74 Facts About John Marshall


John Marshall was an American politician, lawyer, and Founding Father who served as the fourth chief justice of the United States from 1801 until his death in 1835.


John Marshall remains the longest-serving chief justice and fourth-longest serving justice in the history of the US Supreme Court, and is widely regarded as one of the most influential justices ever to serve.


John Marshall favored the ratification of the US Constitution, and he played a major role in Virginia's ratification of that document.


At the request of President Adams, John Marshall traveled to France in 1797 to help bring an end to attacks on American shipping.


John Marshall was appointed secretary of state in 1800 after a cabinet shake-up, becoming an important figure in the Adams administration.


John Marshall quickly emerged as the key figure on the court, due in large part to his personal influence with the other justices.


John Marshall's holding avoided direct conflict with the executive branch, which was led by Democratic-Republican President Thomas Jefferson.


John Marshall died of natural causes in 1835, and Andrew Jackson appointed Roger Taney as his successor.


John Marshall's parents were Thomas Marshall and Mary Randolph Keith, the granddaughter of politician Thomas Randolph of Tuckahoe and a second cousin of US President Thomas Jefferson.


Thomas John Marshall was employed in Fauquier County as a surveyor and land agent by Lord Fairfax, which provided him with a substantial income.


Nonetheless, John Marshall grew up in a two-room log cabin, which he shared with his parents and several siblings; Marshall was the oldest of fifteen siblings.


From a young age, John Marshall was noted for his good humor and black eyes, which were "strong and penetrating, beaming with intelligence and good nature".


John Marshall was tutored by the Reverend James Thomson, a recently ordained deacon from Glasgow, Scotland, who resided with the Marshall family in return for his room and board.


John Marshall was my only intelligent companion; and was both a watchful parent and an affectionate friend.


In 1776, John Marshall became a lieutenant in the Eleventh Virginia Regiment of the Continental Army.


John Marshall read law under the famous Chancellor George Wythe at the College of William and Mary, and he was admitted to the state bar in 1780.


In 1785, John Marshall took up the additional office of Recorder of the Richmond City Hustings Court.


Meanwhile, John Marshall sought to build up his own legal practice, a difficult proposition during a time of economic recession.


John Marshall gained a reputation as a talented attorney practicing in the state capital of Richmond, and he took on a wide array of cases.


John Marshall represented the heirs of Lord Fairfax in Hite v Fairfax, an important case involving a large tract of land in the Northern Neck of Virginia.


John Marshall strongly favored ratification of the new constitution proposed by the Philadelphia Convention, as it provided for a much stronger federal government.


John Marshall was elected to the 1788 Virginia Ratifying Convention, where he worked with James Madison to convince other delegates to ratify the new constitution.


John Marshall aligned with the Federalists, and at Alexander Hamilton's request, he organized a Federalist movement in Virginia to counter the influence of Thomas Jefferson's Democratic-Republicans.


In 1795, Washington asked John Marshall to accept appointment as the United States Attorney General, but John Marshall again declined the offer.


John Marshall did serve in a variety of roles for the state of Virginia during the 1790s, at one point acting as the state's interim Attorney General.


In 1796, Marshall appeared before the Supreme Court of the United States in Ware v Hylton, a case involving the validity of a Virginia law that provided for the confiscation of debts owed to British subjects.


John Marshall argued that the law was a legitimate exercise of the state's power, but the Supreme Court ruled against him, holding that the Treaty of Paris in combination with the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution required the collection, rather than confiscation, of such debts.


In 1797, John Marshall accepted appointment to a three-member commission to France that included Charles Cotesworth Pinckney and Elbridge Gerry.


John Marshall supported most of the measures Congress adopted in the struggle against France, but he disapproved of the Alien and Sedition Acts, four separate laws designed to suppress dissent during the Quasi-War.


John Marshall quickly emerged as a leader of the moderate faction of Federalists in Congress.


John Marshall defended the government's actions, arguing that nothing in the Constitution prevents the United States from extraditing one of its citizens.


John Marshall's speech helped defeat a motion to censure President Adams for the extradition.


John Marshall was confirmed by the Senate on May 13 and took office on June 6,1800.


Adams directed John Marshall to bring an end to the Quasi-War and settle ongoing disputes with Britain, Spain, and the Barbary States.


John Marshall was confirmed by the Senate on January 27,1801, and took office on February 4.


Consequently, John Marshall was charged with delivering judicial commissions to the individuals who had been appointed to the positions created by the Midnight Judges Act.


The John Marshall Court convened for the first time on February 2,1801, in the Supreme Court Chamber of the Capitol Building.


John Marshall's opinions were workmanlike and not especially eloquent or subtle.


John Marshall regularly curbed his own viewpoints, preferring to arrive at decisions by consensus.


