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tv   American Artifacts Chief Justice John Marshalls Life Legacy  CSPAN  November 5, 2017 6:00pm-6:31pm EST

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point." bloomberg alex on theeporter congressional reauthorization of the children's health insurance program. be sure to watch washington journal live at 7:00 eastern. join the discussion. >> each week, american artifacts takes viewers into archives, historic sites. we visit the national constitution center in philadelphia to learn about the life and legacy of john marshall , the fourth chief justice of the united states who served on the supreme court from 1801-1835. my name is tom and dimes a senior fellow for constitutional studies at the national constitution center. about chiefto talk justice john marshall in our new exhibit, john marshall: patriot,
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statesman, chief justice. we cover what is most familiar about john marshall. he was the fourth chief justice of the united states, and he is thought of as our great chief justice. this takes you from the beginning of his life, his fight in the american revolution, through his time as a lawyer and state legislator in virginia all the way through his time as a the john adams administration and his time as chief justice. we have amazing we began our story with a young john marshall in virginia. he is the eldest of 15 children. his father was a state legislator and taught history, law, the classics. was a militia member in the local militia. he works his way to become an officer in the continental army.
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much as anynce, as other experience in life, forges his constitutional views about the role of the government. it would reverberate across his life. let's look at the artifacts that we have that tell the story. one of the highlights of the entire exhibit is the first letter we see. it is 1827. this is an old john marshall. at this point, he is 72 years old and writing a letter to his wife. he is talking about how the experience in the american revolution influenced his views later in life. really encapsulates his vision.
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this is an amazing statement. when you think of your country, you think of virginia, not the u.s. first. so unlike his contemporaries in people like patrick henry would think of virginia as his country. but john marshall thinks of the united states as his country. we get this amazing letter. and then we have different artifacts that talk to his time in the military. the one inocus on the bottom corner. these are revolutionary war uniform buttons that were pulled from valley forge. when we think about his experience in the revolution, he was there. he was there with george washington and alexander hamilton. they felt firsthand the
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sacrifice of war, of fighting for your country. spoke about the inadequacies of the government at the time. the government that relied too much on the states to volunteer supplies and fight in the war. so they would emerge from this ar feeling they needed stronger federal government, one that could undertake big tasks. this philosophical view would help in forming -- would help inform most of marshall's views for the rest of his career. here fast forwarding to when comes home from the war and is trying to build a career and a life for himself. we have this quote appear. going to be he was called to the law. from my incident -- from my infancy i was destined for the bar. he travels to william and mary
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and attends law lectures. he gets his training there. here thate artifact is his law commonplace book. use was the book he would to write down legal principles and take notes. within here, you can see times in which he is dueling during his law lectures. during this time, he meets and falls in love with his wife. and they build a family together. morem portly, -- importantly, he is building up a political reputation. he was such a respected young randolphhat edmund presented the plan at the virginia constitution, powerful lawyer in the state, turned over his legal practice to john
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marshall as he is building his professional career. if we are really digging in here, trying to get a sense of marshall's early career before he enters the federal government, we have amazing artifacts here. it is a first edition copy of the federal papers. , he evenis a lawyer argues a case for the supreme court during this time. he is elected to the virginia state legislature. important the most projects at the time is that he is a delegate to the virginia ratifying convection. this is connected to the story that we tell in this news am of the framers forging the constitution through compromise and then sending it to the states for ratification. when we think of virginia, we think of the most important state in the union at the time.
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eight states have ratified the constitution. virginia, new york, and new hampshire where the most influential. amazinginia story is an one. it puts together some of the most important figures in early american politics. , richard henry lee, george mason, were opposing the constitution. supporting it was james madison and john marshall. he gave influential speeches, including a defense of judicial independence. the importance of the judiciary within our institution. views with someone like patrick henry, the firebrand,
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one of the most powerful figures in virginia, he even denied and randison a seat james monroe against him in the house. but john marshall is someone who was really easy to get along with. so even despite political disagreements with patrick henry, he would maintain close relations with him. so we see this theme as we go through his career about his ability to hold strong constitutional views but also see the importance of finding common humanity with adversaries. -- let's moveging to his time where he is in the federal government. the beginning of his career as a
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national leader of the federalist party. marshall in the early career of the federal government. to run for the u.s. house of representatives in 1978 -- in 1798. he secures that seat. two years later, john adams names them secretary of state. so he is moving from a career in virginia to a central role in the early federal government. these artifacts tell that story. they tell it through the lines -- through the lens of one episode in his career. this is during the adams administration. he is called on to become an envoy to france. it is amazing how much the politics are defined by the rivalry between great britain and france and where the u.s. fits their.
