John Marshall: The Chief Justice Who Saved the Nation

John Marshall: The Chief Justice Who Saved the Nation

Language: English

Pages: 384

ISBN: 0306824566

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The surprising life of Chief Justice John Marshall, who turned the Supreme Court into a bulwark against presidential and congressional tyranny and saved American democracy

In this startling biography, award-winning author Harlow Giles Unger reveals how Virginia-born John Marshall emerged from the Revolutionary War's bloodiest battlefields to become one of the nation's most important Founding Fathers: America's greatest Chief Justice. With nine decisions that shocked the nation, John Marshall and his court saved American liberty by protecting individual rights and the rights of private business against tyranny by federal, state, and local government.

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engulfed the land as surviving Founding Fathers—Adams, Burr, Hamilton, Jefferson, Monroe, and others—turned on each other as they clawed at Washington’s fallen mantle. In a drama not unlike a classical Greek or Shakespearean tragedy, arrogance and lust for power gripped the souls of national heroes, perverting their patriotism, spurring them to spring on each other, fangs bared, spitting venom. Defying the Declaration of Independence and Constitution they had written and sworn to uphold, they

and, 261–263, 273 Jefferson and, 62, 88, 261–262 and Marbury, William, 196 Monroe’s death influencing, 309 oath of office taken by, 262–263 as secretary of state, 196, 208, 236, 262 Supreme Court decisions enforced by, 262 at Virginia ratification convention, 62, 64, 67–68, 71, 299 Virginia Resolution of, 145, 148, 199 at Virginia state constitution reform convention, 308 War of 1812 declared by, 273–274 See also Marbury v. Madison Malta, 143 Mandamus, writs of, 206–209, 322

West. When the President learned of the letter, he erupted in anger, raging at Genet and accusing Jefferson of disloyalty for supporting Genet. After the President questioned Jefferson’s allegiance to the nation, the secretary of state offered to resign, but the President demanded that Jefferson remain until the end-of-the-year government recess. Citizen Edmond-Charles-Edouard Genet, the first minister plenipotentiary to the United States from the French revolutionary regime, presents his

Senate for a thorough and humiliating examination of his conduct on the bench. Justice Chase would serve another six years until his death in 1811. He became a model of decorum, never again uttering “unusual, rude and contemptuous expressions” in court, as he had in the Callender case. Marshall convinced Chase and the other justices that public political statements seldom changed opinions and served only to provoke questions about the objectivity of judicial decisions. Marshall pointed out that

traveled about Europe, finally settling in Paris, where he pursued any and every opportunity to survive. Among other gainful activities, he translated French works into English by day and sold sexual attentions to wealthy, elderly women at night. After Jefferson left office Burr decided it was safe to return to America, and he arrived in New York in early 1812—only to learn that his only grandson, ten-year-old Aaron Burr Alston, had just died in Charleston, South Carolina. The boy’s distraught

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