Working from primary sources, Jean Edward Smith has drawn an elegant portrait of a remarkable man. Lawyer, jurist, scholars; soldier, comrade, friend; and, most especially, lover of fine Madeira, good food, and animated table talk: the Marshall who emerges from these pages is noteworthy for his very human qualities as for his piercing intellect, and, perhaps most extraordinary, for his talents as a leader of men and a molder of consensus. A man of many parts, a true son of the Enlightenment, John Marshall did much for his country, and John Marshall: Definer of a Nation demonstrates this on every page.
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Chief Justices of the Supreme Court, whose appointments are for life, have a single vote in decisions but are instrumental in forming court opinions. John Marshall served as Chief Justice on the Supreme Court longer than anyone else and authored the decisions that established the court's primacy on constitutional questions. The Liberty Bell in Philadelphia was a symbol of the American Revolution that cracked while tolling for the death of John Marshall.