolution of the Continental Congress on June 14, 1775, it was created to coordinate the military efforts of the Thirteen Colonies in...

 during the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

 and was friends with George Washington. He served first as a Lieutenant in the Culpeper Minutemen
Culpeper Minutemen
The Culpeper Minutemen was a militia group formed in 1775 in the district around Culpeper, Virginia. Like minutemen in other British colonies, the men drilled in military tactics and trained to respond to emergencies "at a minute's notice."-Organization:...

 from 1775 to 1776, and went on to serve as a Lieutenant and then a Captain in the Eleventh Virginia Continental Regiment from 1776 to 1780. During his time in the army, he enjoyed running races
Racing
A sport race is a competition of speed, against an objective criterion, usually a clock or to a specific point. The competitors in a race try to complete a given task in the shortest amount of time...

 with the other soldiers and was nicknamed Silverheels for the white heels his mother had sewn into his stockings. Marshall endured the brutal winter conditions at Valley Forge
Valley Forge
Valley Forge in Pennsylvania was the site of the military camp of the American Continental Army over the winter of 1777–1778 in the American Revolutionary War.-History:...

 (1777–1778). After his time in the Army, he read law under the famous Chancellor George Wythe
George Wythe
George Wythe was an American lawyer, a judge, a prominent law professor and "Virginia's foremost classical scholar." He was a teacher and mentor of Thomas Jefferson. Wythe's signature is positioned at the head of the list of seven Virginia signatories on the United States Declaration of Independence...

 in Williamsburg, Virginia
Williamsburg, Virginia
Williamsburg is an independent city located on the Virginia Peninsula in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area of Virginia, USA. As of the 2010 Census, the city had an estimated population of 14,068. It is bordered by James City County and York County, and is an independent city...

 at the College of William and Mary
College of William and Mary
The College of William & Mary in Virginia is a public research university located in Williamsburg, Virginia, United States...

, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and was admitted to the Bar in 1780. He was in private practice in Fauquier County, Virginia
Fauquier County, Virginia
As of the census of 2000, there were 55,139 people, 19,842 households, and 15,139 families residing in the county. The population density was 85 people per square mile . There were 21,046 housing units at an average density of 32 per square mile...

 before entering politics.

Political career (1782 to 1801)


In 1782, Marshall won a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates
Virginia House of Delegates
The Virginia House of Delegates is the lower house of the Virginia General Assembly. It has 100 members elected for terms of two years; unlike most states, these elections take place during odd-numbered years. The House is presided over by the Speaker of the House, who is elected from among the...

, in which he served until 1789 and again from 1795 to 1796. The Virginia General Assembly
Virginia General Assembly
The Virginia General Assembly is the legislative body of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the oldest legislative body in the Western Hemisphere, established on July 30, 1619. The General Assembly is a bicameral body consisting of a lower house, the Virginia House of Delegates, with 100 members,...

 elected him to serve on the Council of State later in the same year. In 1785, Marshall took up the additional office of Recorder of the Richmond City Hustings Court.

In 1788, Marshall was selected as a delegate to the Virginia convention
Virginia Ratifying Convention
The Virginia Ratifying Convention was a convention of 168 delegates from Virginia who met in 1788 to ratify or reject the United States Constitution, which had been drafted at the Philadelphia Convention the previous year.The Convention met and deliberated from June 2 through June 27 in Richmond...

 responsible for ratifying or rejecting the United States Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

, which had been proposed by the Philadelphia Convention
Philadelphia Convention
The Constitutional Convention took place from May 14 to September 17, 1787, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to address problems in governing the United States of America, which had been operating under the Articles of Confederation following independence from...

 a year earlier. Together with James Madison
James Madison
James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and at first an opponent of, and then a key author of the United...

 and Edmund Randolph
Edmund Randolph
Edmund Jennings Randolph was an American attorney, the seventh Governor of Virginia, the second Secretary of State, and the first United States Attorney General.-Biography:...

, Marshall led the fight for ratification. He was especially active in defense of Article III, which provides for the Federal judiciary. His most prominent opponent at the ratification convention was Anti-Federalist leader Patrick Henry
Patrick Henry
Patrick Henry was an orator and politician who led the movement for independence in Virginia in the 1770s. A Founding Father, he served as the first and sixth post-colonial Governor of Virginia from 1776 to 1779 and subsequently, from 1784 to 1786...

. Ultimately, the convention approved the Constitution by a vote of 89-79. Marshall identified with the new Federalist Party
Federalist Party (United States)
The Federalist Party was the first American political party, from the early 1790s to 1816, the era of the First Party System, with remnants lasting into the 1820s. The Federalists controlled the federal government until 1801...

 (which supported a strong national government and commercial interests), and opposed Jefferson's Democratic-Republican Party
Democratic-Republican Party (United States)
The Democratic-Republican Party or Republican Party was an American political party founded in the early 1790s by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Political scientists use the former name, while historians prefer the latter one; contemporaries generally called the party the "Republicans", along...

 (which advocated states' rights
States' rights
States' rights in U.S. politics refers to political powers reserved for the U.S. state governments rather than the federal government. It is often considered a loaded term because of its use in opposition to federally mandated racial desegregation...

 and idealized the yeoman farmer and the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

).

Meanwhile, Marshall's private law practice continued to flourish. He successfully represented the heirs of Lord Fairfax
Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron
Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron was the son of Thomas Fairfax, 5th Lord Fairfax of Cameron and of Catherine, daughter of Thomas Culpeper, 2nd Baron Culpeper of Thoresway....

 in Hite v. Fairfax
Hite v. Fairfax
Hite v. Fairfax, 8 Va. 42 was a case decided by the Supreme Court of Virginia that upheld the original title of land granted to Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron over what was known as the Northern Neck of Virginia, a large tract of land located between the headwaters of the Potomac and...

(1786), an important Virginia Supreme Court case involving a large tract of land in the Northern Neck
Northern Neck
The Northern Neck is the northernmost of three peninsulas on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay in the Commonwealth of Virginia. This peninsula is bounded by the Potomac River on the north and the Rappahannock River on the south. It encompasses the following Virginia counties: Lancaster,...

 of Virginia. In 1796, he appeared before the United States Supreme Court in another important case, Ware v. Hylton
Ware v. Hylton
Ware v. Hylton is the short name of a United States Supreme Court case where a divided court ruled that an article in the Treaty of Paris, which provided that debtors on both sides should meet no lawful impediment when recovering bona fide debts, took precedence and overruled a Virginia law passed...

,
a case involving the validity of a Virginia law providing for the confiscation of debts owed to British subjects. Marshall argued that the law was a legitimate exercise of the state's power; however, the Supreme Court ruled against him, holding that the Treaty of Paris
Treaty of Paris (1783)
The Treaty of Paris, signed on September 3, 1783, ended the American Revolutionary War between Great Britain on the one hand and the United States of America and its allies on the other. The other combatant nations, France, Spain and the Dutch Republic had separate agreements; for details of...

 in combination with the Supremacy Clause
Supremacy Clause
Article VI, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution, known as the Supremacy Clause, establishes the U.S. Constitution, U.S. Treaties, and Federal Statutes as "the supreme law of the land." The text decrees these to be the highest form of law in the U.S...

 of the Constitution required the collection of such debts.

