John Marshall (September 24, 1755 – July 6, 1835) was an
American politician and the fourth Chief Justice of the United States
(1801–1835). His court opinions helped lay the basis for United
States constitutional law and many[who?] say he made the Supreme Court
United States a coequal branch of government 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 from 1799 to 1800. He was Secretary of
State under President
John Adams from 1800 to 1801 and, at the age of
45, became the last of the chief justices to be born in Colonial
The longest-serving Chief Justice and the fourth longest-serving
justice in U.S. Supreme Court history, Marshall dominated the Court
for over three decades (34 years) 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, by overturning purported laws if they violate the
constitution. Thus, Marshall cemented the position of the American
judiciary as an independent and influential branch of government.
Furthermore, Marshall's court made several important decisions
relating to federalism, 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
While many of his decisions were unpopular, 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. Marshall, along
Daniel Webster (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.
1 Early years (1755 to 1782)
2 Early political career
3 Adams administration
4 Chief Justice (1801 to 1835)
4.2 Personality, principles and leadership
4.3 Marbury v. Madison
4.4 Burr conspiracy trial
4.5 Fletcher v. Peck
4.6 McCulloch v. Maryland
4.7 Cohens v. Virginia
4.8 Gibbons v. Ogden
4.9 The Marshall Trilogy
4.10 Other key cases
5 Authorship of Washington biography
6 Later years
6.1 Last political involvement
8 Final days
9 Impact and legacy
10 Monuments and memorials
11 Family connections
12 See also
14.1 Secondary sources
14.2 Primary sources
15 Further reading
16 External links
Early years (1755 to 1782)
John Marshall was born on September 24, 1755 in a log cabin in
Germantown, a rural community on the
Virginia frontier, in what is
now Fauquier County, near Midland, to Thomas Marshall and Mary Isham
Keith, the granddaughter of politician Thomas Randolph of Tuckahoe.
Marshall was of English ancestry. The oldest of fifteen, John had
eight sisters and six brothers, and several cousins were also raised
with the family. 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". His younger brother, James Markham
Marshall, also served briefly in a newly created judgeship for the
Federal judiciary on the Circuit Court of the District of Columbia
from 1801 to 1803, and three of his brothers, Keith, William and
Charles were lawyers.
Coat of Arms of John Marshall
Marshall loved his home, built in 1790, in Richmond, Virginia, and
spent as much time there as possible in quiet contentment. For
approximately three months each year, Marshall lived in Washington
during the Court's annual term, boarding with Justice Story during his
final years at the Ringgold-Carroll House. Marshall also left Richmond
for several weeks each year to serve on the circuit court in Raleigh,
North Carolina. He also maintained the
D. S. Tavern
D. S. Tavern property in
Albemarle County, Virginia, from 1810–1813.
Marshall himself was not religious, and although his grandfather was a
priest, never formally joined a church. He did not believe Jesus was a
divine being, and in some of his opinions referred to a deist
"Creator of all things." He was an active
Freemason and served as
Grand Master of Masons in
Virginia in 1794–1795 of the Most
Worshipful Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free, and Accepted Masons of the
Commonwealth of Virginia. While in Richmond, Marshall attended St.
John's Church on
Church Hill until 1814 when he led the movement to
hire Robert Mills as architect of Monumental Church, which was near
his home and rebuilt to commemorate 72 people who died in a theater
fire. The Marshall family occupied Monumental Church's pew No. 23 and
Marquis de Lafayette
Marquis de Lafayette there during his visit to
Richmond in 1824.
Thomas Marshall was employed in
Fauquier County as a surveyor and land
agent by Lord Fairfax, which provided Marshall with a substantial
In the early 1760s, the Marshall family left Germantown and moved
about 30 miles (48 km) to Leeds Manor (so named by Lord Fairfax)
on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains. On the banks of
Goose Creek, Thomas Marshall built a wood frame house, 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.
The Marshalls called their new home "the Hollow", and the ten years
they resided there were John Marshall's formative years.
John Marshall's Birthplace Monument in Germantown, Virginia
The Hollow House
In 1773, the Marshall family moved once again. Thomas Marshall, by
then a man of substantial means, purchased an estate adjacent to North
Cobbler Mountain in Delaplane. The new farm was located adjacent to
the main stage road (now US 17) between Salem (the modern day
village of Marshall, Virginia) and Delaplane. When John was 17, 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, James Madison, 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
John Marshall lived his later life in Richmond,
Virginia, and Washington D.C., he kept his
Fauquier County property,
making substantial improvements to the house until he transferred the
property as a wedding present to his eldest son Thomas in 1809.
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, the ancient Roman poet Horace, and the English writers
Alexander Pope, John Dryden, John Milton, and William Shakespeare. 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 and some of his
There being no formal school in
Fauquier 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, 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
The Marshalls had long before decided that John was to be a lawyer.
Commentaries on the Laws of England
Commentaries on the Laws of England 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 during the American
Revolutionary War and was friends with George Washington. He served
first as a lieutenant in the
Culpeper Minutemen 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 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 (1777–1778). After his time in the Army, he read
law under the famous Chancellor
George Wythe at the College of William
and Mary, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and was admitted to the Bar
in 1780. He was in private practice in
Fauquier County before entering
Early political career
In 1782, Marshall won a seat in the
Virginia House of Delegates, in
which he served until 1789 and again from 1795 to 1796. The Virginia
General Assembly 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
In 1788, Marshall was selected as a delegate to the Virginia
convention responsible for ratifying or rejecting the United States
Constitution, which had been proposed by the
Philadelphia Convention a
year earlier. Together with
James Madison and Edmund Randolph,
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. Ultimately, the convention
approved the Constitution by a vote of 89–79. Marshall identified
with the new
Federalist Party (which supported a strong national
government and commercial interests), and opposed Jefferson's
Republican Party (which advocated states' rights and idealized the
yeoman farmer and the French Revolution).
