A portrait of the influential chief justice, statesman, and diplomat illuminates his pivotal role in the establishment of the Constitution and Supreme Court and recounts his work as an advisor to multiple presidents.
"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."--Dust jacket.
Introduction -- The frontier soldier -- A revolutionary capital -- Debating the Constitution -- Slaves and hypocrites -- Innocence lost -- Citizen Genet -- Entangling alliances -- Jay's treaty -- Talleyrand -- Not a sixpence -- Love and war -- Tossed into the Seine -- The XYZ papers -- The Jonathan Robbins affair -- Privateers and pirates -- The new order of things -- Showdown -- A strategic retreat -- Prizes of war -- High crimes -- Treason -- Estrangement -- The meaning of sovereignty -- Washington burning -- Friends and enemies -- The supreme law -- The pirate lottery -- The great steamboat case -- Public and private -- Right remains with the strongest -- An extravagant pretense -- In the conqueror's court -- A union prolonged by miracles