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John Marshall Essay

  • Submitted by: andrewjenny
  • on February 27, 2011
  • Category: History
  • Length: 1,417 words

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Below is an essay on "John Marshall" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Marshall was born in a cabin on the Virginia frontier, near Germantown, in Fauquier County.  in 1782 he was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in Richmond, where he sat, with interruptions, for the next 15 years. Marshall worked closely with James Madison, against the anti-Federalists led by Patrick Henry. In the early 1790s as Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton was building alliances with state and local leaders, Marshall became leader of the Federalist Party in the state. He declined to serve as George Washington's attorney generalship. In 1797 President John Adams appointed him to a delegation that went to France seeking peace, but was humiliated in the XYZ Affair. In 1799 Marshall was elected to Congress and in May 1800 he became secretary of state for Adams.   In January 1801, President John Adams faced a troublesome decision. The country needed a new Chief Justice for the Supreme Court, and he had to find one.
Oliver Ellsworth had resigned the position, which, at that time, was not considered terribly prestigious. The Supreme Court itself was a fairly weak institution at that time. And as justices had to “ride the circuit,” traveling on horseback to hear cases, serving on the court could be a grueling and thankless task. Adams intended to nominate John Jay, who was an old and trusted friend. But Jay, a distinguished lawyer who had previously held the position, turned Adams down. And with little more than a month left in his term before president-elect Thomas Jefferson would take the oath of office in March, Adams found himself in a bind. John Marshall, who was serving as secretary of state to Adams, later wrote that he had delivered Jay's letter refusing the position to Adams, who had recently moved into the unfinished executive mansion, which would later be known as the White House. Adams, disappointed by Jay's letter, asked, ”Who shall I nominate now?" Marshall replied that he did not know. “I believe I must nominate you,” said Adams. Marshall...

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