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John Marshall Essay Example

Free John Marshall Essay Example

John Marshall was an American jurist and statesman. He was born in Fauquier County; he was the eldest of fifteen children. He was educated by his parents and clergyman residing with the family. Young John was serving alongside his father in Virginia minutemen, later in 1776 John, joined the continental Amy, which was an early alliance which was formed with Washington in times when the Marshalls fought under his leadership in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, New York. He lived between 24th September 1755 and 6th July 1835 (Smith, 1996). He rendered a big hand is shaping the American constitutional law he also made the Supreme Court the center of power. John Marshall served in the United States as the chief justice as from 31st January 1801, until 1835 when he passed away. He was the representative of the United States house 4th March, 1799 to 7th June, 1800. He was also the state secretary from 6th June, 1800, to 4th March, 1801under president John Adams. Marshal hailed from the Virginia commonwealth and a Federalist Party leader (Smith, 1996).  Despite the fact that John Marshal served long time as the Chief Justice, he is still remembered for the role he played in expanding federal power.

Marshal was the longest serving chief justice in the history of Supreme Court; he dominated over a period of three decades and his role was very significant in the development of the legal system of America. Marshal established that judicial review should be exercised by the courts and also he established the power to scrap out the laws that contravene the constitution. Therefore, the credit of reinforcing the judiciary position as a brunch of government which was influential and independent went to Marshal (Smith, 1996). There were several important decisions that were made by the Marshall courts including; power balance shaping between the state and the federal government during the republics early years. Of all the judges of the Supreme Court there was no match for John Marshal (McNamara, 2009). The passion and statesmanship exercised by Marshal is still significant.

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John marshal was devoted to national commerce improvement, establishing the judicial branch power, and strengthening the central government. Marshal took advantage of hi s wisdom and great charisma as he supervised the many critical cases that would finally result in revolutionary verdict. There were many issues during john Marshall’s term; the major one was the land grant validity dispute (McNamara, 2009). In Fletcher vs. Peck case Marshall concluded a land grant a valid contract. During a case to strengthen the ruling the trail of Dartmouth vs. Woodward, Marshall stated that the land grant offered to organizations or individuals act as a legal contract that gives the owner privileges and rights to the given land (Smith, 1996).

In a bid to challenge the ruling, the southern states thought they were able to knock over the Marshall’s judgment in a way that suited them. However, john Marshall in Cohen vs. Virginia, case he established the right of the court to find the state legislatures actions unconstitutional and thus making the judicial branch the dominating power. This particular case was significant because it led to the establishment of a crucial point, which stopped the defilement of the federal government by the states (McNamara, 2009).

The other issue at hand was the question on who had jurisdiction over interstate trade for instance geographical areas and through rivers that moved in and out the state. The solution to this problem was found in Gibbons vs. Ogden case, where Marshall ruled out that such maters were under the federal government. He also reinforced the proper and necessary constitutional clause during the case of McCulloch vs. Maryland. For the second time the southern together with the western settlers thought that the national bank was becoming too imposing and they used the powers given to them by the state to tax it vigorously (Smith, 1996). One of the banks attorneys Daniel Webster informed Marshall that if the state was allowed even to have a slight power to tax the national bank, they would do it forever. Therefore, Marshall decided to favor the bank once more thus giving the federal government extra power over the states.

The other pressing matter was how the Native American was to be dealt with by the state during the expansion (Smith, 1996). Johnson vs. McIntosh was the first crucial case to deal with, the ruling that the tribes were to follow laws like normal citizens even though they were a separate entity within the United States. Afterwards in the case of Cherokee vs. Georgia, it was decided that the Indians were not only under the limitations of the federal government but they were also under protection (McNamara, 2009).


John Marshall’s influential rulings helped in reshaping the government of America, revealing the final arbiter of the constitution as the Supreme Court which was a document which the court would use to give it power to overrule the president, lower court, the state, and the congress. Marshall fought to protect individual rights and the rights of corporations against the intrusive state government. Marshal was able to set an enormous precedent in the political realms of America by having the ability to balance out the government branches, together with the state and the federal power, which saw the provision of the rule of the law which up to date still, exists (Smith, 1996).

Marshal’s final years were characterized by several challenges. His devotion to court was at one point affected by his relationship with Polly who was ailing and needed care and attention throughout. He also partly concentrated on historic writing. He is the one who wrote the first biography of George Washington for two years before competing in 1807. Marshal’s health rapidly deteriorated after the death of Polly in 1831 and passed on on 6 July 1835. He is however remembered throughout the history of U.S for his impact in judiciary system.