John Marshall's House in Richmond, Virginia
Meanwhile, Marshall's private law practice continued to flourish. He
successfully represented the heirs of Lord Fairfax in Hite v. Fairfax
(1786), an important
Virginia Supreme Court case involving a large
tract of land in the
Northern Neck of Virginia. In 1796, he appeared
United States Supreme Court in another important case, Ware
v. Hylton, 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 in combination with the
Supremacy Clause of the Constitution
required the collection of such debts.
Henry Flanders in his biography of Marshall remarked that Marshall's
Ware v. Hylton
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
In 1795, Marshall declined Washington's offer of Attorney General of
United States and, in 1796, declined to serve as minister to
In 1797, Marshall accepted when President
John Adams appointed him to
a three-member commission to represent the
United States to negotiate
France which, during the midst of its Revolutionary Wars, had
seized neutral American merchant vessels. This had prompted the
United States to appropriate funds to equip and man three
The other members of this commission were Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
and Elbridge Gerry. However, when the envoys arrived in October 1797,
they were kept waiting for several days, and then granted only a
15-minute meeting with French Foreign Minister Talleyrand. After this,
the diplomats were met by three of Talleyrand's agents. Each refused
to conduct diplomatic negotiations unless the
United States paid
enormous bribes, one to Talleyrand personally, and another to the
Republic of France. The Americans refused to negotiate on such
terms. Marshall and Pinckney returned home, while Gerry
remained. This diplomatic scandal became known as the XYZ Affair,
inflaming anti-French opinion in the United States. Marshall
arrived in New York on June 17. His handling of the affair, as well as
public resentment toward the French, made him popular with the
American public. He opposed the Alien and Sedition Acts, enacted
by the Federalists in response to the crisis.
In 1798, Marshall declined a Supreme Court appointment, recommending
Bushrod Washington, 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. Although his
congressional district (which included the city of Richmond) favored
the Democratic-Republican Party, Marshall won the race, in part due to
his conduct during the
XYZ Affair and in part due to the support of
Patrick Henry. 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
United States from extraditing one of its citizens.
On May 7, 1800, President Adams nominated Congressman Marshall as
Secretary of War. However, on May 12, Adams withdrew the nomination,
instead naming him Secretary of State, as a replacement for Timothy
Pickering. Confirmed by the
United States Senate 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
France and brought peace to the nation.
Elected as a delegate to the
Virginia Constitutional Convention of
John Marshall advanced his view that the electorate
should be expanded in
Virginia by the provision that any white male
who had served in the War of 1812 or who would serve in the militia in
the future defense of the country deserved the right to vote.
Chief Justice (1801 to 1835)
Marshall served as Chief Justice during the administrations of six
Presidents: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe,
John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. He remained a stalwart advocate
Federalism and a nemesis of the Jeffersonian school of government
throughout its heyday. He participated in over 1000 decisions, writing
519 of the opinions himself. While Chief Justice, he was
elected a Fellow of the
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Academy of Arts and Sciences in
1804. Marshall was also elected a member of the American
Antiquarian Society in 1813.
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. According to the Oyez Project,
Marshall's impact on constitutional law is without peer, and his
imprint on the Court's jurisprudence remains indelible.
Marshall's Chief Justice nomination
Marshall was thrust into the office of Chief Justice in the wake of
the presidential election of 1800. 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 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 (upon the next
vacancy in the court) so as to deny Jefferson an appointment until two
vacancies occurred. As the incumbent Chief Justice Oliver
Ellsworth was in poor health, Adams first offered the seat to ex-Chief
Justice John Jay, 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. According to
New Jersey Senator Jonathan
Dayton, 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."
Personality, principles and leadership
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 opinion)
as was done in the
Virginia Supreme Court of his day and is still done
today in the United Kingdom and Australia. 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. Marshall also
got rid of the tradition that U.S. Supreme Court justices had
inherited from the British of wearing ornate powdered wigs and red
robes with ermine trim.
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 in
1827—Marshall set forth his general principles of constitutional
To say that the intention of the instrument must prevail; that this
intention must be collected from its words; that its words are to be
understood in that sense in which they are generally used by those for
whom the instrument was intended; that its provisions are neither to
be restricted into insignificance, nor extended to objects not
comprehended in them, nor contemplated by its framers—is to repeat
what has been already said more at large, and is all that can be
In his Ogden dissent, Marshall also adopted a definition of the word
"law" that would later be denounced by the individualist anarchist
Lysander Spooner: "a rule of civil conduct prescribed by the supreme
power in a State." 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
Steel engraving of
John Marshall by Alonzo Chappel
Marshall had charm, humor, a quick intelligence, and the ability to
bring men together. His sincerity and presence commanded attention.
His opinions were workmanlike and 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 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 34 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 attentive when listening to oral arguments and
often persuaded other justices to adopt 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 Joseph Story, 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."
Marbury v. Madison
Marbury v. Madison
Marbury v. Madison (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 on the grounds that it violated
the Constitution by attempting to expand the original jurisdiction 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. 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 took the position that the
Court could not give him a mandamus (i.e. an order) even if the Court
In the case of Marbury and Madison, the federal judges declared that
commissions, signed and sealed by the President, were valid, although
not delivered. I deemed delivery essential to complete a deed, which,
as long as it remains in the hands of the party, is as yet no deed, it
is in posse only, but not in esse, and I withheld delivery of the
commissions. They cannot issue a mandamus to the President or
legislature, or to any of their officers.
