John Marshall, Portrait

This portrait of Founding Father John Marshall was painted by Henry Inman in 1832. Image Source: Wikipedia.

John Marshall

September 24, 1755–July 6, 1835

John Marshall was a Founding Father, officer in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, congressional representative from Virginia, Secretary of State, and 4th Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Biography of John Marshall

John Marshall was a Founding Father, an officer in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, congressional representative from Virginia, Secretary of State, and 4th Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Marshall is best known for his judicial decisions that often reflected his strong Federalist beliefs. His decision in the cases of Marbury v. Madison (1803) strengthened the power of the federal judiciary by establishing the principle of judicial review. His opinion in McCulloch v Maryland (1819) expanded the power of the federal government by introducing the concept of implied powers when interpreting the U.S. Constitution.

John Marshall — Quick Facts

Early Life

  • Born September 24, 1755, near Germantown, Virginia.

Service in the American Revolutionary War

  • Commissioned as a lieutenant in the Fauquier County militia in 1775.
  • Served as an officer in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.
  • Spent the winter of 1777–1778 with the troops in Valley Forge.

Education and Professional Career

  • Studied law at the College of William and Mary, under George Wythe.
  • Admitted to the Virginia bar in 1780.

Political Service in Virginia

  • Member of the Virginia Assembly from 1782–1791 and again from 1795–1797.
  • Participated in the Virginia convention of 1788 that ratified the U.S. Constitution.
  • Represented Virginia in Congress from 1799–1800.

XYZ Affair and Secretary of State

  • Appointed by President John Adams on the “XYZ”  mission of 1797–1798 to resolve political differences with France.
  • U.S. Secretary of State from June 6, 1800, to February 4, 1801.

United States Chief Justice

  • Commissioned Chief Justice of the United States on January 31, 1801, and took office on February 4, 1801.
  • Served through six presidential administrations and over a thousand decisions as Chief Justice.

Accomplishments as Chief Justice

  1. Established the Supreme Court’s power of judicial review with the decision in the case of Marbury v. Madison, in 1803.
  2. Affirmed the concept of implied powers of Congress, through the “necessary and proper” clause in the U.S. Constitution, in the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of McCulloch v. Maryland in 1819.

Death and Burial

  • Died July 6, 1835, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Buried in Shockhoe Hill Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia.
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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title John Marshall
  • Coverage September 24, 1755–July 6, 1835
  • Author
  • Keywords john marshall, founding father, secretary of state, chief justice of the Supreme Court
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date May 26, 2022
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update May 6, 2022
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