Henry Flanders in his biography of Marshall remarked that Marshall's argument in Ware v. Hylton "elicited great admiration at the time of its delivery, and enlarged the circle of his reputation." Flanders also wrote that the reader "cannot fail to be impressed with the vigor, rigorous analysis, and close reasoning that mark every sentence of it."

In 1795, Marshall declined Washington's offer of Attorney General of the United States and, in 1796, declined to serve as minister to France. In 1797, he accepted when President John Adams
John Adams
John Adams was an American lawyer, statesman, diplomat and political theorist. A leading champion of independence in 1776, he was the second President of the United States...

 appointed him to a three-member commission to represent the United States in France. (The other members of this commission were Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
Charles Cotesworth “C. C.” Pinckney , was an early American statesman of South Carolina, Revolutionary War veteran, and delegate to the Constitutional Convention. He was twice nominated by the Federalist Party as their presidential candidate, but he did not win either election.-Early life and...

 and Elbridge Gerry
Elbridge Gerry
Elbridge Thomas Gerry was an American statesman and diplomat. As a Democratic-Republican he was selected as the fifth Vice President of the United States , serving under James Madison, until his death a year and a half into his term...

.) However, when the envoys arrived, the French refused to conduct diplomatic negotiations unless the United States paid enormous bribes. This diplomatic scandal became known as the XYZ Affair
XYZ Affair
The XYZ Affair was a 1798 diplomatic episode during the administration of John Adams that Americans interpreted as an insult from France. It led to an undeclared naval war called the Quasi-War, which raged at sea from 1798 to 1800...

, inflaming anti-French opinion in the United States. Hostility increased even further when the Directoire
French Directory
The Directory was a body of five Directors that held executive power in France following the Convention and preceding the Consulate...

 expelled Marshall and Pinckney from France. Marshall's handling of the affair, as well as public resentment toward the French, made him popular with the American public when he returned to the United States.

In 1798, Marshall declined a Supreme Court appointment, recommending Bushrod Washington
Bushrod Washington
Bushrod Washington was a U.S. Supreme Court associate justice and the nephew of George Washington.Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, and was the son of John Augustine Washington, brother of the first president. Bushrod attended Delamere, an academy administered by the Rev....

, who would later become one of Marshall's staunchest allies on the Court. In 1799, Marshall reluctantly ran for a seat in the United States House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

. Although his congressional district (which included the city of Richmond
Richmond, Virginia
Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. It is an independent city and not part of any county. Richmond is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Greater Richmond area...

) favored the Democratic-Republican Party
Democratic-Republican Party (United States)
The Democratic-Republican Party or Republican Party was an American political party founded in the early 1790s by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Political scientists use the former name, while historians prefer the latter one; contemporaries generally called the party the "Republicans", along...

, Marshall won the race, in part due to his conduct during the XYZ Affair and in part due to the support of Patrick Henry
Patrick Henry
Patrick Henry was an orator and politician who led the movement for independence in Virginia in the 1770s. A Founding Father, he served as the first and sixth post-colonial Governor of Virginia from 1776 to 1779 and subsequently, from 1784 to 1786...

. His most notable speech was related to the case of Thomas Nash (alias Jonathan Robbins), whom the government had extradited to Great Britain on charges of murder. Marshall defended the government's actions, arguing that nothing in the Constitution prevents the United States from extraditing one of its citizens.

On May 7, 1799, President Adams nominated Congressman Marshall as Secretary of War
United States Secretary of War
The Secretary of War was a member of the United States President's Cabinet, beginning with George Washington's administration. A similar position, called either "Secretary at War" or "Secretary of War," was appointed to serve the Congress of the Confederation under the Articles of Confederation...

. However, on May 12, Adams withdrew the nomination, instead naming him Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

, as a replacement for Timothy Pickering
Timothy Pickering
Timothy Pickering was a politician from Massachusetts who served in a variety of roles, most notably as the third United States Secretary of State, serving in that office from 1795 to 1800 under Presidents George Washington and John Adams.-Early years:Pickering was born in Salem, Massachusetts to...

. Confirmed by the United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 on May 13, Marshall took office on June 6, 1800. As Secretary of State, Marshall directed the negotiation of the Convention of 1800, which ended the Quasi-War
Quasi-War
The Quasi-War was an undeclared war fought mostly at sea between the United States and French Republic from 1798 to 1800. In the United States, the conflict was sometimes also referred to as the Franco-American War, the Pirate Wars, or the Half-War.-Background:The Kingdom of France had been a...

 with France and brought peace to the new nation.

Chief Justice (1801 to 1835)


Marshall served as Chief Justice during all or part of the administrations of six Presidents: John Adams
John Adams
John Adams was an American lawyer, statesman, diplomat and political theorist. A leading champion of independence in 1776, he was the second President of the United States...

, Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

, James Madison
James Madison
James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and at first an opponent of, and then a key author of the United...

, James Monroe
James Monroe
James Monroe was the fifth President of the United States . Monroe was the last president who was a Founding Father of the United States, and the last president from the Virginia dynasty and the Republican Generation...

, John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams was the sixth President of the United States . He served as an American diplomat, Senator, and Congressional representative. He was a member of the Federalist, Democratic-Republican, National Republican, and later Anti-Masonic and Whig parties. Adams was the son of former...

 and Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson was the seventh President of the United States . Based in frontier Tennessee, Jackson was a politician and army general who defeated the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend , and the British at the Battle of New Orleans...

. He remained a stalwart advocate of Federalism
Federalism (United States)
Federalism in the United States is the evolving relationship between U.S. state governments and the federal government of the United States. Since the founding of the country, and particularly with the end of the American Civil War, power shifted away from the states and towards the national...

 and a nemesis of the Jeffersonian school of government throughout its heyday. He participated in over 1000 decisions, writing 519 of the opinions himself.

He helped to establish the Supreme Court as the final authority on the meaning of the Constitution in cases and controversies that must be decided by the federal courts. His impact on constitutional law is without peer, and his imprint on the Court's jurisprudence remains indelible.

Nomination


Marshall was thrust into the office of Chief Justice in the wake of the presidential election of 1800
United States presidential election, 1800
In the United States Presidential election of 1800, sometimes referred to as the "Revolution of 1800," Vice-President Thomas Jefferson defeated President John Adams. The election was a realigning election that ushered in a generation of Democratic-Republican Party rule and the eventual demise of...

. With the Federalists soundly defeated and about to lose both the executive and legislative branches to Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans, President Adams and the lame duck
Lame duck (politics)
A lame duck is an elected official who is approaching the end of his or her tenure, and especially an official whose successor has already been elected.-Description:The status can be due to*having lost a re-election bid...