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."
Marbury v. Madison
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:
It is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Department to
say what the law is. Those who apply the rule to particular cases
must, of necessity, expound and interpret that rule. If two laws
conflict with each other, the Courts must decide on the operation of
The Constitution does not explicitly give judicial review 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;
Marshall made their goals operational.
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
Marbury v. Madison
Marbury v. Madison on the constitution:
Certainly all those who have framed written constitutions contemplate
them as forming the fundamental and paramount law of the nation, and
consequently the theory of every such government must be, that an act
of the legislature repugnant to the Constitution is void.
Burr conspiracy trial
The Burr trial (1807) was presided over by Marshall together with
Judge Cyrus Griffin. This was the great state trial of former Vice
President Aaron Burr, who was charged with treason and high
misdemeanor. 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", 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 (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. 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) 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:
It is the peculiar province of the legislature to prescribe general
rules for the government of society; the application of those rules to
individuals in society would seem to be the duty of other departments.
Based on this separation of powers 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
The text of the
McCulloch v. Maryland
McCulloch v. Maryland decision, handed down March 6,
1819, as recorded in the minutes of the US Supreme Court
McCulloch v. Maryland
McCulloch v. 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, 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
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.
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
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Virginia (1821) displayed Marshall's nationalism as he
enforced the supremacy of federal law over state law, under the
Constitution's Supremacy Clause. 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 (1816). Justices
Bushrod Washington and
Joseph Story proved to be his strongest allies
in these cases.
Like Marbury, this Cohens case was largely about the Supreme Court's
jurisdiction. 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:
We have no more right to decline the exercise of jurisdiction which is
given, than to usurp that which is not given. The one or the other
would be treason to the constitution.
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 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
Washington D.C. Like the Jefferson administration in Marbury, the
Virginia technically won this case even though the case set a
precedent consolidating the Court's power.
Gibbons v. Ogden
Gibbons v. Ogden
Gibbons v. Ogden (1824) overturned a monopoly granted by the New York
state legislature to certain steamships operating between New York and
Daniel Webster 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 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
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 in cases like
Wickard v. Filburn
Wickard v. Filburn in
1942. But, the opinion in Gibbons can also be read more narrowly.
After all, Marshall also wrote:
The enumeration presupposes something not enumerated; and that
something, if we regard the language or the subject of the sentence,
must be the exclusively internal commerce of a state.....Inspection
laws, quarantine laws, health laws of every description, as well as
laws for regulating the internal commerce of a State, and those which
respect turnpike roads, ferries, &c., are....subject to State
legislation. If the legislative power of the Union can reach them, it
must be for national purposes; it must be where the power is expressly
given for a special purpose, or is clearly incidental to some power
which is expressly given.
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.
The Marshall Trilogy
Under Marshall's leadership and pen, the Supreme Court established the
foundational framework for relations between the
United States and
indigenous American tribes in the cases
Johnson v. M'Intosh
Johnson v. M'Intosh (1823),
Cherokee Nation v. Georgia
Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (1831), and
Worcester v. Georgia
Worcester v. Georgia (1832).
The first case asserted a doctrine of federal primacy in relations
with Indian tribes, resolving a land dispute in favor of the party who
had obtained his land grant from the federal government over a claim
to the land established by having purchased it directly from the
tribe. The second case refused to recognize indigenous tribes as
foreign nations, holding instead that they were "domestic dependent
nation[s]" whose relationship with the
United States was comparable to
that of a "ward to a guardian"; however, Marshall did recognize and
acknowledge the inherent right of each tribe to sovereignty on their
The final case again upheld tribal sovereignty and reasserted federal
supremacy with respect to tribal affairs by protecting tribal
sovereignty from incursions by the states, holding that the laws of a
state have no force on tribal lands within that state's geographical
boundaries. The case resulted from a criminal prosecution of a
preacher for entering Indian lands in violation of Georgia statute. It
is often reported that in response to the Worcester decision President
Andrew Jackson declared "
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
Other key cases
Marshall wrote several other important Supreme Court opinions,
including the following.
The Dartmouth College case
In Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 17 U.S. 518 (1819), the legal
structure of modern corporations began to develop, when the Court held
that private corporate charters are protected from state interference
Contract Clause of the Constitution.
Barron v. Baltimore
In Barron v. Baltimore, 32 U.S. 243 (1833), the Court held that the
Bill of Rights 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, which was adopted 33 years after Marshall's death.
Mima Queen v. John Hepburn
In Mima Queen v. John Hepburn the majority opinion written by Marshall
argued against the use of hearsay evidence stating "That hearsay
evidence is incompetent to establish any specific fact, which fact is
in its nature susceptible of being proved by witnesses who speak from
their own knowledge."
Worcester v. Georgia
In Worcester v. Georgia, 31 U.S. 515 (1832), the Court laid out the
foundations of tribal sovereignty and established the relations
between the US and the Native American nations. It vacated the
conviction of Samuel Worcester for being on tribal lands without a
license from the Georgia, finding the state requirement to do so
violated the Constitution.
Authorship of Washington biography
Marshall greatly admired George Washington, 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.
