Summary

Conflict Period:
Revolutionary War 1
Branch:
Army 1
Rank:
Captain 1
Birth:
24 Sep 1755 1
Germantown, Virginia, British America 1
Death:
06 Jul 1835 1
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1
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Personal Details

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Full Name:
John James Marshall 1
Birth:
24 Sep 1755 1
Germantown, Virginia, British America 1
Death:
06 Jul 1835 1
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1
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Birth:
Mother: Mary Isham Keith 2
Father: Thomas Marshall 2
Marriage:
Mary Willis Ambler 2
03 Jan 1783 2
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Revolutionary War 1

Branch:
Army 1
Rank:
Captain 1

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Stories

As the fourth chief justice, John Marshall is credited with shaping the American system of constitutional law. After the Revolutionary War, Marshall returned to his Virginia home to study and began to practice law. He became active in state politics, serving in the House of Delegates, and emerged as a political rival to his distant relative, Thomas Jefferson. Marshall was named chief justice by John Adams two months before the end of his presidency.

The important Marbury v. Madison case, in Marshall's court, was the first in which the court declared an act of Congress unconstitutional. Thus was established the concept of judicial review by the federal courts over acts of the two other branches of government. Among other major cases before his court, McCulloch v. Maryland prohibited states from taxing a federal instrument, the Bank of the United States. In Cohens v. Virginia and Gibbons v. Ogden, Marshall wrote opinions that established the unity of the federal court system and set the precedent for the assertion of federal authority over the states when their individual interests clashed.

In 1807 Marshall presided over the treason trial of Aaron Burr. Against the wishes of Thomas Jefferson, Burr was found innocent. During Marshall's 35 years as chief justice, he took part in more than 1,000 decisions, of which he wrote 519. He also wrote a five-volume Life of George Washington.

Chief Justice

On 4 February 1801, John Marshall was sworn in as Chief Justice of the United States. During his service through six presidents, Marshall helped establish the Supreme Court as the final authority regarding the interpretation of the Constitution.

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