 Congress passed what came to be known as the Midnight Judges Act, which made sweeping changes to the federal judiciary, including a reduction in the number of Justices from six to five so as to deny Jefferson an appointment until two vacancies occurred. As the incumbent Chief Justice Oliver Ellsworth
Oliver Ellsworth
Oliver Ellsworth was an American lawyer and politician, a revolutionary against British rule, a drafter of the United States Constitution, and the third Chief Justice of the United States. While at the Federal Convention, Ellsworth moved to strike the word National from the motion made by Edmund...

 was in poor health, Adams first offered the seat to ex-Chief Justice John Jay
John Jay
John Jay was an American politician, statesman, revolutionary, diplomat, a Founding Father of the United States, and the first Chief Justice of the United States ....

, who declined on the grounds that the Court lacked "energy, weight, and dignity." Jay's letter arrived on January 20, 1801, and as there was precious little time left, Adams surprised Marshall, who was with him at the time and able to accept the nomination immediately. The Senate at first delayed, hoping that Adams would make a different choice, such as promoting Justice William Paterson of New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

. According to New Jersey Senator Jonathan Dayton
Jonathan Dayton
Jonathan Dayton was an American politician from the U.S. state of New Jersey. He was the youngest person to sign the United States Constitution and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, serving as the fourth Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and later the U.S. Senate...

, the Senate finally relented "lest another not so qualified, and more disgusting to the Bench, should be substituted, and because it appeared that this gentleman [Marshall] was not privy to his own nomination". Marshall was confirmed by the Senate on January 27, 1801, and received his commission on January 31, 1801. While Marshall officially took office on February 4, at the request of the President he continued to serve as Secretary of State until Adams' term expired on March 4. President John Adams offered this appraisal of Marshall's impact: "My gift of John Marshall to the people of the United States was the proudest act of my life."

Unified majority opinions


Soon after becoming Chief Justice, Marshall changed the manner in which the Supreme Court announced its decisions. Previously, each Justice would author a separate opinion (known as a seriatim
Seriatim
Seriatim is a legal term typically used to indicate that a court is addressing multiple issues in a certain order, such as the order that the issues were originally presented to the court....

opinion) as is still done in the 20th and 21st centuries in such jurisdictions as the United Kingdom
Law of the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom has three legal systems. English law, which applies in England and Wales, and Northern Ireland law, which applies in Northern Ireland, are based on common-law principles. Scots law, which applies in Scotland, is a pluralistic system based on civil-law principles, with common law...

 and Australia
Law of Australia
The law of Australia consists of the Australian common law , federal laws enacted by the Parliament of Australia, and laws enacted by the Parliaments of the Australian states and territories...

. Under Marshall, however, the Supreme Court adopted the practice of handing down a single opinion of the Court, allowing it to present a clear rule. As Marshall was almost always the author of this opinion, he essentially became the Court's sole spokesman in important cases.

Personality, principles and leadership


Marshall's forceful personality allowed him to steer his fellow Justices; only once did he find himself on the losing side in a constitutional case. In that case — Ogden v. Saunders
Ogden v. Saunders
Ogden v. Saunders, 25 U.S. 213 , was a United States Supreme Court case that determined the scope of a bankruptcy law in contrast to a clause of the Constitution of the United States...

in 1827 — Marshall set forth his general principles of constitutional interpretation:
In his Ogden dissent, Marshall also adopted a definition of the word "law" that would later be denounced by the individualist anarchist Lysander Spooner
Lysander Spooner
Lysander Spooner was an American individualist anarchist, political philosopher, Deist, abolitionist, supporter of the labor movement, legal theorist, and entrepreneur of the nineteenth century. He is also known for competing with the U.S...

. Marshall was in the dissenting minority only eight times throughout his tenure at the Court, partly because of his influence over the associate justices. As Oliver Wolcott observed when both he and Marshall served in the Adams administration, Marshall had the knack of "putting his own ideas into the minds of others, unconsciously to them". However, he regularly curbed his own viewpoints, preferring to arrive at decisions by consensus. He adjusted his role to accommodate other members of the court as they developed.

Marshall had charm, humor, a quick intelligence, and the ability to bring men together. His sincerity and presence commanded attention. His opinions were workmanlike but not especially eloquent or subtle. His influence on learned men of the law came from the charismatic force of his personality, and his ability to seize upon the key elements of a case and make highly persuasive arguments. Together with his vision of the future greatness of the nation, these qualities are apparent in his historic decisions and gave him the sobriquet, The Great Chief Justice.

Marshall ran a congenial court; there was seldom any bickering. The Court met in Washington only two months a year, from the first Monday in February through the second or third week in March. Six months of the year the justices were doing circuit duty
Circuit rider (U.S. Court system)
Circuit rider is a term in the United States for a professional who travels a regular circuit of locations to provide services. The term first came into widespread application for judges, particularly in the sparsely populated American West, who would hold court in each town in their circuit on a...

 in the various states. Marshall was therefore based in Richmond, his hometown, for most of the year. When the Court was in session in Washington, the justices boarded together in the same rooming house, avoided outside socializing, and discussed each case intently among themselves. Decisions were quickly made usually in a matter of days. Marshall wrote nearly half the decisions during his 33 years in office. Lawyers appearing before the court, including the most brilliant in the United States, typically gave oral arguments and often did not present written briefs. The justices did not have clerks, so they listened closely to the oral arguments, and decided among themselves what the decision should be. The court issued only one decision; the occasional dissenter usually did not issue a separate opinion.

While Marshall was very good at listening to the oral briefs, and convincing the other justices of his interpretation of the law, he was not widely read in the law, and seldom cited precedents. After the Court came to a decision, he would usually write it up himself. Often he asked Justice Story
Joseph Story
Joseph Story was an American lawyer and jurist who served on the Supreme Court of the United States from 1811 to 1845. He is most remembered today for his opinions in Martin v. Hunter's Lessee and The Amistad, along with his magisterial Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, first...

, a renowned legal scholar, to do the chores of locating the precedents, saying, "There, Story; that is the law of this case; now go and find the authorities."

Impact


The three previous chief justices (John Jay
John Jay
John Jay was an American politician, statesman, revolutionary, diplomat, a Founding Father of the United States, and the first Chief Justice of the United States ....

, John Rutledge
John Rutledge
John Rutledge was an American statesman and judge. He was the first Governor of South Carolina following the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the 31st overall...

, and Oliver Ellsworth
Oliver Ellsworth
Oliver Ellsworth was an American lawyer and politician, a revolutionary against British rule, a drafter of the United States Constitution, and the third Chief Justice of the United States. While at the Federal Convention, Ellsworth moved to strike the word National from the motion made by Edmund...

) had left little permanent mark beyond setting up the forms of office. The Supreme Court, like many state supreme courts, was a minor organ of government. In his 34-year tenure, Marshall gave it the energy, weight, and dignity of a third co-equal branch. With his associate justices, especially Joseph Story
Joseph Story
Joseph Story was an American lawyer and jurist who served on the Supreme Court of the United States from 1811 to 1845. He is most remembered today for his opinions in Martin v. Hunter's Lessee and The Amistad, along with his magisterial Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, first...

, William Johnson
William Johnson (judge)
William Johnson was a state legislator and judge in South Carolina, and an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1804 to his death in 1834.-Youth and early career:...

, and Bushrod Washington
Bushrod Washington
Bushrod Washington was a U.S. Supreme Court associate justice and the nephew of George Washington.Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, and was the son of John Augustine Washington, brother of the first president. Bushrod attended Delamere, an academy administered by the Rev....

