John Marshall

In early American history, the powers of the executive and legislative branches of the government were already well defined. However, the judicial branch needed to establish its position as an equal of the other two branches. John Marshall was crucial in making this happen. His many controversial decisions helped to shape the government of today.
When Marshall was called a stumbling block and impediment in the way of democratic principles the writer was reacting to the decisions that Marshall made while Chief Justice that he obviously didnt agree with. The Supreme Court under John Marshall made many contentious decisions that were unpopular with many Republicans and people from the South and West. Marshall was an advocate of a strong national government; most of his decisions favored this. In Fletcher v. Peck, one of Marshalls first decisions, the Supreme Court defined their ability to define a state law unconstitutional.

Marshalls most important case, Gibbons v. Ogden, Marshall set travel as a type of interstate commerce; this allowed The Court to permit Thomas Gibbons to compete with Aaron Ogden for passage of the Hudson River. This made the state granted monopoly there void.

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In a case that allowed for the development of the American economy Marshall established the constitutionality of the Bank of the United States. The Supreme Court answered two questions in that ruling. They said that Congress did have the right to charter a bank, and that states did not have to ability to tax them.

Marshall was a strong leader of the Supreme Court. His leadership brought belated prosperity to the United States. His many crucial decisions paved the way for the advance of the American economy, at the price of the power of the state governments.


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