Sunday asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 decade ago

John Marshall - economic development?

I am aware that John Marshall made decisions favoring manufacturing/business.. but I do not understand this argument: "Many of Marshall's decisions aided the economic development of the country in specific ways, but his chief contribution lay in his broadly national view of economic affairs. His nationalism enabled him to add form and substance to Hamilton's vision of the economic future of the United States."

What does this passage from my textbook mean? The specific ways must refer to his rulings in cases like McCulloch v. Maryland & Gibbons v. Ogden, but exactly what is a "broadly national view," and how can Marshall be considered a nationalist?

3 Answers

  • Arbie
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    For a full answer to your question, you probably should read as much as you can of Albert J. Beveridge's 4-volume biography of Marshall, since he covers all that therein, especially in re the three great cases of 1819 (Stourbridge v. Crowninshield, McCulloch v. Maryland, and the Dartmouth College case). The best I can do in a short paragraph is point out that, in case after case, Marshall ceded to the National Legislature the power to make laws superior to those demanded by local interests. His rulings firmly protected private property and thereby encouraged savings and investment. And, of course, he was the man in the position to give flesh to many of Hamilton's ideas, including the power of the judiciary independently to interpret laws, long after Hamilton was dead.

    Marshall was a Federalist, like Hamilton, and had a weak spot in his heart for the monied interests. He also was more of a royalist than many of the founding fathers. It takes all kinds to make a revolution, and Marshall is one of those who perhaps could have been on the other side. He showed this in one of his famous cases on property, in 1823, when he ruled that a land grant from the United States was superior to claimed purchase of the land from the Indians who actually owned it. In that case, Marshall described the Indians as sojourners and insisted that all property emanated from the Crown or its successors (a very English view). In case after case, you can see how Marshall shaped the early court, simply by considering how a case might have been decided if Adams had not beaten Jefferson to the punch, and Jefferson had gotten Spencer Roane in as chief justice. Indeed, upon Marshall's death in 1836, his replacement was a Roane clone: Roger Taney (pronounced "Tawney"). Taney set about reversing as many of Marshall's opinions as he could, and even before Taney came along, the court was drifting that way. Thus, in Briscoe State Bank v. Kentucky, the Court reversed Marshall's opinion in Craig v. Missouri, outlawing state-issued paper money. Recall that control of money and the banks was at the heart of many Federalist/Republican controversies in this time. Marshall inevitably sided with capital and the idea of special-interest grants -- allowing "the Crown" (in this case the United States) imperial powers beyond what actually was in the Constitution.

    To illustrate this, let's take a look at McCulloch v. Maryland. Did you know that there is no support for the opinion? It actually is wrongly decided. To understand why, you have to look into the concepts of "great" and "incidental" powers. The Constitutional Convention of 1787 had a pretty good idea of what "great" powers were, and they also understood that, for Congress actually to have such a power, it has to be delegated. While it is not possible to say with certainty today what all of the "great" powers are, we do know many of them because they are the powers which must be exercised by a super-majority of states under the Articles of Confederation, Art. IX (go read them). Also, we know from the constitutional debates that setting up a monopoly (a Crown favorite for rewarding special Crown interests -- recall William Penn) also is on that list, because the very issue of allowing the federal government to create them came up in debate. So, there never was any authority for setting up the First National Bank -- that specifically had been vetoed in the convention. But, Marshall follows Hamilton's "piece of paper" approach to the Constitution, and if you read the entire text of McCulloch (it's at the local law library and probably online, but about 120 pages long), you'll see that this critical argument -- that the power to declare a monopoly is an end of government, not a means, is completely circumvented by Marshall's rationalizations, then summarily dispatched in two half sentences (in a 120-page opinion). This was typical Marshall: Make the document say what you want it to say, upon the general policy you think best for the country. Marshall's preference for the monied class and inside connections incidentally gave him a nationalistic view -- that was more "inside" than local control -- and with that came a preference for national business models more consistent with a society in which state lines don't mean that much. He is important in hindsight, because today we follow his model, but if we had followed a different model, our opinion might be different.

    So, yes, Marshall was a nationalist, but really in the sense of being a half-converted royalist who tended to reason along well-established royalist lines.

    So, now that I've done your homework for you, you can do mine: How would Marshall have decided the Charles River Bridge case (1837, per Chief Justice Taney)? Why?

  • 1 decade ago

    Marshall aided the country and his decisions were for a strong national economy that protects american industry

  • candis
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    thats up for discussion there are in fact more possible answers to this question

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.