John Marshall was born on September 24, 1755 in Prince William County, Virginia.
When John was ten, his father decided that they were going to move into a valley
in the Blue Ridge Mountains, almost thirty miles from the house they lived.
John’s parents were not well educated but they could read and write. The books
were very hard to take care of and were very expensive. Marshall had a house
bible but other than that they have almost no books to refer to. John’s father
Thomas was good friends with George Washington. Washington had a library and he
let John use and was the books were very helpful. The Marshall family had
decided that John would be a lawyer. John went to William and Mary College,
where he attended the law lectures of George Wythe. John Marshall joined the
Culpeper Minute Men and was chosen as the Lieutenant. John’s grandfather, on his
mother’s side, had been one of Yorktown’s wealthiest men but the war had ruined
him financially. The family had taken a small tenement apartment next to the
headquarters of Colonel Thomas Marshall who extended his protection. Marshall’s
private law practice continuously grew. He became a well-known attorney but his
dress habits didn’t change. Then he hired the best dressed attorney he could
find for the customary one hundred dollars. Finally Marshall went to court to a
hearing and was so deeply impressed that he pleaded to take the case. The fellow
had paid the lawyer. He only had five dollars left and he took the case. In
1797, President John Adams appointed him to an American Mission to France to aid
in the trade negotiations. John Marshall returned to the United States to be
enthusiastically received by most of the country. Marshall was a part of the
Marbury vs. Madison trial, his opinion of the trial was his intellectual and of
moral force and he foreshadowed the views he would express in later trials.
After becoming the First Chief Justice Marshall was asked by the nephew of
George Washington to write the official biography. He was unprepared to write
the biography but he decided to do it anyway. The biography that he wrote took
four years to write and was five volumes. John Marshall fought in many trials
during his lifetime, they are: Marbury vs. Madison fought in 1803 McColloch Vs.
Maryland fought in 1819 Dartmouth College vs. Woodward fought in 1819 Cohens vs.
Virginia fought in 1821 Gibbons vs. Odgen fought in 1831 Cherokee Nation vs.
State of Georgia fought in 1831 Three years after the Cherokee Nation vs. State
of Georgia trial John Marshall died. Now, in his honor, there is a dedicated law
school, in Chicago, named after him because of his accomplishments. John
Marshall Law School is where my father attended law school.