- NAME: John Marshall
- OCCUPATION: Supreme Court Justice, Political Leader
- BIRTH DATE: September 24, 1755
- DEATH DATE: July 06, 1835
- EDUCATION: Campbell Academy, College of William & Mary
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Fauquier County (near Germantown), Virginia
- PLACE OF DEATH: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- AKA: Chief Justice John Marshall
- AKA: Justice John Marshall
Best Known For
John Marshall became the fourth chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1801. He is largely responsible for establishing the Supreme Court's role in federal government.
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Marshall began his career in government by representing Fauquier County in the General Assembly for a single term. In 1782, he joined the Virginia House of Delegates, representing Henrico County. He would return to the position in 1787, and again in 1795.
Marshall ran for city council in 1785, but came in second and was made city recorder instead. One of his duties as city recorder was to act as magistrate on the Richmond Hustings Court,
where he presided over small criminal and civil court cases. Through this position, Marshall established a reputation for being a fair and modest man who communicated clearly and based his decisions on the common good.
In 1788, Marshall became a delegate to the state convention that had been formed to ratify the United States' Constitution. He was a powerful advocate for replacing the Articles of Confederation with the Constitution.
In 1798, Marshall was invited to join the U.S. Supreme Court. Still thriving and content with his private practice at the time, however, he turned down the position, but agreed to participate in a 1797 diplomatic mission that was dubbed the "XYZ Affair." Serving as one of three envoys to France, Marshall was sent there to help improve relations between the United States and France (the commission's main goal was to stop French attacks on American ships). In France, Marshall's commission was turned away by French officials, who demanded they be bribed. Marshall staunchly refused. Following his refusal, he became known and liked for the slogan, "Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute," though the line had actually been uttered by Marshall's fellow convoy, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney.
In 1799, Marshall was elected to a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, a position he would hold only briefly, as he was appointed secretary of state under President John Adams in 1800. (Marshall had previously received many job offers under Washington's and Adams's administrations, but, until 1800, had always declined the opportunities.)
Later in life, from 1829 to 1830, Marshall also served as a delegate to the Virginia Constitutional Convention, along with his former Campbell classmate, James Monroe.
One of Marshall's first landmark cases was Marbury v. Madison, which established the basis of judicial review. The case went to the Supreme Court in 1803, following a hostile history: Toward the end of John Adams's term (while Marshall was serving as secretary of state), Adams had made William Marbury justice of the peace for the District of Columbia. Instead of handing over the commission to Marbury himself, Marshall left the document for his successor as secretary of state, James Madison, to deliver. However, once Thomas Jefferson, Adams's political adversary, took office as president, Jefferson forbade Madison to deliver the commission because it had been drawn up by Adams's supporters. Marbury responded by filing a lawsuit, requesting that the Supreme Court issue a court order forcing Madison to give the commission to Marbury.
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