, Marshall's Court brought to life the constitutional standards of the new nation.

Marshall used Federalist approaches to build a strong federal government over the opposition of the Jeffersonian Democrats, who wanted stronger state governments. His influential rulings reshaped American government, making the Supreme Court the final arbiter of constitutional interpretation. The Marshall Court struck down an act of Congress in only one case (Marbury v. Madison
Marbury v. Madison
Marbury v. Madison, is a landmark case in United States law and in the history of law worldwide. It formed the basis for the exercise of judicial review in the United States under Article III of the Constitution. It was also the first time in Western history a court invalidated a law by declaring...

in 1803) but that established the Court as a center of power that could overrule the Congress, the President, the states, and all lower courts if that is what a fair reading of the Constitution required. He also defended the legal rights of corporations by tying them to the individual rights of the stockholders, thereby ensuring that corporations have the same level of protection for their property as individuals had, and shielding corporations against intrusive state governments.

Marbury v. Madison


Marbury v. Madison
Marbury v. Madison
Marbury v. Madison, is a landmark case in United States law and in the history of law worldwide. It formed the basis for the exercise of judicial review in the United States under Article III of the Constitution. It was also the first time in Western history a court invalidated a law by declaring...

(1803) was the first important case before Marshall's Court. In that case, the Supreme Court invalidated a provision of the Judiciary Act of 1789
Judiciary Act of 1789
The United States Judiciary Act of 1789 was a landmark statute adopted on September 24, 1789 in the first session of the First United States Congress establishing the U.S. federal judiciary...

 on the grounds that it violated the Constitution by attempting to expand the original jurisdiction
Original jurisdiction
The original jurisdiction of a court is the power to hear a case for the first time, as opposed to appellate jurisdiction, when a court has the power to review a lower court's decision.-France:...

 of the Supreme Court. Marbury was the first and only case in which the Marshall Court ruled an act of Congress unconstitutional, and thereby reinforced the doctrine of judicial review
Judicial review
Judicial review is the doctrine under which legislative and executive actions are subject to review by the judiciary. Specific courts with judicial review power must annul the acts of the state when it finds them incompatible with a higher authority...

. Thus, although the Court indicated that the Jefferson administration was violating another law, the Court said it could not do anything about it due to its own lack of jurisdiction. President Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

 took the position that the Court could not give him a mandamus
Mandamus
A writ of mandamus or mandamus , or sometimes mandate, is the name of one of the prerogative writs in the common law, and is "issued by a superior court to compel a lower court or a government officer to perform mandatory or purely ministerial duties correctly".Mandamus is a judicial remedy which...

 (i.e. an order) even if the Court had jurisdiction:
More generally, Jefferson lamented that allowing the Constitution to mean whatever the Court says it means would make the Constitution "a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please."

Because Marbury v. Madison decided that a jurisdictional statute passed by Congress was unconstitutional, that was technically a victory for the Jefferson administration (so it could not easily complain). Ironically what was unconstitutional was Congress' granting a certain power to the Supreme Court itself. The case allowed Marshall to proclaim the doctrine of judicial review, which reserves to the Supreme Court final authority to judge whether or not actions of the president or of the congress are within the powers granted to them by the Constitution. The Constitution itself is the supreme law, and when the Court believes that a specific law or action is in violation of it, the Court must uphold the Constitution and set aside that other law or action, assuming that a party has standing to properly invoke the Court's jurisdiction. Chief Justice Marshall famously put the matter this way:
The Constitution does not explicitly give judicial review
Judicial review
Judicial review is the doctrine under which legislative and executive actions are subject to review by the judiciary. Specific courts with judicial review power must annul the acts of the state when it finds them incompatible with a higher authority...

 to the Court, and Jefferson was very angry with Marshall's position, for he wanted the President to decide whether his acts were constitutional or not. Historians mostly agree that the framers of the Constitution did plan for the Supreme Court to have some sort of judicial review; what Marshall did was make operational their goals. Judicial review was not new and Marshall himself mentioned it in the Virginia ratifying convention of 1788. Marshall's opinion expressed and fixed in the American tradition and legal system a more basic theory—government under law. That is, judicial review means a government in which no person (not even the President) and no institution (not even Congress or the Supreme Court itself), nor even a majority of voters, may freely work their will in violation of the written Constitution. Marshall himself never declared another law of Congress or act of a president unconstitutional.

Burr conspiracy trial


The Burr trial (1807) was presided over by Marshall together with Judge Cyrus Griffin
Cyrus Griffin
Cyrus Griffin was a lawyer and judge who served as the last President of the Continental Congress, holding office from January 22, 1788, to November 2, 1788. He resigned after the ratification of the United States Constitution rendered the old Congress obsolete, and was later a United States...

. This was the great state trial of former Vice President Aaron Burr
Aaron Burr
Aaron Burr, Jr. was an important political figure in the early history of the United States of America. After serving as a Continental Army officer in the Revolutionary War, Burr became a successful lawyer and politician...

, who was charged with treason
Treason
In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...

 and high misdemeanor
High misdemeanor
High Misdemeanor is an archaic term in English Law for a number of positive misprisions, neglects and contempts. A good example of this is treason...

. Prior to the trial, President Jefferson condemned Burr and strongly supported conviction. Marshall, however, narrowly construed the definition of treason provided in Article III of the Constitution; he noted that the prosecution had failed to prove that Burr had committed an "overt act
Overt Act
In criminal law, an overt act , an open act, one that can be clearly proved by evidence, and from which criminal intent can be inferred, as opposed to a mere intention in the mind to commit a crime...

," as the Constitution required. As a result, the jury acquitted the defendant, leading to increased animosity between the President and the Chief Justice.

Fletcher v. Peck


Fletcher v. Peck
Fletcher v. Peck
Fletcher v. Peck, , was a landmark United States Supreme Court decision. The first case in which the Supreme Court ruled a state law unconstitutional, the decision also helped create a growing precedent for the sanctity of legal contracts, and hinted that Native Americans did not hold title to...

(1810) was the first case in which the Supreme Court ruled a state law unconstitutional, though the Court had long before voided a state law as conflicting with the combination of the Constitution together with a treaty (Marshall had represented the losing side in that 1796 case). In Fletcher, the Georgia legislature had approved a land grant, known as the Yazoo Land Act of 1795. It was then revealed that the land grant had been approved in return for bribes, and therefore voters rejected most of the incumbents; the next legislature repealed the law and voided all subsequent transactions (even honest ones) that resulted from the Yazoo land scandal
Yazoo land scandal
The Yazoo land scandal, Yazoo fraud, Yazoo land fraud, or Yazoo land controversy was a massive fraud perpetrated from 1794 to 1803 by several Georgia governors and the state legislature. They sold large tracts of land in what is now the state of Mississippi to political insiders at very low prices...

. The Marshall Court held that the state legislature's repeal of the law was void because the sale was a binding contract, which according to Article I, Section 10, Clause I (the Contract Clause
Contract Clause
The Contract Clause appears in the United States Constitution, Article I, section 10, clause 1. It states:The Contract Clause prohibits states from enacting any law that retroactively impairs contract rights...

