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

The inspiring biography of John Marshall, the most influential chief justice in history, who in the early 1800s shaped the Supreme Court into the co-equal branch of the U.S. government that it is today.

No member of the Founding Generation had a greater impact on the American Constitution than Chief Justice John Marshall, and no one did more to preserve the fragile unity of the fledgling United States as it struggled to establish itself. Marshall led the Supreme Court for thirty-four years (1801-1835), longer than any other chief justice, and he singlehandedly established its supremacy in American life. Buffeted by political enemies who'd do anything to stop him, Marshall brilliantly outflanked them. Against forces that threatened to shatter the Union, Marshall defended his vision of a strong national government. Armed with nothing more than his innate intelligence, eloquence, and his gift for thinking innovatively, Marshall triumphed against all odds.

At a time when many of his peers were from wealthy landowning famiiies—Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe—Marshall grew up in a two-room log cabin shared with fourteen siblings on the hardscrabble Virginia frontier. His only formal education consisted of a year of grammar school and six weeks of law school. Yet in the space of two decades he went from being an unschooled frontiersman to a military officer, a successful attorney, a diplomat, a national hero, Washington's biographer, a congressman, Secretary of State, and Chief Justice.

During a tumultuous time and against myriad enemies, John Marshall held the Supreme Court, the Constitution, and the Union together. Without Precedent is the engrossing true story of the life and times of this exceptional man, who both understood the balance of power and mastered the art of self-invention.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594488238
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/20/2018
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 54,653
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Joel Richard Paul is the author of Unlikely Allies: How a Merchant, a Playwright and a Spy Saved the American Revolution and is an instructor and associate dean at the University of California Hastings School of Law. He lives near San Francisco.

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chapter one

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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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