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The Jackson Era

The Jackson Era

John Marshall in The Jackson Era

John Marshall (1755-1835) was the third Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, serving from 1801 until his death in 1835. Born in Virginia, he served in the Continental Army during the Revolution. After the war, he practiced law in Virginia. Marshall turned down George Washington's invitation to serve as his first Attorney General, but he took part in the "XYZ" delegation to France in 1797-98, represented his Virginia district in the House of Representatives from 1799-1800, and briefly served as Secretary of State under John Adams from 1800 -01. John Adams named Marshall to the Supreme Court in the final months of his presidency.

During Andrew Jackson's presidency, Marshall's Court ruled on two critical cases clarifying the relationship between Native Americans and the state and federal governments (Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, 1831; Worcester v. Georgia, 1832). In the first case he ruled that the Cherokees were a "domestic dependent" nation, not a foreign nation, and therefore the case did not fall under the Court's arena of original jurisdiction. In the second case, Marshall ruled on the side of the Cherokees in recognizing them as a politically independent community and therefore subject only to the authority of the federal government—and not the state governments--via its treaty making powers.

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