John Marshall dbq Essays

Submitted By hzeebs
Words: 1004
Pages: 5

Hannah Zeber
December 2, 2014

In the election of 1800 there was a switch in power as Thomas Jefferson, a Democratic Republican, took over power from John Adams, a federalist. Adams was afraid that Jefferson was going to come in and make major changes to the government. To keep the Federalist Party alive in the federal government, Adams appointed John Marshall, a dedicated Federalist, as the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. During the time that John Marshall was Chief Justice many important cases were brought to him. His rulings in these cases strengthened the federal government by assuring its supremacy over the states, defining the roles of the Supreme Court and Congress, and providing constitutional foundation for economic growth. Each case that John Marshall looked over ensured the federal government’s supremacy over the states. In the time between when Jefferson won the election of 1800 and his inauguration in 1801, Adams did whatever he could to keep the Federalist Party alive in the government He, along with congress, passed the Judiciary Act of 1801, adding sixteen Federalist judges an forty-two Federalist justices of peace to the Judicial Branch. However, not all of these “midnight judges” had their commissions delivered before Jefferson was inaugurated. William Marbury was included in the people that did not receive theirs. When Jefferson came into office he ordered the new Secretary of State, James Madison, to not deliver the remaining appointments because he considered them void since they were not delivered in time. Marbury was outraged and sued Jefferson for the job. The case was brought to John Marshall in the Supreme Court and it was decided that Madison could not be forced to deliver the commissions. Madison was not going against the law when he withheld them. The decision strengthened the federal government because it gave the Supreme Court the final say in deciding what was unconstitutional (Doc G). Another case that ensured the federal government’s power over the states was Dartmouth v. Woodward. King George III had granted charter to Dartmouth College that spelled out purpose of the school, set up its governing structure, and mapped out the land for the school. In 1816, the state legislature of New Hampshire rewrote the charter to make Dartmouth a public school by changing the duties of the trustees and allowing the governor to appoint the trustees. The existing trustees filed suit against the new state-approved secretary, William Woodward, and the case was brought to the Supreme Court. They agreed with Dartmouth that the states did not have the power to impair contracts. The case gave the Supreme Court judicial review regarding contracts, treaties and overall federalist power (Doc K.) The Supreme Court was given the role of reviewing cases brought to them and deeming what was constitutional and what was not. The case of Cohens v. Virginia exemplified this power. Two brothers, P.J. and M.J. Cohens, were brought to the Virginia Criminal courts and were found guilty of selling illegal lottery tickets. The case was then taken to the Supreme Court, but resulted in the same decision. However, the Cohens had the right to take it past the state to the federal government. It is the Supreme Court’s duty to listen to any case brought to them (Doc H.). The Supreme Court also had the last say regarding treaties and contracts. In the case of Dartmouth v. Woodward, they ruled that New Hampshire could not revoke charters given to the school (Doc J). They determined that the impairing of the charter went against the Constitution and therefore New Hampshire did not have the power to do so. The case of Gibbons v. Ogden reinforced Congress’s power to regulate commerce and navigation. In 1808, the state of New York issued exclusive steamboat navigation to Robert Livingston, Robert Fulton, and Aaron Ogden. However, Thomas Gibbons had a license from the federal government to