Historians mostly agree that the framers of the Constitution did plan for the Supreme Court to have some sort of judicial review, but John Marshall made their goals operational.


In 1807, Burr was arrested and charged for treason, and John Marshall presided over the subsequent trial.


John Marshall required Jefferson to turn over his correspondence with General James Wilkinson; Jefferson decided to release the documents, but argued that he was not compelled to do so under the doctrine of executive privilege.


Jefferson tried to arrange a compromise by having the federal government purchase the land from Georgia and compensate the New Yazooists, but Congressman John Marshall Randolph defeated the compensation bill.


However, John Marshall did not adopt Webster's argument that Congress had the sole power to regulate commerce.


On March 3,1832, Marshall delivered the opinion of the Court in the case of Worcester v Georgia.


John Marshall recused himself from the case because it stemmed from a dispute over Lord Fairfax's former lands, which John Marshall had a financial interest in.


In Ogden v Saunders, Marshall dissented in part and "assented" in part, and the Court upheld a state law that allowed individuals to file bankruptcy.


John Marshall did so at the request of his close friend, Associate Justice Bushrod Washington, who had inherited the papers of his uncle.


In 1828, John Marshall presided over a convention to promote internal improvements in Virginia.


In early 1835, John Marshall again traveled to Philadelphia for medical treatment, where he died on July 6,1835, at the age of 79, having served as Chief Justice for over 34 years.


John Marshall's body was returned to Richmond and buried next to Polly's in Shockoe Hill Cemetery.


Early in his career, during the 1790s, John Marshall represented slaves pro bono in a few cases, often trying to win the freedom of mixed-race individuals.


In possibly his most famous anti-slavery case, John Marshall represented Robert Pleasants, who sought to carry out his father's will and emancipate about ninety slaves; John Marshall won the case in the Virginia High Court of Chancery, in an opinion written by his teacher George Wythe, but that court's holding was later restricted by the Virginia High Court of Appeals.


In 1796, John Marshall personally emancipated Peter, a black man he had purchased.


In 1817 John Marshall joined the American Colonization Society to further that goal.


John Marshall purchased a life membership two years later, in 1823 founded the Richmond and Manchester Auxiliary, and in 1834 pledged $5000 when the organization experienced financial problems.


In 1825, as Chief Justice, John Marshall wrote an opinion in the case of the captured slave ship Antelope, in which he acknowledged that slavery was against natural law, but upheld the continued enslavement of approximately one-third of the ship's cargo.


Recent biographer and editor of Marshall's papers, Charles F Hobson, noted that multitudes of scholars dating back to Albert Beveridge and Irwin S Rhodes understated the number of slaves Marshall owned by counting only his household slaves in Richmond, and often ignored even the slaves at "Chickahominy Farm" in Henrico County, which Marshall used as a retreat.


John Marshall arranged with his longtime friend and Associate Justice Bushrod Washington to edit and publish the late George Washington's papers in order to finance that purchase.


John Marshall met Mary "Polly" Ambler, the youngest daughter of state treasurer Jaquelin Ambler, during the Revolutionary War, and soon began courting her.


Between the births of son Jaquelin Ambler in 1787 and daughter Mary in 1795, Polly John Marshall suffered two miscarriages and lost two infants, which affected her health during the rest of her life.


John Marshall loved his Richmond home, built in 1790, and spent as much time there as possible in quiet contentment.


John Marshall left Virginia for several weeks each year to serve on the circuit court in Raleigh, North Carolina.


John Marshall was not religious, and although his grandfather was a priest, never formally joined a church.


The John Marshall family occupied Monumental Church's pew No 23 and entertained the Marquis de Lafayette there during his visit to Richmond in 1824.


John Marshall used Federalist approaches to build a strong federal government over the opposition of the Jeffersonian Republicans, who wanted stronger state governments.


The Marshall Court struck down an act of Congress in only one case but that established the Court as a center of power that could overrule the Congress, the President, the states, and all lower courts if that is what a fair reading of the Constitution required.


John Marshall defended the legal rights of corporations by tying them to the individual rights of the stockholders, thereby ensuring that corporations have the same level of protection for their property as individuals had, and shielding corporations against intrusive state governments.


An engraved portrait of John Marshall appears on US paper money on the series 1890 and 1891 treasury notes.


Also, in 1914, an engraved portrait of John Marshall was used as the central vignette on series 1914 $500 federal reserve notes.


John Marshall was featured on a commemorative silver dollar in 2005.


John Marshall, Michigan, was named in his honor five years before John Marshall's death.


John Marshall College, named in honor of Chief Justice John Marshall, officially opened in 1836.


The university board of trustees acknowledged that "newly discovered research", uncovered by historian Paul Finkelman, had revealed that John Marshall was a slave trader and owner who practised "pro-slavery jurisprudence", which was deemed inappropriate for the school's namesake.