) of the Constitution, cannot be invalidated.  Marshall emphasized that the rescinding act would seize property from individuals who had honestly acquired it, and transfer that property to the public without any compensation.  He then expanded upon his own famous statement in Marbury about the province of the judiciary:
Based on this separation of powers
Separation of powers
The separation of powers, often imprecisely used interchangeably with the trias politica principle, is a model for the governance of a state. The model was first developed in ancient Greece and came into widespread use by the Roman Republic as part of the unmodified Constitution of the Roman Republic...

 principle, Marshall questioned whether the rescinding act would be valid even if Georgia were a completely sovereign state independent of the federal Constitution. Ultimately, though, Marshall grounded the Court's opinion in the restrictions imposed by the federal Constitution. As in Marbury, this decision of the Court in Fletcher was unanimous.

McCulloch v. Maryland


McCulloch v. Maryland
McCulloch v. Maryland
McCulloch v. Maryland, , was a landmark decision by the Supreme Court of the United States. The state of Maryland had attempted to impede operation of a branch of the Second Bank of the United States by imposing a tax on all notes of banks not chartered in Maryland...

(1819) was one of several decisions during the 1810s and 1820s involving the balance of power between the federal government and the states where Marshall affirmed federal supremacy. He established in McCulloch that states could not tax federal institutions, and upheld congressional authority to create the Second Bank of the United States
Second Bank of the United States
The Second Bank of the United States was chartered in 1816, five years after the First Bank of the United States lost its own charter. The Second Bank of the United States was initially headquartered in Carpenters' Hall, Philadelphia, the same as the First Bank, and had branches throughout the...

, even though the authority to do this was not expressly stated in the Constitution.

While Marshall's opinion in McCulloch was consistent with Marbury v. Madison, it cut the other way by affirming the constitutionality of a federal statute while preventing states from passing laws that violate federal law. The opinion includes the famous statement, "We must never forget that it is a constitution we are expounding." Marshall laid down the basic theory of implied powers under a written Constitution; intended, as he said "to endure for ages to come, and, consequently, to be adapted to the various crises of human affairs ...." Marshall envisaged a federal government which, although governed by timeless principles, possessed the powers "on which the welfare of a nation essentially depends." It would be free in its choice of means, and open to change and growth.

The Court held that the bank was authorized by the clause of the Constitution that states that Congress can implement its powers by making laws that are "necessary and proper", which Marshall said does not refer to one single way that Congress is allowed to act, but rather refers to various possible acts that implement all constitutionally established powers. Marshall famously provided the following time-honored interpretation of this clause in the Constitution:
According to The New York Times, "Marshall did not intend his words as license for Congress to do whatever it wishes." Instead, Marshall and the Court deemed the bank necessary and proper because it furthered various legitimate ends that are listed in the Constitution, such as regulating interstate commerce.

Cohens v. Virginia


Cohens v. Virginia
Cohens v. Virginia
Cohens v. Virginia, , was a United States Supreme Court decision most noted for John Marshall and the Court's assertion of its power to review state supreme court decisions in criminal law matters when the plaintiff claims that their Constitutional rights have been violated...

(1821) displayed Marshall's nationalism as he enforced the supremacy of federal law over state law, under the Supremacy Clause
Supremacy Clause
Article VI, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution, known as the Supremacy Clause, establishes the U.S. Constitution, U.S. Treaties, and Federal Statutes as "the supreme law of the land." The text decrees these to be the highest form of law in the U.S...

 of the Constitution. In this case, he established that the Federal judiciary could hear appeals from decisions of state courts in criminal cases as well as the civil cases over which the court had asserted jurisdiction in Martin v. Hunter's Lessee
Martin v. Hunter's Lessee
Martin v. Hunter's Lessee, , was a landmark United States Supreme Court case decided on March 20, 1816. It was the first case to assert ultimate Supreme Court authority over state courts in matters of federal law.-Background:...

(1816). Justices Bushrod Washington
Bushrod Washington
Bushrod Washington was a U.S. Supreme Court associate justice and the nephew of George Washington.Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, and was the son of John Augustine Washington, brother of the first president. Bushrod attended Delamere, an academy administered by the Rev....

 and Joseph Story
Joseph Story
Joseph Story was an American lawyer and jurist who served on the Supreme Court of the United States from 1811 to 1845. He is most remembered today for his opinions in Martin v. Hunter's Lessee and The Amistad, along with his magisterial Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, first...

 proved to be his strongest allies in these cases.

Like Marbury, this Cohens case was largely about the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. The State of Virginia claimed that the Court had no jurisdiction to hear appeals from a state court in a case between a state and its own citizens, even if the case involved interpretation of a federal statute. Marshall wrote that his court did have appellate jurisdiction, but then went on to affirm the decision of the Virginia Supreme Court on the merits. Marshall wrote:
In Marshall's day, the Court had not yet been given the discretion whether or not to take cases. Scholars such as Edward Hartnett contend that the Court's discretionary certiorari
Certiorari
Certiorari is a type of writ seeking judicial review, recognized in U.S., Roman, English, Philippine, and other law. Certiorari is the present passive infinitive of the Latin certiorare...

 practice undercuts the rationale that Chief Justice Marshall gave in the Cohens case for reviewing the validity of state law, which was that the Court had no choice in the matter.

The decision in Cohens demonstrated that the federal judiciary can act directly on private parties and state officials, and has the power to declare and impose on the states the Constitution and federal laws, but Marshall stressed that federal laws have limits. For example, he said, "Congress has a right to punish murder in a fort, or other place within its exclusive jurisdiction; but no general right to punish murder committed within any of the States."

In this case, the Court affirmed that the Virginia Supreme Court correctly interpreted a federal statute that had established a lottery
Lottery
A lottery is a form of gambling which involves the drawing of lots for a prize.Lottery is outlawed by some governments, while others endorse it to the extent of organizing a national or state lottery. It is common to find some degree of regulation of lottery by governments...

 in Washington D.C. Like the Jefferson administration in Marbury, the State of Virginia technically won this case even though the case set a precedent consolidating the power of the Court.

Gibbons v. Ogden


Gibbons v. Ogden
Gibbons v. Ogden
Gibbons v. Ogden, 22 U.S. 1 , was a landmark decision in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that the power to regulate interstate commerce was granted to Congress by the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. The case was argued by some of America's most admired and...

(1824) overturned a monopoly granted by the New York state legislature to certain steamships operating between New York and New Jersey. Daniel Webster
Daniel Webster
Daniel Webster was a leading American statesman and senator from Massachusetts during the period leading up to the Civil War. He first rose to regional prominence through his defense of New England shipping interests...

 argued that the Constitution, by empowering Congress to regulate interstate commerce, implied that states do not have any concurrent power to regulate interstate commerce. Chief Justice Marshall avoided that issue about the exclusivity of the federal commerce power
Dormant Commerce Clause
The "Dormant" Commerce Clause, also known as the "Negative" Commerce Clause, is a legal doctrine that courts in the United States have inferred from the Commerce Clause in Article I of the United States Constitution...

 because that issue was not necessary to decide the case. Instead, Marshall relied on an actual, existing federal statute for licensing ships, and he held that that federal law was a legitimate exercise of the congressional power to regulate interstate commerce, so the federal law superseded the state law granting the monopoly.

