John Marshall: The Great Chief Justice

Essay by romortUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, January 1996

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John Marshall: The Great Chief Justice

John Marshall was born in Fauquier County, Virginia on September 4, 1755. He was the first son of Thomas Marshall and Mary Randolph Keith. His role in American history is undoubtedly a very important one. As a boy, Marshall was educated by his father. He learned to read and write, along with some lessons in history and poetry. At the age of fourteen, he was sent away to school, and a year later he returned home to be tutored by a Scottish pastor who lived with the Marshall family.

As a young college student, John Marshall was particularly impressed by the lectures of professor George Wythe. Wythe was a lawyer, judge, and a signer of the constitution. Other students of professor Wythe were Thomas Jefferson, John Breckinridge, and Henry Clay.

Marshall became a lawyer at the age of twenty five. As Brian McGinty says about Marshall in the article, 'His first cases were not important, but he handled them well and made a favorable impression on his neighbors; so favorable that they sent him to Richmond in 1782 as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates.'

He became a prominent lawyer and was on his way to a successful future.

Mr. Marshall worked under the administration of John Adams starting in 1798. He was offered the position of attorney general under George Washington's administration, but declined because he wanted to stay with his family and practice law in his home town of Richmond, Virginia. He was one of three delegates sent to France by John Adams in 1798. His reasoning for taking the job in France was partly because it was only a temporary mission and also because he wanted to be of service to his country, aiding in peaceful relations with France.