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the former colonies of great britain, and the former ally of france. george washington has to decide how he is going to address the conflicts happening between france and great britain. he sends john a over to rate written and creates a treaty that ends up being important for establishing political and commercial relations tween great britain and the u.s. but that inflames thomas jefferson and others supporters of france. they were hostile towards great britain and the commercial relationships that gave rise to an industrial class in the u.s. we have debates happening during the washington administration. marshall supports washington and john j.
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he becomes a member of congress and of the adams administration. but because of these moves, france becomes inflamed with the united states. france had supported us during the revolution. adams, dealing with hostility from france and france seizing our ship and stealing our goods, he sends john marshall and other envoys to france to come together with a treaty that creates friendly relations between france and the united states. this becomes known as the xyz affair. they are attempting to negotiate .ith the french government
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they are trying to establish relations. sends envoys as well. they say, you must bribe us, give us an exorbitant loan, to even talk to our ministers. , it ends up being u.s., wed in the refuse to give this to france. this creates a firestorm. what we have here is the traveling writing desk that marshall used during this episode. you can picture him writing his dispatches, talking about his communications with the french envoys. he hasn the conflict with the american delegation. he is doing it right here at this desk. we actually have the commission that john adams wrote with the
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upon -- the appointments with these envoys. you see his signature there. gary was a member of the constitutional convention, a difficult person to get along with. who could only person get along with john adams. and you have a young john marshall on his first diplomatic mission. and we have the spectacles and inkwell of john marshall that he used while at this desk. artifactwe have an that is a letter from thomas jefferson to john marshall. it is 1798. marshall is coming back from france and is a hero for standing up to the french government. short letter from
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jefferson to marshall, apologizing for not eating it will to make it to the dinner in his honor. they despise each other. political reasons. --ave deeply different views this is a short letter from jefferson to marshall, apologizing for not making it to the dinner in his honor. with this artifact, we get to john marshall as chief justice. the image we are most familiar with. -- adams had just lost the election, jefferson is
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getting ready to take over as president. the chief justice is ill. adams is rushing to try to replace him before jeffersonians take over the presidency and congress. he initially asked john j to take the position of chief justice. but he looked at the supreme court and said, no, i do not want to go back there. the institution does not have energy or influence. only justices have to go horseback, hearing cases throughout the united states. it was an unpleasant commission. so adams and the turning to his political ally, john marshall, his secretary of state. says, my gift to john marshall and the people of the united states was the proudest act of my life. john marshall was the perfect man at the perfect moment for this institution. transfere a peaceful
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of power from adams to jefferson. any major philosophical change from the president and congress. marshall in the judiciary. and we have the jeffersonians in charge of the political branches , devoted to limited government. a believer in states rights and in judicial restraint. really believed it was up to the elective representatives to define the constitution. so we are set up between -- we are set up for a great moment of conflict between jefferson and marshall. chase is ultimately a
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warning is set out to marshall, the careful, don't go directly after the jeffersonians. the most amazing artifact is the nomination from john adams of marshall. this is when he is ascending to the senate. one of the great moments in marshall's career. we have a couple of letters that give a sense of the emerging conflict between john marshall and thomas jefferson. a constitutional conflict, not a personal one. on the top we have a letter from john marshall to alexander hamilton. a great early federalist. marshall is expressing concerns about jefferson taking over the presidency. that by weakening
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the office of the presidency, he will increase his personal power. the idea that publicly he will express limited power but would wield great tower over the majority of congress. and we have this letter from john marshall to his old colleague in france from the xyz affair. in the middle of the letter he has to leave to oversee the and not duration of jefferson. -- to overseeback be inauguration of jefferson. then he comes back. and we have a letter from thomas jefferson where he is talking about his concerns about judicial power. asdescribes the constitution a thing of whacks in the hands x in the- a thing of wa
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hands of the judiciary. thomas jefferson talking about a more restrictive role for the federal government. a official biography of george washington. it is written by john marshall. ofre is a belief that part the concept between jefferson and marshall has to do with jefferson's criticism of washington. john marshall knows how important it is for american public memory to really celebrate our great figures. so we have this copy of john marshall's biography of george washington.