Webster was at that time a member of Congress, but nevertheless pressed his constitutional views on behalf of clients. After he won this case, he bragged that Marshall absorbed his arguments "as a baby takes in his mother's milk", even though Marshall had actually dismissed Webster's main argument.

In the course of his opinion in this case, Marshall began the careful work of determining what the phrase "commerce...among the several states" means in the Constitution. He stressed that one must look at whether the commerce in question has wide-ranging effects, suggesting that commerce which does "affect other states" may be interstate commerce, even if it does not cross state lines. Of course, the steamboats in this case did cross a state line, but Marshall suggested that his opinion had a broader scope than that. Indeed, Marshall's opinion in Gibbons would be cited by the Supreme Court much later when it upheld aspects of the New Deal
New Deal
The New Deal was a series of economic programs implemented in the United States between 1933 and 1936. They were passed by the U.S. Congress during the first term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The programs were Roosevelt's responses to the Great Depression, and focused on what historians call...

 in cases like Wickard v. Filburn
Wickard v. Filburn
Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 , was a U.S. Supreme Court decision that recognized the power of the federal government to regulate economic activity. A farmer, Roscoe Filburn, was growing wheat for on-farm consumption. The U.S...

in 1942. But, the opinion in Gibbons can also be read more narrowly. After all, Marshall also wrote:
The immediate impact of the historic decision in Gibbons was to end many state-granted monopolies. That in turn lowered prices and promoted free enterprise.

Other key cases


Marshall wrote several other important Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 opinions, including the following.
The Dartmouth College case
In Dartmouth College v. Woodward
Dartmouth College v. Woodward
Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 17 U.S. 518 , was a landmark United States Supreme Court case dealing with the application of the Contract Clause of the United States Constitution to private corporations...

, , the legal structure of modern corporations began to develop, when the Court held that private corporate charters are protected from state interference by the Contract Clause
Contract Clause
The Contract Clause appears in the United States Constitution, Article I, section 10, clause 1. It states:The Contract Clause prohibits states from enacting any law that retroactively impairs contract rights...

 of the Constitution.

Johnson v. M'Intosh
In Johnson v. M'Intosh
Johnson v. M'Intosh
Johnson v. M'Intosh, 21 U.S. 543 , is a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court that held that private citizens could not purchase lands from Native Americans...

, , the Court held that private American citizens could not purchase tribal lands directly from Native Americans (then called "Indians"). Instead, only the government could do so, and then private citizens could purchase from the government.

Worcester v. Georgia
In Worcester v. Georgia
Worcester v. Georgia
Worcester v. Georgia, 31 U.S. 515 , was a case in which the United States Supreme Court vacated the conviction of Samuel Worcester and held that the Georgia criminal statute that prohibited non-Indians from being present on Indian lands without a license from the state was unconstitutional.The...

, , a Georgia criminal statute, which prohibited non-Indians from being present on Indian lands without a license from the state, was held unconstitutional, because the federal government has exclusive authority in such matters. It is often said that, in response to the decision, President Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson was the seventh President of the United States . Based in frontier Tennessee, Jackson was a politician and army general who defeated the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend , and the British at the Battle of New Orleans...

 said something to the effect of: "John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!" More reputable sources recognize this as a false quotation. In fact, the ruling in Worcester ordered nothing more than that Samuel Worcester be freed; Georgia complied after several months.

Barron v. Baltimore
In Barron v. Baltimore
Barron v. Baltimore
Barron v. Mayor of Baltimore, 32 U.S. 243 established a precedent on whether the United States Bill of Rights could be applied to state governments.John Barron co-owned a profitable wharf in the Baltimore harbor...

, , the Court held that the Bill of Rights
Bill of rights
A bill of rights is a list of the most important rights of the citizens of a country. The purpose of these bills is to protect those rights against infringement. The term "bill of rights" originates from England, where it referred to the Bill of Rights 1689. Bills of rights may be entrenched or...

 was intended to apply only against the federal government, and therefore does not apply against the states. The courts have since incorporated most of the Bill of Rights with respect to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted on July 9, 1868, as one of the Reconstruction Amendments.Its Citizenship Clause provides a broad definition of citizenship that overruled the Dred Scott v...

, which was adopted 33 years after Marshall's death.

Authorship of Washington biography


Marshall greatly admired George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

, and between 1804 and 1807 published an influential five-volume biography. Marshall's Life of Washington was based on records and papers provided to him by the late president's family. The first volume was reissued in 1824 separately as A History of the American Colonies. The work reflected Marshall's Federalist principles. His revised and condensed two-volume Life of Washington was published in 1832. Historians have often praised its accuracy and well-reasoned judgments, while noting his frequent paraphrases of published sources such as William Gordon's 1801 history of the Revolution and the British Annual Register. After completing the revision to his biography of Washington, Marshall prepared an abridgment. In 1833 he wrote, "I have at length completed an abridgment of the Life of Washington for the use of schools. I have endeavored to compress it as much as possible. ... After striking out every thing which in my judgment could be properly excluded the volume will contain at least 400 pages." The Abridgment was not published until 1838, three years after Marshall died.

Other work, later life, legacy


Marshall loved his home, built in 1790, in Richmond, Virginia, and spent as much time there as possible in quiet contentment. While in Richmond he attended St. John's Church in Church Hill
Church Hill
Church Hill, also known as the St. John's Church Historic District, is an Old and Historic District in Richmond, Virginia. This district encompasses the original land plat of the city of Richmond. Church Hill is the eastern terminus of Broad Street, a major east-west thoroughfare in the Richmond...

 until 1814 when he led the movement to hire Robert Mills
Robert Mills (architect)
Robert Mills , most famously known for designing the Washington Monument, is sometimes called the first native born American to become a professional architect, though Charles Bulfinch perhaps has a clearer claim to this honor...

 as architect of Monumental Church
Monumental Church
Monumental Church is a former Episcopal Church that stands at 1224 E. Broad Street between N. 12th and College Streets in Richmond, Virginia. Designed by architect Robert Mills, it is one of America's earliest and most distinctive Greek Revival churches and is listed on the National Register of...

, which commemorated the death of 72 people in a theatre fire. The Marshall family occupied pew No. 23 at Monumental Church and entertained the Marquis de Lafayette there during his visit to Richmond in 1824
Visit of the Marquis de Lafayette to the United States (1824-25)
From July 1824 to September 1825, the last surviving French General of the Revolutionary War, the Marquis de Lafayette, made a famous tour of the 24 states in the United States...

. Marshall himself was not religious and never joined a church; he did not believe Jesus was a divine being. For approximately three months each year, he would be away in Washington for the Court's annual term; he would also be away for several weeks to serve on the circuit court in Raleigh, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Raleigh is the capital and the second largest city in the state of North Carolina as well as the seat of Wake County. Raleigh is known as the "City of Oaks" for its many oak trees. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city's 2010 population was 403,892, over an area of , making Raleigh...

