Marshall, John


Marshall, John

biographical name

(born Sept. 24, 1755, near Germantown, Va.—died July 6, 1835, Philadelphia, Pa., U.S.) U.S. patriot, politician, and jurist. In 1775 he joined a regiment of minutemen and served as a lieutenant under Gen. George Washington in the American Revolution. After his discharge (1781), he served in the Virginia legislature and on Virginia's executive council (1782–95), gaining a reputation as a leading Federalist. He supported ratification of the U.S. Constitution at the state's ratifying convention. He was one of three commissioners sent to France in 1797–98 (see XYZ Affair); he later served as secretary of state (1800–01) under Pres. John Adams. In 1801 Adams named Marshall chief justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, a post he held until his death. He participated in more than 1,000 decisions, writing 519 himself. During his tenure, the Supreme Court set forth the main structure of the government; its groundbreaking decisions included Marbury v. Madison, which established judicial review; McCulloch v. Maryland, which affirmed the constitutional doctrine of “implied powers”; the Dartmouth College case, which protected businesses and corporations from much government regulation; and Gibbons v. Ogden, which established that states cannot interfere with Congress's right to regulate commerce. Marshall is remembered as the principal founder of the U.S. system of constitutional law.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on Marshall, John, visit Britannica.com.

Seen & Heard

What made you look up Marshall, John? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.