You are here

قراءة كتاب John Marshall and the Constitution, a Chronicle of the Supreme Court

تنويه: تعرض هنا نبذة من اول ١٠ صفحات فقط من الكتاب الالكتروني، لقراءة الكتاب كاملا اضغط على الزر “اشتر الآن"

‏اللغة: English
John Marshall and the Constitution, a Chronicle of the Supreme Court

John Marshall and the Constitution, a Chronicle of the Supreme Court

No votes yet
دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 1



By Edward S. Corwin



CHAPTER I. The Establishment Of The National Judiciary
CHAPTER II. Marshall's Early Years
CHAPTER III. Jefferson's War On The Judiciary
CHAPTER IV. The Trial Of Aaron Burr
CHAPTER V. The Tenets Of Nationalism
CHAPTER VI. The Sanctity Of Contracts
CHAPTER VII. The Menace Of State Rights
CHAPTER VIII.     Among Friends And Neighbors
CHAPTER IX. Epilogue


CHAPTER I. The Establishment Of The National Judiciary

The monarch of ancient times mingled the functions of priest and judge. It is therefore not altogether surprising that even today a judicial system should be stamped with a certain resemblance to an ecclesiastical hierarchy. If the Church of the Middle Ages was "an army encamped on the soil of Christendom, with its outposts everywhere, subject to the most efficient discipline, animated with a common purpose, every soldier panoplied with inviolability and armed with the tremendous weapons which slew the soul," the same words, slightly varied, may be applied to the Federal Judiciary created by the American Constitution. The Judiciary of the United States, though numerically not a large body, reaches through its process every part of the nation; its ascendancy is primarily a moral one; it is kept in conformity with final authority by the machinery of appeal; it is "animated with a common purpose"; its members are "panoplied" with what is practically a life tenure of their posts; and it is "armed with the tremendous weapons" which slay legislation. And if the voice of the Church was the voice of God, so the voice of the Court is the voice of the American people as this is recorded in the Constitution.

The Hildebrand of American constitutionalism is John Marshall. The contest carried on by the greatest of the Chief Justices for the principles today associated with his name is very like that waged by the greatest of the Popes for the supremacy of the Papacy. Both fought with intellectual weapons. Both addressed their appeal to the minds and hearts of men. Both died before the triumph of their respective causes and amid circumstances of great discouragement. Both worked through and for great institutions which preceded them and which have survived them. And, as the achievements of Hildebrand cannot be justly appreciated without some knowledge of the ecclesiastical system which he did so much to develop, neither can the career of John Marshall be understood without some knowledge of the organization of the tribunal through which he wrought and whose power he did so much to exalt. The first chapter in the history of John Marshall and his influence upon the laws of the land must therefore inevitably deal with the historical conditions underlying the judicial system of which it is the capstone.

The vital defect of the system of government provided by the soon obsolete Articles of Confederation lay in the fact that it operated not upon the individual citizens of the United States but upon the States in their corporate capacities. As a consequence the prescribed duties of any law passed by Congress in pursuance of powers derived from the Articles of Confederation could not be enforced. Theoretically, perhaps, Congress had the right to coerce the States to perform their duties; at any rate, a Congressional Committee headed by Madison so decided at the very moment (1781) when the Articles were going into effect. But practically such a course of coercion, requiring in the end the exercise of military power, was out of the question. Whence were to come the forces for military operations against recalcitrant States? From sister States which had themselves neglected their constitutional duties on various occasions? The history of the German Empire has demonstrated that the principle of state coercion is entirely feasible when a single powerful State dominates the rest of the confederation. But the Confederation of 1781 possessed no such giant member; it approximated a union of equals, and in theory it was entirely such. *

     * By the Articles of Confederation Congress itself was made
     "the last resort of all disputes and differences...between
     two or more States concerning boundary, jurisdiction, or any
     other cause whatever." It was also authorized to appoint
     "courts for the trial of piracies and felonies committed on
     the high seas" and "for receiving and determining finally
     appeals in all cases of capture." But even before the
     Articles had gone into operation, Congress had, as early as
     1779, established a tribunal for such appeals, the old Court
     of Appeals in Cases of Capture. Thus at the very outset, and
     at a time when the doctrine of state sovereignty was
     dominant, the practice of appeals from state courts to a
     supreme national tribunal was employed, albeit within a
     restricted sphere. Yet it is less easy to admit that the
     Court of Appeals was, as has been contended by one
     distinguished authority, "not simply the predecessor but one
     of the origins of the Supreme Court of the United States."
     The Supreme Court is the creation of the Constitution
     itself; it is the final interpreter of the law in every
     field of national power; and its decrees are carried into
     effect by the force and authority of the Government of