.

In 1823, he became first president of the Richmond branch of the American Colonization Society
American Colonization Society
The American Colonization Society , founded in 1816, was the primary vehicle to support the "return" of free African Americans to what was considered greater freedom in Africa. It helped to found the colony of Liberia in 1821–22 as a place for freedmen...

, which was dedicated to resettling freed American slaves in Liberia
Liberia
Liberia , officially the Republic of Liberia, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Sierra Leone on the west, Guinea on the north and Côte d'Ivoire on the east. Liberia's coastline is composed of mostly mangrove forests while the more sparsely populated inland consists of forests that open...

, on the West coast of Africa. In 1828, he presided over a convention to promote internal improvements in Virginia.

In 1829, he was a delegate to the state constitutional convention, where he was again joined by fellow American statesman and loyal Virginians, James Madison
James Madison
James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and at first an opponent of, and then a key author of the United...

 and James Monroe
James Monroe
James Monroe was the fifth President of the United States . Monroe was the last president who was a Founding Father of the United States, and the last president from the Virginia dynasty and the Republican Generation...

, although all were quite old by that time (Madison was 78, Monroe 71, and Marshall 74). Marshall mainly spoke at this convention to promote the necessity of an independent judiciary.

In 1831, the 76-year old Marshall underwent an operation to remove bladder stones and recovered from it without complications. But his wife died at the end of the year and his health quickly declined from that point onward. In June 1835, he traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Philadelphia County, with which it is coterminous. The city is located in the Northeastern United States along the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers. It is the fifth-most-populous city in the United States,...

 for medical treatment, where he died on July 6 at the age of 79, having served as Chief Justice for over 34 years.

Two days before his death, he enjoined his friends to place only a plain slab over his and his wife's graves, and he wrote the simple inscription himself. His body, which was taken to Richmond, lies in Shockoe Hill Cemetery
Shockoe Hill Cemetery
The Shockoe Hill Cemetery is a historic cemetery located on Shockoe Hill in Richmond, Virginia.-History:Established in 1820, with the initial burial in 1822, Shockoe Hill Cemetery was the first city-owned municipal burial ground in Richmond. The cemetery expanded in 1833, 1850, and 1870, but now is...

 in a well kept grave.

JOHN MARSHALL

Son of Thomas and Mary Marshall

was born September 24, 1755

Intermarried with Mary Willis Ambler

the 3rd of January 1783

Departed this life

the 6th day of July 1835.



Marshall was one of the last surviving Founding Fathers
Founding Fathers of the United States
The Founding Fathers of the United States of America were political leaders and statesmen who participated in the American Revolution by signing the United States Declaration of Independence, taking part in the American Revolutionary War, establishing the United States Constitution, or by some...

; among the few statesmen of the founding generation who survived him were James Madison, Aaron Burr, and Paine Wingate
Paine Wingate
Paine Wingate was an American preacher, farmer, and statesman from Stratham, New Hampshire. He served New Hampshire in the Continental Congress and both the United States Senate and House of Representatives....

. Some of the papers of John Marshall are held by the Special Collections Research Center at the College of William & Mary.

Monuments and memorials




Marshall's home
John Marshall House
The John Marshall House is the home of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall, located in Richmond, Virginia. Marshall was appointed to the court in 1801 by John Adams and served for the rest of his life, writing such influential decisions as Marbury v. Madison and McCulloch v...

 in Richmond, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia
Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. It is an independent city and not part of any county. Richmond is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Greater Richmond area...

, has been preserved by Preservation Virginia (formerly known as the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities). It is considered to be an important landmark and museum, essential to an understanding of the Chief Justice's life and work.
The United States Bar Association commissioned sculptor William Wetmore Story
William Wetmore Story
William Wetmore Story was an American sculptor, art critic, poet and editor.-Biography:William Wetmore Story was the son of jurist Joseph Story and Sarah Waldo Story...

 to execute the statue of Marshall that now stands inside the Supreme Court on the ground floor. Another casting of the statue is located at Constitution Ave. and 4th Street in Washington D.C. and a third on the grounds of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Story's father Joseph Story
Joseph Story
Joseph Story was an American lawyer and jurist who served on the Supreme Court of the United States from 1811 to 1845. He is most remembered today for his opinions in Martin v. Hunter's Lessee and The Amistad, along with his magisterial Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, first...

 had served as an Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court with Marshall. The statue was originally dedicated in 1884.

An engraved portrait of Marshall appears on U.S. paper money on the series 1890 and 1891 treasury notes. These rare notes are in great demand by note collectors today. Also, in 1914, an engraved portrait of Marshall was used as the central vignette on series 1914 $500 federal reserve notes. These notes are also quite scarce. (William McKinley
William McKinley
William McKinley, Jr. was the 25th President of the United States . He is best known for winning fiercely fought elections, while supporting the gold standard and high tariffs; he succeeded in forging a Republican coalition that for the most part dominated national politics until the 1930s...

 replaced Marshall on the $500 bill in 1928.) Example of both notes are available for viewing on the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco website.

On September 24, 1955, the United States Postal Service
United States Postal Service
The United States Postal Service is an independent agency of the United States government responsible for providing postal service in the United States...

 issued the 40¢ Liberty Issue
Liberty Issue
The Liberty issue was a definitive series of postage stamps issued by the United States between 1954 and 1965. It offered twenty-four denominations, ranging from a half-cent issue showing Benjamin Franklin to a five dollar issue depicting Alexander Hamilton...

 postage stamp honoring Marshall with a 40 cent stamp.

Having grown from a Reformed Church academy, Marshall College, named upon the death of Chief Justice John Marshall, officially opened in 1836 with a well-established reputation. After a merger with Franklin College in 1853, the school was renamed Franklin and Marshall College. The college went on to become one of the nation's foremost liberal arts colleges.

Additionally, four law schools and one University today bear his name: The Marshall-Wythe School of Law
Marshall-Wythe School of Law
William & Mary Law School, located in Williamsburg, Virginia, is the oldest law school in the United States. William & Mary Law School is a part of the College of William & Mary, the second oldest college in the United States. The Law School maintains an enrollment of about six hundred students...

 (now William and Mary Law School at the College of William and Mary
College of William and Mary
The College of William & Mary in Virginia is a public research university located in Williamsburg, Virginia, United States...

 in Williamsburg, Virginia
Williamsburg, Virginia
Williamsburg is an independent city located on the Virginia Peninsula in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area of Virginia, USA. As of the 2010 Census, the city had an estimated population of 14,068. It is bordered by James City County and York County, and is an independent city...

