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John Marshall Biography Essay Research Paper John

John Marshall Biography Essay, Research Paper John Marshall: Father of the Modern Judiciary If George Washington is the father of our country, and James Madison the father of the Constitution, then few will deny that John Marshall is the father of our modern federal court system. It is surprising, then, that there are so few serious studies of the Chief Justice’s life.

John Marshall Biography Essay, Research Paper

John Marshall: Father of the Modern Judiciary

If George Washington is the father of our country, and James Madison the father of the Constitution, then few will deny that John Marshall is the father of our modern federal court system. It is surprising, then, that there are so few serious studies of the Chief Justice’s life. Every year there are a gross of biographies on Thomas Jefferson and his peers, but, until just recently, the last formal analysis of Marshall was in 1916. But the lack of literary attention does not diminish his historical impact. His tenure, spanning nearly 35 years, was the most influential Justice regarding the judicial review and the establishing the sovereignty of the Judicial Branch.

John Marshall was born in 1755. He grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains, isolated from the tobacco-and-slave culture of the tidewater region. He first became involved in the newly created nation in the Revolutionary War, where he served under George Washington at Valley Forge. He rose to the rank of Captain in the Continental Army and regarded then General Washington as, “the greatest man on earth.” After his fighting in the war Marshall began practicing law in Virginia. He served in the state assembly in the 1780s, and helped with the Virginia ratifying convention for the Constitution. But because he had such a lucrative law practice in Richmond, Marshall was reluctant to involve himself in the national government. It has been said that even his acceptance of John Adams’ appointment to the XYZ Affair was based on his desire to raise Dutch loans for a land transaction. But his experiences in the French scandal made him a national celebrity. His fame gave him the opportunity to serve terms in Congress and he was even appointed to be Secretary of State for the Adams Administration. Following his lose in the election of 1800 and the disintegration of the Federalist Party, Adams made his infamous “Midnight Judge” appointments. Because he had always remained loyal to the Federalist Party, he chose his Secretary of State as Chief Justice. John Marshall was sworn in as Chief Justice not long before he himself swore in Thomas Jefferson as President.

John Marshall and Thomas Jefferson resented and respected one another at the same time. Marshall resented the fact that Jefferson did not fight in the Revolutionary War. Jefferson’s outrage regarding the Midnight Judges led to his desire for the power to remove judges, including Marshall if he so wished, and therefore control the Judicial Branch. The President came close to this power with impeaching Samuel Chase, but impeachment was as close as he got. But though he despised him, Jefferson respected Marshall’s intellect and judicial talent. It was he that said,

“When conversing with Marshall, I never admit anything. So sure as you admit any position to be good, no matter how remote from the conclusion he seeks to establish, you are gone. So great is his sophistry you must never give him an affirmative answer or you will be forced to grant his conclusion. Why, if he were to ask me if it were daylight or not, I’d reply, “Sir, I don’t know, I can’t tell.” ”

It is during this time, when the Judicial Branch was struggling for autonomy, that we can fully appreciate the impact of Chief Justice Marshall. Alexander Hamilton regarded the Judicial Branch as the “weakest” branch in “The Federalist” in 1788, and little was done to change that attitude. The court was weak when he took office in 1801, but he left it quite a different place when passed on in 1835. His occupancy spanned the administrations of five Presidents and gave him the opportunity to declare judicial independence and fortify the Constitution as the supreme law of the land. He first broadened his jurisdiction in the case of Marbury v. Madison. This case involved the fact that newly appointed Secretary of State James Madison refused to grant commission to a “midnight judge.” Though Congress had demanded that Secretary Madison carry through his duties, Marshall overruled them. Chief Justice Marshall, in an ingenious decision, sided with Madison and Jefferson, thereby setting the precedent of the Supreme Court’s power of judicial review. He had successfully separated the Judicial Branch from influence from the other branches. His next ground breaking case was McCulloch v. Maryland. This case involved the indirect taxing of a federal bank in the state of Maryland. McCulloch, the head of the bank, refused to pay the tax. Justice Marshall ruled in favor of McCulloch, thereby reinforcing the Constitution as the highest law and the federal government as the highest governing body.

Of course, Marshall’s extraordinary influence was also a matter of timing. He came at the beginning of our country and therefore, like George Washington regarding Executive Powers, molded his office to fit his personality, beliefs, and philosophy. By wisely protecting the Constitution and his own power he freed the Judicial Branch to be truly unbiased and impartial in all cases. The powerful court system we now take for granted may never have been established if it weren’t for this forensic pioneer. His wise control during the scores of years he spent in office far superceded those who came before him and those who came after. Even those who were around to realize his influence first hand recognized his passing in July of 1835 as a national tragedy. The nation mourned that day. “When he died they rang the Liberty Bell in Independence Hall in his honor. The Bell cracked, never to ring again.”

