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McCulloch vs. Maryland

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Charles Lien Parnell - 5th AP US History McCulloch vs. Maryland John Marshall was a prominent figure in the history of the United States as the man who helped shape the Supreme Court to the power it is today. His decisions strengthened the power of the federal government in period of growth for our new nation and established a greater purpose for the Supreme Court. Born September 24, 1755 in Virginia, he went on to attend the college of William and Marry, which became his only formal education. Early in the revolutionary war, he served under the Third Virginia Continental Regiment, rising through the ranks to lieutenant and captain. After the war, he settled back in Virginia to become a lawyer. He became active in the Virginia House of delegates and also the leader of the Federalists party there, rivaling Thomas Jefferson. In 1797, Adams sent him to France with two others for negotiations, which erupted into the XYZ affair. He became known for his steadfastness in refusing to pay bribes. In 1799, he is elected into the House of Representatives and the following year, Adams appoints him as Secretary of State. ...read more.


. . must also be entrusted with ample means for their execution. The power being given, it is the interest of the nation to facilitate its execution . . .." He explains that Congress has to act under implied powers because it is impossible for them to list all the powers in the constitution. Though the constitution doesn't specifically mention the bank, it does mention powers such as taxing and commerce, implying that Congress has the right to create a bank. In stating this, Marshall brings the use of implied powers into the Supreme Court, where it is used henceforth. Thirdly, he uses the necessary and proper clause directly from the Constitution stating "To its enumeration of powers is added, that of making "all laws which shall be necessary and proper, for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this constitution, in the government of the United States, or in any department thereof." . . ." To legitimize his argument with Constitutional backing, Marshall refers to the "necessary and proper clause, using it to state that the Bank of the United States is needed and therefore Congress has the prerogative to establish it. ...read more.


Even to this day, Marshall's decision can be seen in today's society. Whenever the courts have to make a decision that is not stated in the Constitution, it comes back to the original decision by John Marshall to interpret the Constitution loosely. In the case Idaho v. Horiuchi, the question of national supremacy was questioned, in whether or not federal officers have immunity against state criminal laws. In the end, it was decided that the decision is still left up to Congress - that it was their decision whether to prosecute or to pardon - showing that the federal government still holds greater power. In my opinion, this case has a huge significance in the way our country has turned out. The fact that he uses the concept of implied powers in validating constitutionality of the Bank of the United States plays a huge part in future decisions. Now, the government is able to do things not specifically stated in the Constitution without hesitation if they deem it necessary. Also, once again, the firm establishment of national supremacy over states creates the strong centralized government that we are now running on. If not for these important early decisions by Marshall, our country may not be run in the same fashion as it is today. ...read more.

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