Last political involvement
In 1823–1824, although Marshall had always been loyal to the
now-defunct Federalist Party, he was asked to re-enter the political
arena as a
Democratic-Republican Party candidate for the Office of
U.S. President in time for the 1824 election. He turned this offer
In 1828, Marshall presided over a convention to promote internal
improvements in Virginia. The following year, Marshall was a delegate
to the state constitutional convention of 1829–30, where he was
again joined by fellow American statesman and loyal Virginians, James
Madison and James Monroe, although all were quite old by that time
(Madison was 78, Monroe 71, and Marshall 74). Although proposals to
reduce the power of the Tidewater region's slave-owning aristocrats
compared to growing western population proved controversial,
Marshall mainly spoke to promote the necessity of an independent
John Marshall and George Wythe
Although Marshall was personally opposed to slavery, he consistently
failed to put his beliefs into action, as he feared an upset to the
societal order of the United States. As a young attorney, he
Virginia abolitionist Robert Pleasants, who
sought to enforce his father's will and free slaves, although such was
illegal at the time his late father had written the will. Although
Marshall won before Chancellor
George Wythe and the specific slaves
were ultimately freed, in the final opinions in that case, Virginia
Spencer Roane (who would become Marshall's rival) began
enunciating the rationale for slaveholding as a property right,
contrary to the lofty principles of natural law enunciated by Judge
Wythe (and his former pupil
Thomas Jefferson in the U.S. Declaration
of Independence). Marshall's good friend John Wickham was another of
the architects of the legal rationales for slaveholding which
transformed Richmond into a leading slave-trading center.
In 1823, Marshall became the first president of the Richmond branch of
the American Colonization Society, which was dedicated to resettling
freed American slaves in Liberia, on the West coast of Africa. In
1825, as Chief Justice, Marshall wrote an opinion in the case of the
captured slave ship Antelope, in which he acknowledged that slavery
was against natural law, but upheld the continued enslavement of
approximately 1/3 of the ship's cargo (although the remainder were to
be sent to Liberia). In his last will and testament, Marshall gave
his elderly manservant the choice either of freedom and travel to
Liberia, or continued enslavement under his choice of Marshall's
Research by historian
Paul Finkelman reveals that Marshall owned
hundreds of slaves, contrary to the conventional belief that he owned
only a dozen or so slaves. Marshall also engaged in the buying and
selling of slaves throughout his life. As the then Ariel F.
Sallows Chair in Human Rights, Finkelman first presented his research
at the College of Law, University of Saskatchewan. Finkelman's
research was published in his book, Supreme Injustice: Slavery in the
Nation's Highest Court, from the Harvard University Press.
Finkelman suggests that Marshall's substantial slave holdings may have
influenced him to render judicial decisions in favor of slave
Among the few Founding Fathers who lived longer than Marshall were:
James Madison, Aaron Burr, and Paine Wingate. Marshall was also the
last surviving Cabinet member from the
John Adams administration.
In 1831, the 76-year-old Marshall traveled to Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, and underwent an operation to remove bladder stones. He
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, Marshall again traveled to
Philadelphia 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, Marshall enjoined his friends to place only
a plain slab over his and his wife's graves, and wrote the simple
inscription himself. His body, which was taken to Richmond, lies in
Shockoe Hill Cemetery. The memorial inscription on his tombstone
reads as follows: "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."
Impact and legacy
The three previous chief justices (John Jay, John Rutledge, and Oliver
Ellsworth) 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 what many would say is a third co-equal
branch of the U.S. government. With his associate justices, especially
Joseph Story, William Johnson, and Bushrod Washington, Marshall's
Court brought to life the constitutional standards of the new
Marshall used Federalist approaches to build a strong federal
government over the opposition of the Jeffersonian Republicans, 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 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.
Many commentators have written concerning Marshall's contributions to
the theory and practice of judicial review. Among his strongest
followers in the European tradition has been
Hans Kelsen for the
inclusion of the principle of judicial review in the constitutions of
both Czechoslovakia and Austria. In her recent book on Hans Kelsen,
Sandrine Baume identified
John Hart Ely as a significant defender
of the "compatibility of judicial review with the very principles of
democracy." Baume identified
John Hart Ely alongside Dworkin as the
foremost defenders of Marshall's principle in recent years, while the
opposition to this principle of "compatibility" were identified as
Bruce Ackerman and Jeremy Waldron. In contrast to Waldron and
Ackerman, Ely and Dworkin were long-time advocates of the principle of
defending the Constitution upon the lines of support they saw as
strongly associated with enhanced versions of judicial review in the
The University of
Virginia recently placed many volumes of Marshall's
papers online as a searchable digital edition. The Library of
Congress maintains the
John Marshall papers which Senator Albert
Beveridge used while compiling his biography of the chief justice a
century ago. The
Special Collections Research Center at the
College of William & Mary holds other
John Marshall papers in its
Monuments and memorials
by William Wetmore Story
Marshall's home in Richmond, Virginia, has been preserved by
Virginia (formerly known as the Association for the
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
William Wetmore Story
William Wetmore 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
Philadelphia Museum of Art. Story's father
Joseph Story had served
as an Associate Justice of 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 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. Marshall was also featured on a
commemorative silver dollar in 2005.
Marshall on the 1890 $20 Treasury Note, one of 53 people depicted on
United States banknotes
John Marshall on a Postal Issue of 1894
On September 24, 1955, the
United States Postal Service issued the
Liberty Issue postage stamp honoring Marshall with a 40 cent
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
Additionally, four law schools and at least two colleges today bear
his name: The
Marshall-Wythe School of Law
Marshall-Wythe School of Law (now William and Mary Law
School at the
College of William and Mary
College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia;
Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in Cleveland, Ohio; John
Marshall Law School in Atlanta, Georgia; and, The
John Marshall Law
School in Chicago, Illinois. The colleges that bear his name are
Franklin and Marshall College
Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Marshall
University in Huntington, West Virginia. Marshall County, Illinois,
Marshall County, Indiana, Marshall County, Kentucky, and Marshall
County, West Virginia, 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. North Marshall Mountain 38°46′34″N
78°12′11″W / 38.776°N 78.203°W / 38.776; -78.203
and South Marshall Mountain 38°46′19″N 78°13′12″W /
38.772°N 78.220°W / 38.772; -78.220 in Shenandoah
National Park are named after him. Playing chess was
"a favorite pastime" of Chief Justice Marshall. A sculpture, The Chess
Players is located near a statue of the Chief Justice in John Marshall
Park in Washington, DC.
