John Marshall

John Marshall ( * September 24 1755 in German Town, today Midland, Fauquier County, Virginia; † July 6, 1835 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) was an American politician and one of the leading lawyers in the country.

He was Foreign Minister, founder of the Constitutional Law and Chief Judge of the Supreme Court of the United States ( " U.S. Supreme Court ").


In the first years of the American Revolution he defeated on July 30, 1776 3 Virginia Continental Regiment and completed several major military operations with success, so he was promoted to Captain. After the war he became a lawyer and represented his state in the newly formed Federalist Party. Then offered George Washington and John Adams to him several posts, including as ambassador to France, as Justice and Minister of War, and as a federal judge. Marshall but has preferred to remain in Virginia.

Despite his denials, he took in 1797 to lead a three -member commission to negotiate with France. After the French negotiators had demanded a personal bribe in return for to return to the negotiating table (XYZ Affair ), Marshall answered for himself and his colleagues with a brilliant speech that rejected this extortion and appealed to the honor and dignity of the new country. Thereafter, the then U.S. President John Adams offered him a spot on the Supreme Court, but Marshall aspired to a seat in the U.S. Congress, which he also achieved in 1799. On June 6, 1800, he accepted the post of foreign minister, succeeding Timothy Pickering, for which he was sworn in on 13 June of the same year. This office he held until the end of the presidency of John Adams in 1801. On January 20, 1801 Marshall took over as the presiding judge ( Chief Justice ) of the Supreme Court. His successor in the office of the Secretary of State was James Madison. First, these changes were mainly seen as an attempt by conservatives to create a counterweight to the presidency of Thomas Jefferson.

During his tenure as Chief Justice, he developed his most significant political effect and ordered the Supreme Court and the case law from scratch, without regard to the material interests of the company or individual magnates. Only by its precedents (especially Marbury v. Madison (1803 ) ) received the Supreme Court, whose function was described only blurred in the Constitution, its significant position in the U.S. system of government. Furthermore, Marshall also set for the following story the elastic ' and not literal understanding of the U.S. Constitution. John Marshall held the position of Chief Justice for nearly 35 years, and experienced five different U.S. presidents. This made ​​him the longest reigning holder of the office in U.S. history.

Were named after him, inter alia, the Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois, the submarine USS John Marshall (SSBN-611) and numerous high schools. His home in Richmond (Virginia), the John Marshall House, was recorded in 1960 as a National Historic Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places and has been one of the 119 historic sites in Virginia.


Some basic decisions go back to John Marshall's time in the Supreme Court of the United States, which even today is applied or can reverberate to this day.

  • Marbury v. Madison (1803 )
  • Dartmouth College v. Woodward (1819 ), see this: Dartmouth College
  • McCulloch v. Maryland ( 1819)
  • Gibbons v. Ogden (1824 )