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this is marshall chief justice taking the reins. to the most film earlier part. these are the great decisions. i think about the big themes we get from these decisions. the assertion of judicial independence. connected with that, decisions that move toward a vision of the constitution that gives the federal government more power. it is a reading of the constitution to do genuinely national things. this is the flashpoint between jefferson and marshall. it is important to think about john marshall's legacy of building up the legitimacy of the supreme court. john j was offered this
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appointment and he turned down because he did not think it was a good job. marshall sits on the court for 34 years. during this time, he is nominated by john adams. john adams is seceded by a series of democratic republicans. they are all looking to lay claim to the constitution. put supreme justices on the court to limit the position of the federal government. but marshall, through his openness to compromise, helped forge the court together. wasof the great innovations to move beyond the practice were each justice would write his own opinions, to instead issuing opinions of the court. marshall writes the vast majority of the courts decisions.
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unlike today, they tend to be unanimous even on divisive issues. see here artifact we is the court decree from a case in 1824. the state of new york issues a monopoly to steamboat operators. the question is how broadly do we read the federal government's power over the economy. debate goes back to the washington administration. is he viewsl does it broadly. he says even covers things like navigation on the waterways and the operation of steamboats. therefore, he magnifies the power of congress over the economy. it is an important assertion of national power.
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another case is marshall's masterpiece. it is where marshall asserts and the power to declare laws unconstitutional. it is the one most people begin their casebooks with. the one we are most familiar with. he lays out the theory of our constitution. the marshall court is wrestling with the most important question, the constitutionality of the national bank. in the washington administration, we have jefferson fighting with hamilton over whether or not congress has the power to establish a national bank. washington sides with hamilton. attempt either state of maryland to undermine the national bank. they argued that the bank was unconstitutional.
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what marshall thought was he advances his constitutional vision through an act of judicial restraint. rather than aggressively asserting federal and judicial , we as aat he says is matter of political practice have put a national bank in place since the first congress. reads the powers in article one section eight. the necessary and practical clause. the powers of congress extend beyond each individual power listed in article one. laws,ows congress to pass it might not say explicitly that
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the congress can create a national bank, but it does give congress the power over commerce. what is amazing about the artifact is not the decree for of thed, but the father constitution, james madison's, reaction. he is highly critical. because we have two visions. madison and jefferson were arguing for a more limited average. so here we have madison arguing that marshall is reading the necessary and proper clause to broadly. have jefferson and madison during the washington administration arguing against the constitutionality of the national bank. so we have james madison criticizing one of our landmark decisions. we have it written by john marshall.
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that eveneat reminder the greatest of constitutional mines can disagree about fundamental questions within our constitution. it is a document of debate in conversation. artifact is john marshall writing to his friend joseph story defending another decision. was that if you are in state courts, in this case a criminal prosecution, and you think your constitutional rights have been violated, this is saying, no, you can appeal to the supreme court. the supreme court can decide these kinds of cases. is a quote from john marshall.
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people made the constitution, and people can i it. it is a creature of their well and lives only by their well. this is john marshall, the nationalist. john marshall, we the people. john marshall, the united states is my country, not virginia. over the -- these decades he was able to bridge divides. compromise to forge for people who disagree with him built upnstitution and the legitimacy on the supreme court. this is why we think of him and him alone as the great chief justice. we end with this portrait. this is john marshall, the elder
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statesman. 1831. he has come to philadelphia for surgery. they have him set for this portrait. reflecting on, he gets to this point in his life, and what is his legacy? obvious americans, the is him as a chief justice. he served for 34 years. decisions.reat things that are still in casebooks today. things that lawyers today still read for purposes of learning. decisions, he asserts judicial independence and builds up the legitimacy of the supreme
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court. he took it over and built it into a much stronger constitution. americanero of the revolution, serving in valley forge with george washington and alexander hamilton. figure and aortant brave soldier. he is a key supporter of the constitution in the verge -- in virginia. he is staring down the barrel of patrick henry and george mason. thes who oppose constitution. it is a young marshall baking strong arguments for why we need a stronger government. then we have john marshall serving in congress and then being asked to be secretary of state for adams. or not administration, he plays a key role in negotiations with france trying to dampen
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hostility. through this experience, he earns the respect of the american people. he has been called upon by john fourthgain to become the chief justice of the united states. when we reflect back, we can only think john marshall for being an important patriot and and one of the earliest constitutional thinkers in american history. you can watch this or other american artifacts programs anytime by visiting our web's a. -- by visiting our website. our cable partners worked with c-span's cities tour step when we traveled to sioux falls, south dakota. the city of sioux falls is over 73 square miles, making it the largest city in south dakota. learn more about sioux falls all weekend here on american history tv.


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