Without Precedent: Chief Justice John Marshall and His Times

Without Precedent: Chief Justice John Marshall and His Times

by Joel Richard Paul
Without Precedent: Chief Justice John Marshall and His Times

Without Precedent: Chief Justice John Marshall and His Times

by Joel Richard Paul


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From the author of Unlikely Allies and Indivisible comes the remarkable story of John Marshall who, as chief justice, statesman, and diplomat, played a pivotal role in the founding of the United States.
No member of America's Founding Generation had a greater impact on the Constitution and the Supreme Court than John Marshall, and no one did more to preserve the delicate unity of the fledgling United States. From the nation's founding in 1776 and for the next forty years, Marshall was at the center of every political battle. As Chief Justice of the United States—the longest-serving in history—he established the independence of the judiciary and the supremacy of the federal Constitution and courts. As the leading Federalist in Virginia, he rivaled his cousin Thomas Jefferson in influence. As a diplomat and secretary of state, he defended American sovereignty against France and Britain, counseled President John Adams, and supervised the construction of the city of Washington. D.C.

This is the astonishing true story of how a rough-cut frontiersman⁠—born in Virginia in 1755 and with little formal education—invented himself as one of the nation's preeminent lawyers and politicians who then reinvented the Constitution to forge a stronger nation. Without Precedent is the engrossing account of the life and times of this exceptional man, who with cunning, imagination, and grace shaped America's future as he held together the Supreme Court, the Constitution, and the country itself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525533283
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/19/2019
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 533,164
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Joel Richard Paul is a professor of constitutional and international law at the University of California Hastings Law School in San Francisco. He is the author of Unlikely Allies: How a Merchant, a Playwright and a Spy Saved the American Revolution, which was named one of the best books of 2009 by The Washington Post. He lives in northern California.

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chapter one

Excerpted from "Without Precedent"
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Copyright © 2019 Joel Richard Paul.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 The Frontier Soldier 5

2 A Revolutionary Capital 20

3 Debating the Constitution 35

4 Slaves and Hypocrites 45

5 Innocence Lost 54

6 Citizen Genet 71

7 Entangling Alliances 87

8 Jay's Treaty 96

9 Talleyrand 114

10 Not a Sixpence 124

11 Love and War 133

12 Tossed into the Seine 147

13 The XYZ Papers 169

14 The Jonathan Robbins Affair 182

15 Privateers and Pirates 195

16 The New Order of Things 215

17 Showdown 231

18 A Strategic Retreat 243

19 Prizes of War 262

20 High Crimes 275

21 Treason 282

22 Estrangement 297

23 The Meaning of Sovereignty 306

24 Washington Burning 315

25 Friends and Enemies 326

26 The Supreme Law 339

27 The Pirate Lottery 348

28 The Great Steamboat Case 364

29 Public and Private 373

30 Right Remains with the Strongest 384

31 An Extravagant Pretense 396

32 In the Conqueror's Court 407

33 A Union Prolonged by Miracles 426

Acknowledgments 441

Notes 443

Selected Bibliography 477

Index 489

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