Marshall, Michigan, 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
Virginia State Route 55, from Front Royal, Virginia, to Gainesville,
Virginia, is named "
John Marshall Highway" in Marshall's honor.
, as is the Unincorporated Town of Marshall, Virginia.
Marshall was a descendant of the Randolph family of Virginia,
William Randolph I
William Randolph I and Thomas Randolph (of
Tuckahoe). The family's genealogy was published in
His wife Mary (Polly) Willis Ambler Marshall delivered 10 children,
but lost four in childhood. Survivors included:
Thomas Marshall (1781–1835) (the only son sent to Princeton
Jaquelin Ambler Marshall (1787–1852)
Mary Marshall Harvie (1795–1841), her father's favorite, remained in
Richmond after marrying future Maj. General Jaquelin Burwell
Harvie, son of Col. John Harvie Jr.
John James Marshall (1798–1833)
James Keith Marshall (1800–1862),
Virginia delegate 1839–1841
Edward Carrington Marshall
Edward Carrington Marshall (1805–1882), the Marshalls' youngest son
and the only one to actually graduate from Harvard University, became
Virginia farmer, delegate (1834–38) and Manassas Gap Railroad
Prominent family descendants and relations include:
Genealogical Chart of the Marshall Family, showing near center, right,
at 50.1 "
John Marshall Ch. J."
Humphrey Marshall (1760–1841), a
United States Senator from
Kentucky, was the first cousin and brother-in-law of the chief
Thomas Francis Marshall
Thomas Francis Marshall (1801–1864) a lawyer who was elected U.S.
Representative from Kentucky, was a nephew of the chief
Charles Marshall (1830–1902), great-nephew to
John Marshall and
colonel in the Confederate Army, served as an aide de camp to Robert
E. Lee when the latter commanded the Army of Northern
the Civil War.
Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) primary author of the U.S. Declaration
of Independence and President of the United States, was a relative of
Marshall on his mother's side. Both Marshall and Jefferson were
descendants of the
Virginia colonist William Randolph.
George C. Marshall (1880–1959) was an American military leader,
General of the U.S. Army, Chief of Staff of the Army, Secretary of
State, the third Secretary of Defense, and the author of the Marshall
Plan, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He was a distant
relative of the chief justice.
Virginia Ratification Convention
Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1829-1830
List of Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States
List of places and things named for John Marshall
United States Chief Justices by time in office
List of U.S. Supreme Court Justices by time in office
United States Supreme Court cases during the Marshall Court
United States Constitution, establishment of Judicial Review
^ Charles F. Hobson, The Great Chief Justice:
John Marshall and the
Rule of Law (2000) p. 121
^ a b Jean Edward Smith, John Marshall: Definer of a Nation (1998) p.
^ See here Archived March 5, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. for maps of
where the Marshall land was located within Germantown. Cf.
^ Connelley, William Elsey; Coulter, E.M. (1922). "Capt. Pendleton
Farmer De Weese Keith". In Kerr, Charles. History of Kentucky. III.
New York: The American Historical Society. p. 122.
^ The Life of John Marshall, Volume 1 By Albert Jeremiah Beveridge pp.
^ a b Jefferson's mother and Marshall's maternal grandmother were
first cousins, because their fathers were both sons of William
Randolph and Mary Isham. See Beveridge, Albert. The Life of John
Marshall: Frontiersman, Soldier Lawmaker (Beard Books 2000).
^ Quoted in Baker (1972), p. 4 and Stites (1981), p. 7.
John Marshall House, Richmond, Virginia". Archived from the
original on October 13, 2005.
^ "National Park Service, Marshall's Richmond home".
^ a b National Park Service, "The Great Chief Justice" at Home,
Teaching with Historic Places (TwHP) lesson plan
^ Clarence J. Elder & Margaret Pearson Welsh (August 1983).
"National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: D. S.
^ Smith. "John Marshall": 36, 406. .
^ Tignor, Thomas A. The Greatest and Best: Brother
John Marshall at
Archived January 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. masonicworld.com.
^ Smith, Jean Edward (1998). John Marshall: Definer of a Nation.
Macmillan. pp. 26–27. ISBN 978-0-8050-5510-8.
^ Oak Hill, Fauquier County, National Park Service, Department of the
^ Jean Edward Smith, John Marshall: Definer of a Nation (1998) p. 35
^ Smith, John Marshall: Definer of a Nation (1998) p. 22
John Marshall at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a
public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
^ a b "Life and Legacy", The
John Marshall Foundation.
^ Stites (1981), pp. 11–65.
^ Smith, John Marshall: Definer of a Nation (1998) pp. 75–82
^ Smith, John Marshall: Definer of a Nation (1998) p. 105
John Marshall (1998) pp. 118–20
^ Smith, John Marshall: Definer of a Nation (1998) p. 157
^ a b Currie, David. The Constitution in the Supreme Court: The First
Hundred Years, 1789–1888, p. 136 (Univ. of Chicago 1992).
^ Flanders, Henry. The Life of John Marshall, pp. 30–31, 38.
Philadelphia, T. & J. W. Johnson & Co., 1905.
^ Alexander James Dallas, Frederick Charles Brightly (March 15, 2018).
"Reports of Cases Ruled and Adjudged in the Several Courts of the
United ..." Banks Law Pub. Co. – via Internet Archive.
^ McCullough 2001, pp. 486–87.