; The Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
The Cleveland–Marshall College of Law is the law school of Cleveland State University, located in Cleveland, Ohio. The school traces its origins to the founding of Cleveland Law School in 1897 which, in 1946, merged with the John Marshall School of Law, founded in 1916, to become Cleveland–Marshall...

 in Cleveland, Ohio; John Marshall Law School
John Marshall Law School (Atlanta)
Atlanta's John Marshall Law School is a private, for-profit law school in Atlanta, Georgia, which was founded in 1933 and is fully accredited by the American Bar Association...

 in Atlanta, Georgia; and, The John Marshall Law School
John Marshall Law School (Chicago)
The John Marshall Law School is a law school in Chicago, Illinois, that was founded in 1899 and accredited by the American Bar Association in 1941. The school was named for the influential nineteenth century U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall....

 in Chicago, Illinois. The University that bears his name is Marshall University
Marshall University
Marshall University is a coeducational public research university in Huntington, West Virginia, United States founded in 1837, and named after John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice of the United States....

 in Huntington West Virginia. Marshall County, Illinois
Marshall County, Illinois
The median income for a household in the county was $41,576, and the median income for a family was $48,061. Males had a median income of $35,765 versus $21,452 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,065...

, Marshall County, Indiana
Marshall County, Indiana
As of the census of 2000, there were 45,128 people, 16,519 households, and 12,191 families residing in the county. The population density was 102 people per square mile . There were 18,099 housing units at an average density of 41 per square mile...

, Marshall County, Kentucky
Marshall County, Kentucky
Marshall County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of 2000, the population was 30,125. The 2007 Census Bureau population estimate was 31,258. Its county seat is Benton. It was a dry county until 2004, when residents of Calvert City voted to allow sales of liquor by the drink in...

 and Marshall County, West Virginia
Marshall County, West Virginia
As of the census of 2000, there were 35,519 people, 14,207 households, and 10,101 families residing in the county. The population density was 116 people per square mile . There were 15,814 housing units at an average density of 52 per square mile...

 are also named in his honor. A number of high schools around the nation have also been named for him.

John Marshall's birthplace in Fauquier County is a park, the John Marshall Birthplace Park, and a marker can be seen on Route 28 noting this place and event.

Marshall, Michigan
Marshall, Michigan
Marshall is a city located in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is part of the Battle Creek, Michigan Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 7,459. It is the county seat of Calhoun County...

 was named in his honor five years before Marshall's death. It was the first of dozens of communities and counties named for him. Marshall County, Kentucky was named in his honor.

John Marshall was an active Freemason and served as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Prominent family connections


Marshall was a descendant of the Randolph family of Virginia, including William Randolph I and Thomas Randolph (of Tuckahoe). Other prominent family connections include:
  • Humphrey Marshall (1760 – July 3, 1841), a United States Senator from Kentucky
    Kentucky
    The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

    , was the first cousin and brother-in-law of the chief justice.
  • Thomas Francis Marshall (June 7, 1801 – September 22, 1864) a lawyer who was elected U.S. Representative from Kentucky, was a nephew of the chief justice.
  • Thomas Jefferson
    Thomas Jefferson
    Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

     (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) primary author of the U.S. Declaration of Independence and President of the United States
    President of the United States
    The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

    , was a relative of Marshall on his mother's side. Both Marshall and Jefferson were descendants of the Virginia colonist William Randolph
    William Randolph
    William Randolph was a colonist and land owner who played an important role in the history and government of the Commonwealth of Virginia. He moved to Virginia sometime between 1669 and 1673, and married Mary Isham a few years later...

    .
  • George Marshall
    George Marshall
    George Catlett Marshall was an American military leader, Chief of Staff of the Army, Secretary of State, and the third Secretary of Defense...

     (December 31, 1880 – October 16, 1959) was an American military leader, General of the U.S. Army
    General of the Army (United States)
    General of the Army is a five-star general officer and is the second highest possible rank in the United States Army. A special rank of General of the Armies, which ranks above General of the Army, does exist but has only been conferred twice in the history of the Army...

    , Chief of Staff of the Army, Secretary of State
    United States Secretary of State
    The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

    , the third Secretary of Defense
    United States Secretary of Defense
    The Secretary of Defense is the head and chief executive officer of the Department of Defense of the United States of America. This position corresponds to what is generally known as a Defense Minister in other countries...

    , and the author of the Marshall Plan
    Marshall Plan
    The Marshall Plan was the large-scale American program to aid Europe where the United States gave monetary support to help rebuild European economies after the end of World War II in order to combat the spread of Soviet communism. The plan was in operation for four years beginning in April 1948...

    , for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
    Nobel Peace Prize
    The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...

    . He was a distant relative of the chief justice.

Primary sources

  • Brockenbrough, John W., ed. Reports of Cases Decided by the Honourable John Marshall, late Chief Justice of the United States in the Circuit Court of the United States District of Virginia and North Carolina From 1802 to 1833 Inclusive in Two Volumes, (Philadelphia, 1837) Volume 1 and Volume 2 These are Marshall's decisions in the District Court, not the Supreme Court decisions. For United States Supreme Court decisions see below under Cotton and Dillon.
  • Cotton, Joseph Peter, Jr., ed., The Constitutional Decisions of John Marshall in two volumes(1905) Vol. 1, Vol. 2 (New York and London).
  • Dillon, John M., ed., John Marshall: The Complete Constitutional Decisions (1903, Chicago)
  • Hobson, Charles F.; Perdue, Susan Holbrook; and Lovelace, Joan S., eds. The Papers of John Marshall published by University of North Carolina Press
    University of North Carolina Press
    The University of North Carolina Press , founded in 1922, is a university press that is part of the University of North Carolina....

     for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture
    Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture
    The Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture was founded in 1943 and is jointly sponsored by The College of William & Mary and The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. In 1996, the College and Colonial Williamsburg added Omohundro to the Institute's name in recognition of a generous...

    ; the standard scholarly edition; most recent volume: online guide Vol XII: Correspondence, Papers, and Selected Judicial Opinions, January 1831-July 1835, with Addendum, June 1783-January 1829. (2006) ISBN 978-0-8078-3019-2.
  • Hobson, Charles F., John Marshall: Writings, Library of America, New York, 2010 (This volume collects 196 documents written between 1779 and 1835, including Marshall’s most important judicial opinions, his influential rulings during the Aaron Burr treason trial, speeches, newspaper essays, and revealing letters to friends, fellow judges, and his beloved wife, Polly.) ISBN 978-1-59853-064-3 Table of Contents
  • Oster, John Edward, ed., The Political and Economic Doctrines of John Marshall (1914, New York)
  • Story, Joseph
    Joseph Story
    Joseph Story was an American lawyer and jurist who served on the Supreme Court of the United States from 1811 to 1845. He is most remembered today for his opinions in Martin v. Hunter's Lessee and The Amistad, along with his magisterial Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, first...

    , Memoir of the Hon. John Marshall, LL. D., Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States In Joseph Story's Miscellaneous Writings, pp 183–200. An expanded version Character, and Services of Chief Justice John Marshall A Discourse Pronounced October 15, 1835 At the Request of the Suffolk Bar in the second edition of Story's Miscellaneous Writings pp 639–697.
  • Story, Joseph
    Joseph Story
    Joseph Story was an American lawyer and jurist who served on the Supreme Court of the United States from 1811 to 1845. He is most remembered today for his opinions in Martin v. Hunter's Lessee and The Amistad, along with his magisterial Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, first...

    , ed., (1891—reprint of the 1837 edition) Writings of John Marshall, late Chief Justice of the United States, upon the Federal Constitution, at Google Books)

See also





Further reading


External links