John Marshall: Father of the Modern Judiciary

If George Washington is the father of our country, and James Madison the father of the Constitution, then few will deny that John Marshall is the father of our modern federal court system. It is surprising, then, that there are so few serious studies of the Chief Justice’s life. Every year there are a gross of biographies on Thomas Jefferson and his peers, but, until just recently, the last formal analysis of Marshall was in 1916. But the lack of literary attention does not diminish his historical impact. His tenure, spanning nearly 35 years, was the most influential Justice regarding the judicial review and the establishing the sovereignty of the Judicial Branch.

John Marshall was born in 1755. He grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains, isolated from the tobacco-and-slave culture of the tidewater region. He first became involved in the newly created nation in the Revolutionary War, where he served under George Washington at Valley Forge. He rose to the rank of Captain in the Continental Army and regarded then General Washington as, “the greatest man on earth.” After his fighting in the war Marshall began practicing law in Virginia. He served in the state assembly in the 1780s, and helped with the Virginia ratifying convention for the Constitution. But because he had such a lucrative law practice in Richmond, Marshall was reluctant to involve himself in the national government. It has been said that even his acceptance of John Adams’ appointment to the XYZ Affair was based on his desire to raise Dutch loans for a land transaction. But his experiences in the French scandal made him a national celebrity. His fame gave him the opportunity to serve terms in Congress and he was even appointed to be Secretary of State for the Adams Administration. Following his lose in the election of 1800 and the disintegration of the Federalist Party, Adams made his infamous “Midnight Judge” appointments. Because he had always remained loyal to the Federalist Party, he chose his Secretary of State as Chief Justice. John Marshall was sworn in as Chief Justice not long before he himself swore in Thomas Jefferson as President.

John Marshall and Thomas Jefferson resented and respected one another at the same time. Marshall resented the fact that Jefferson did not fight in the Revolutionary War. Jefferson’s outrage regarding the Midnight Judges led to his desire for the power to remove judges, including Marshall if he so wished, and therefore control the Judicial Branch. The President came close to this power with impeaching Samuel Chase, but impeachment was as close as he got. But though he despised him, Jefferson respected Marshall’s intellect and judicial talent. It was he that said,

“When conversing with Marshall, I never admit anything. So sure as you admit any position to be good, no matter how remote from the conclusion he seeks to establish, you are gone. So great is his sophistry you must never give him an affirmative answer or you will be forced to grant his conclusion. Why, if he were to ask me if it were daylight or not, I’d reply, “Sir, I don’t know, I can’t tell.” ”

It is during this time, when the Judicial Branch was struggling for autonomy, that we can fully appreciate the impact of Chief Justice Marshall. Alexander Hamilton regarded the Judicial Branch as the “weakest” branch in “The Federalist” in 1788, and little was done to change that attitude. The court was weak when he took office in 1801, but he left it quite a different place when passed on in 1835. His occupancy spanned the administrations of five Presidents and gave him the opportunity to declare judicial independence and fortify the Constitution as the supreme law of the land. He first broadened his jurisdiction in the case of Marbury v. Madison. This case involved the fact that newly appointed Secretary of State James Madison refused to grant commission to a “midnight judge.” Though Congress had demanded that Secretary Madison carry through his duties, Marshall overruled them. Chief Justice Marshall, in an ingenious decision, sided with Madison and Jefferson, thereby setting the precedent of the Supreme Court’s power of judicial review. He had successfully separated the Judicial Branch from influence from the other branches. His next ground breaking case was McCulloch v. Maryland. This case involved the indirect taxing of a federal bank in the state of Maryland. McCulloch, the head of the bank, refused to pay the tax. Justice Marshall ruled in favor of McCulloch, thereby reinforcing the Constitution as the highest law and the federal government as the highest governing body.

Of course, Marshall’s extraordinary influence was also a matter of timing. He came at the beginning of our country and therefore, like George Washington regarding Executive Powers, molded his office to fit his personality, beliefs, and philosophy. By wisely protecting the Constitution and his own power he freed the Judicial Branch to be truly unbiased and impartial in all cases. The powerful court system we now take for granted may never have been established if it weren’t for this forensic pioneer. His wise control during the scores of years he spent in office far superceded those who came before him and those who came after. Even those who were around to realize his influence first hand recognized his passing in July of 1835 as a national tragedy. The nation mourned that day. “When he died they rang the Liberty Bell in Independence Hall in his honor. The Bell cracked, never to ring again.”

Maximum Justice, Ellis, Joseph J.

Father of the Court, Wood, Gordon S.

Maximum Justice, Ellis, Joseph J.

Father of the Court, Wood, Gordon S.

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