^ McCullough 2001, p. 491.
^ a b McCullough 2001, p. 495.
^ McCullough 2001, pp. 495–96.
^ McCullough 2001, p. 502.
^ McCullough 2001, p. 503.
^ McCullough 2001, p. 506.
^ a b "Ariens, Michael. "John Marshall."". Archived from the original
on September 20, 2006.
^ Smith, John Marshall: Definer of a Nation (1998) pp. 258–59
^ Smith, John Marshall: Definer of a Nation (1998) pp. 268–86
^ Shade, William G., Democratizing the Old Dominion:
Virginia and the
Second Party System, 1824–1861. 1996 ISBN 978-0-8139-1654-5,
^ John Edward Oster, The political and economic doctrines of John
Marshall (2006) p. 348
^ Paul Johnson, A History of the American People, p. 237.
^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter M" (PDF). American Academy of
Arts and Sciences. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
^ http://www.americanantiquarian.org/memberlistm American Antiquarian
Society Members List
John Marshall at Supreme Court Historical Society.
^ Oyez Project, Supreme Court media, John Marshall.
^ Stites (1981), pp. 77–80.
John Jay to President John Adams, Jan. 2, 1801, in 4 The
Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, (Henry P. Johnson ed.,
1893)". Archived from the original on 2010-10-18.
^ Robarge, David (2000). A chief justice's progress: John Marshall
Virginia to the Supreme Court. Greenwood
Publishing. p. xvi.
^ Quoted in Stites (1981), p. 80.
^ Smith, John Marshall: Definer of a Nation (1998) p. 16
^ The Marshall Court, 1801–1835 Archived May 5, 2009, at the Wayback
Machine., Supreme Court Historical Society.
^ FindLaw Supreme Court Center:
John Marshall Archived November 21,
2009, at the Wayback Machine.
^ Currie, David (1992). The Constitution in the Supreme Court: The
First Hundred Years, 1789–1888. Univ. of Chicago. pp. 152–55.
ISBN 978-0-226-13109-2. .
^ Marshall, joined by Associate Justices
Gabriel Duvall and Joseph
When its existence as law is denied, that existence cannot be proved
by showing what are the qualities of a law. Law has been defined by a
writer, whose definitions especially have been the theme of almost
universal panegyric, 'To be a rule of civil conduct prescribed by the
supreme power in a State.'
Ogden v. Saunders, 25 U.S. 213, 347 (1827).
^ Spooner, Lysander (2008). Let's Abolish Government. Ludwig von Mises
Institute. p. 87. ISBN 1-122-82097-6. This definition is an
utterly false one. It denies all the natural rights of the people; and
is resorted to only by usurpers and tyrants, to justify their
crimes....he gives this miserable definition, which he picked up
somewhere—out of the legal filth in which he wallowed....
^ George Gibbs, Memoirs of the Administrations of Washington and John
Adams, (1846), vol. II, p. 350.
^ Fox, John. "Expanding Democracy, Biographies of the Robes: John
Marshall". Public Broadcasting Service .
John Marshall pp. 351–52, 422, 506
^ Albert Jeremiah Beveridge, The life of John Marshall: Volume 4
(1919) p. 94
^ Charles F. Hobson, The Great Chief Justice:
John Marshall and the
Rule of Law (1996) pp. 15–16, 119–23; the statement to Story is on
^ G. Edward White, The
Marshall Court and Cultural Change: 1815–1835
(abridged ed. 1991) pp. 157–200
^ A reliable statement of the quote was recounted by Theophilus
Parsons, a law professor who knew Marshall personally. Parsons,
"Distinguished Lawyers," Albany Law Journal Aug. 20, 1870, pp.
126–27 online. Historian Edward Corwin garbled the quote to: "Now
Story, that is the law; you find the precedents for it," and that
incorrect version has been repeated. Edward Corwin,
John Marshall and
the Constitution: a chronicle of the Supreme Court (1919) p. 119.
^ a b "Jefferson, Thomas. Letter to Spencer Roane".
^ Marbury v. Madison. Wikisource.
^ Gordon S. Wood, "Judicial Review in the Era of the Founding" in Is
the Supreme Court the guardian of the Constitution? ed by Robert A.
Licht (1993) pp. 153–66
^ Coffman, Steve (2012). Words of the Founding Fathers. North
Carolina: McFarland. p. 184. ISBN 978-0-7864-5862-2.
^ "Linder, Doug. "The
Treason Trial of Aaron Burr."". Archived from
the original on February 17, 2006.
^ Burns, Arnold and Markman, Stephen. "Understanding Separation of
Powers[permanent dead link]", Pace Law Review, 575, 589 (1987-01-01).
^ Edward Samuel Corwin,
John Marshall and the Constitution: a
chronicle of the Supreme Court (1919) p. 133
^ a b The New York Times Guide to Essential Knowledge: A Desk
Reference for the Curious Mind. MacMillan. 2007. p. 661.
^ Before the
Evarts Act in 1891, the cases that could reach the
Supreme Court were heard as a matter of right, meaning that the Court
was required to issue a decision in each of those cases. See Russel R.
Wheeler & Cynthia Harrison, Fed. Judicial Ctr., Creating the
Federal Judicial System 17–18 (3d ed. 2005).
^ Hartnett, Edward. "Questioning Certiorari: Some Reflections
Seventy-Five Years After the Judges' Bill", Columbia Law Review,
Volume 100 (November 2000).
^ a b c Hall, Kermit and John, Patrick. The pursuit of justice:
Supreme Court decisions that shaped America, pp. 29–36 (Oxford
University Press 2006).
