XIII. John Marshall and Judicial Nationalism
Chief Justice John Marshall helped to bolster the power of the government at the expense of the states.
McCulloch vs. Maryland (1819): This case involved Maryland’strying to destroy the Bank of the U.S. by taxing its currency notes.Marshall invoked the Hamiltonian principle of implied powers and deniedMaryland’s right to tax the bank, and also gave the doctrine of“loose construction,” using the elastic clause of theConstitution as its basis. He implied that the Constitution was to lastfor many ages, and thereby was constructed loosely, flexibly, to bebent as times changed.
Cohens vs. Virginia (1821): The Cohens had been found guilty byVirginia courts of illegally selling lottery tickets, had appealed tothe Supreme Court, and had lost, but Marshall asserted the right of theSupreme Court to review the decisions of the state supreme courts inall questions involving powers of the federal government. The federalgovernment won, the states lost.
Gibbons vs. Ogden (1824): When New York tried to grant a monopolyof waterborne commerce, Marshall struck it down by saying that onlyCongress can control interstate commerce, not the states themselves; itwas another blow to states’ rights.
XV. Sharing Oregon and Acquiring Florida
The Treaty of 1818 put the northern boundary of the LouisianaPurchase at the 49th parallel and provided for a ten-year jointoccupation of the Oregon Territory with Britain, without a surrender ofrights and claims by neither Britain nor America.
When revolutions broke out in South and Central America, Spanishtroops in Florida were withdrawn to put down the rebellions, and Indianattacks ravaged American land while the Indians would then retreat backto Spanish territory.
Andrew Jackson swept across the Florida border, hanged two Indianchiefs without ceremony, executed two British subjects for assistingIndians, and seized St. Marks and Pensacola.
Monroe consulted his cabinet...