^ Virelli, Louis and Leibowitz, David. "'
Federalism Whether They Want
It Or Not': The New Commerce Clause Doctrine And the Future of Federal
Civil Rights Legislation After
United States v. Morrison", University
of Pennsylvania Journal Constitutional Law, Volume 3, p. 926 (2001).
^ Boller, Paul F.; John H. George (1989). They Never Said It: A Book
of False Quotes, Misquotes, & False Attributions. New York, NY:
Oxford University Press. p. 53.
^ "O Say Can You See: Early Washington, D.C., Law & Family".
^ LCCN 10-16751
^ A History of the American Colonies.
^ Marshall, John; Widger, David, ed., Life of Washington (Document No.
28859 – Release Date 2009-05-18) at Project Gutenberg. Also see Vol
1. Vol 2.
^ Foran, William A (October 1937). "
John Marshall as a Historian".
American Historical Review. 43 (1): 51–64. doi:10.2307/1840187.
JSTOR 1840187. .
^ "Note". Online Library of Liberty .
^ Marshall, John. "Abridgment". Cary & Lea.
Virginia Constitution". www.wvculture.org.
^ Taylor, Olive A. "BLACKS AND THE CONSTITUTION (II) CHIEF JUSTICE
JOHN MARSHALL". washingtonpost.com. The Washington Post. Retrieved 2
^ Bryant, Jonathan M., Dark Places of the Earth: The Voyage of the
Slave Ship Antelope (Liveright, 2015) pp. 227–239.
^ Last Will and Testament, partial transcribed manuscript at Library
of Virginia, original having been lost during the Richmond fire set
during the Confederate retreat, but portions having been transcribed
during an Alexandria
Virginia court case.
^ a b c CollegeOfLawUsask (November 21, 2016). "Ariel Sallows Lecture
presented by Paul Finkelman" – via YouTube.
^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on April 2,
2017. Retrieved 2017-04-02.
^ "Supreme Injustice —
Paul Finkelman - Harvard University Press".
^ Smith. "John Marshall": 523.
^ Christensen, George A (19 Feb 2008). "Here Lies the Supreme Court
Revisited: Gravesites of the Justices". Journal of Supreme Court
History. University of Alabama: Supreme Court Historical Society. 33
(1): 17–41. doi:10.1111/j.1540-5818.2008.00177.x. .
^ R. Kent Newmyer,
John Marshall and the Heroic Age of the Supreme
Court (2007) p. 251
^ Baume, Sandrine (2011).
Hans Kelsen and the Case for Democracy, ECPR
Press, pp. 53–54.
^ Ackerman, Bruce (1991). We the People.
^ Waldron, Jeremy (2006). "The Core of the case against judicial
review," The Yale Law Review, 2006, Vol. 115, pp. 1346–406.
^ "The Papers of
John Marshall Digital Edition".
^ Beveridge, Albert J. (Albert Jeremiah). "Albert Jeremiah Beveridge
John Marshall papers, 1776-1844".
John Marshall Papers".
Special Collections Research Center, Earl
Gregg Swem Library, College of William & Mary. Retrieved 4
^ a b Waite, Morrison Remick; Rawle, William Henry; Association,
Philadelphia Bar (1884). Exercises at the ceremony of unveiling the
statue of John by Morrison Remick Waite, William Henry Rawle,
Philadelphia Bar Association. pp. 1, 3, 5, 9, 23–29.
^ "Pictures of large size Federal Reserve Notes featuring John
Marshall, provided by the Federal Reserve Bank of San
^ Pictures of US Treasury Notes featuring John Marshall, provided by
the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
^ "North Marshall". Peakbagger.com. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
^ "South Marshall". Peakbagger.com. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
^ Goode, James M; Seferlis, Clift A (2008). Washington
sculpture : a cultural history of outdoor sculpture in the
nation's capital. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
ISBN 9780801888106. Retrieved 2013-03-23.
^ "VA 55". www.vahighways.com.
^ Page, Richard Channing Moore (1893). "Randolph Family". Genealogy of
the Page Family in
Virginia (2 ed.). New York: Press of the Publishers
Printing Co. pp. 249–72.
^ Glenn, Thomas Allen, ed. (1898). "The Randolphs: Randolph
Genealogy". Some Colonial Mansions: And Those Who Lived In Them :
With Genealogies Of The Various Families Mentioned. 1. Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania: Henry T. Coates & Company. pp. 430–59.
^ Paxton, W. M. (William McClung) (March 15, 1885). "The Marshall
family, or A genealogical chart of the descendants of John Marshall
and Elizabeth Markham, his wife, sketches of individuals and notices
of families connected with them". Cincinnati, R. Clarke & co. –
via Internet Archive.
^ Albert Beveridge, Life of
John Marshall pp. 72–73
^ (in "Genealogical Chart of the Marshall Family" on this page, just
right of "
John Marshall Ch. J.")
^ "Marshall, Thomas Francis". Biographical Directory of the United
^ Biographical Cyclopedia, p. 271
Abraham, Henry J. (1992). Justices and Presidents: A Political History
of Appointments to the Supreme Court (3rd ed.). New York: Oxford
University Press. ISBN 0-19-506557-3.
Baker, Leonard, (1974) John Marshall: A Life in Law (New York:
Macmillan). KF8745 M3 B3.
Beveridge, Albert J. The Life of John Marshall, in 4 volumes (Boston:
Houghton Mifflin Co., 1919), winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Volume I,
Volume II, Volume III and Volume IV at Internet Archive.
Corwin, Edward W., (1919)
John Marshall and the Constitution: A
Chronicle of the Supreme Court, online Edition at Project Gutenberg
Frank, John P. (1995). Friedman, Leon; Israel, Fred L., eds. The
Justices of the
United States Supreme Court: Their Lives and Major
Opinions. Chelsea House Publishers.
Graber, Mark A (1998). "Federalist or Friends of Adams: The Marshall
Court and Party Politics". Studies in American Political Development.
12 (2): 229–66. doi:10.1017/s0898588x98001539.
Hobson, Charles. The Great Chief Justice:
John Marshall and the Rule
of Law (University Press of Kansas, 1996).
Johnson, Herbert A. "Chief Justice
John Marshall (1801–1835),"
Journal of Supreme Court History 1998 (1): 3–20, summary of major
Johnson, Herbert Alan, "John Marshall" in Leon Friedman and Fred L.
Israel, eds. The Justices of the
United States Supreme Court: Their
Lives and Major Opinions – Vol. 1 (1997) pp. 180–200.
Johnson, Herbert A. The Chief Justiceship of
John Marshall from 1801
to 1835. University of South Carolina Press, 1998. 352
pp. ISBN 978-1-57003-121-2
Lossing, Benson John; William Barrit (December 21, 2005) . Our
countrymen, or, Brief memoirs of eminent Americans. Illustrated by one
hundred and three portraits. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Scholarly Publishing
Office, University of Michigan Library. ISBN 1-4255-4394-4.
Martin, Fenton S.; Goehlert, Robert U. (1990). The U.S. Supreme Court:
A Bibliography. Washington, D.C.:
Congressional Quarterly Books.
Booknotes interview with Newmyer on
John Marshall and the Heroic Age
of the Supreme Court, February 24, 2002, C-SPAN
McCullough, David (2001). John Adams. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Newmyer, R. Kent.
John Marshall and the Heroic Age of the Supreme
Court Louisiana State University Press, 2001. 511 pp.
Newmyer, R. Kent, (1968) The Supreme Court under Marshall and Taney,
University of Connecticut.
Robarge, David. (2000) A Chief Justice's Progress:
John Marshall from
Virginia to the Supreme Court. (Westport, Conn.:
Greenwood Press). 366 pp. ISBN 978-0-313-30858-1. Popular
biography; ends in 1801
Rudko, Frances H., (1991) John Marshall, Statesman, and Chief Justice
(Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press). ISBN 0-313-27932-2.
Shevory, Thomas C.; John Marshall's Law: Interpretation, Ideology, and
Interest Greenwood Press, 1994. ISBN 0-313-27932-2.
Simon, James F. What Kind of Nation: Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall,
and the Epic Struggle to Create a United States. Simon & Schuster,
2002. 348 pp ISBN 978-0-684-84871-6.
Smith, Jean Edward, (1996) John Marshall: Definer Of A Nation, Henry
Holt and Company. 736 pp. ISBN 978-0-8050-1389-4.
full-length scholarly biography
Unger, Harlow Giles, John Marshall, The Chief Justice Who Saved the
Nation (Boston: Da Capo Press, 2014).
Smith, Jean Edward (March 15, 1998) . John Marshall: Definer Of
A Nation (Reprint ed.). New York, NY: Owl Books.
Stites, Francis N., (1981) John Marshall: Defender of the Constitution
(Boston: Little, Brown). ISBN 978-0-673-39353-1. short scholarly
White, G. Edward (2001). "Reassessing John Marshall". William and Mary
Quarterly. 58 (3): 673–93. JSTOR 2674300.
Brockenbrough, John W., ed. Reports of Cases Decided by the Honourable
John Marshall, late
Chief Justice of the United States
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 for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History
and Culture; 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
Oster, John Edward, ed., The Political and Economic Doctrines of John
Marshall (1914, New York)
Story, Joseph, 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 Life,
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. 639–97.
Story, Joseph, ed., (1891 – reprint of the 1837 edition) Writings of
John Marshall, late Chief Justice of the United States, upon the
Federal Constitution, at Internet Archive)
Flanders, Henry. The Lives and Times of the Chief Justices of the
United States Supreme Court. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co.,
1874 at Internet Archive.
John Marshall, O Say Can You See: Early Washington, D.C., Law &
Family, page that networks the involvement of
John Marshall in the
legal records and proceedings of the Circuit Court for the District of
Columbia that were appealed to the Supreme Court between 1800 and
United States Congress. "
John Marshall (id: M000157)". Biographical
Directory of the
United States Congress.
Find more aboutJohn Marshallat's sister projects
Media from Wikimedia Commons
Quotations from Wikiquote
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Textbooks from Wikibooks
John Marshall at Project Gutenberg
The Life of George Washington, Vol. 1 (of 5) Commander in Chief of the
American Forces During the War which Established the Independence of
his Country and First President of the
United States (English)
The Life of George Washington, Vol. 2 (of 5)
The Life of George Washington, Vol. 3 (of 5)
The Life of George Washington, Vol. 4 (of 5)
The Life of George Washington, Vol. 5 (of 5)
Works by or about
John Marshall at Internet Archive
Bennett, Georgia (February 10, 1935). "John and Tom – Rivals in
Everything". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Archived from the original on
December 17, 2005.
John Marshall Foundation, Richmond, Virginia
John Marshall Papers, 1755–1835 at The College of William & Mary
National Park Service, "The Great Chief Justice" at Home, Teaching
with Historic Places (TwHP) lesson plan.
Research Collections: Marshall, John at the Federal Judicial Center
U.S. House of Representatives
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 13th congressional district
United States Secretary of State
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Morrison Waite (1874–1888; cases)
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William Howard Taft
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Charles Evans Hughes
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ISNI: 0000 0000 8403 382X
BNF: cb11914721x (data)
US Congress: M000157
^ "Online review,
John Marshall and the Heroic Age of the Supreme