Chief Justice John Marshall

The Richmond Home Of John Marshall – The Fourth Chief Justice Of The United States

Portrait of John Marshall from the Supreme Court Historical Society.

John Marshall served as a soldier during the American Revolution. In 1780, John Marshall began taking classes at the College of William and Mary. During his tenure at the college he attended George Wythe’s lectures on Blackstone’s Commentaries, Matthew Bacon’s New Abridgment of the Law and the Acts of Virginia General Assembly. John Marshall also partook in a self-study in law.

One year after General Charles Cornwallis’s surrender at the Battle of Yorktown, John Marshall was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1782. John Marshall was elected again to the same seat in 1787. In 1790, John Marshall moved into his Richmond home which became known as the “John Marshall House”. While residing at his Richmond home, he was elected to his third and last term in the Virginia House of Delegates in 1795. In 1797, he accepted an appointment, as one of three envoys, sent on a diplomatic mission to France. Although offered appointment to the United States Supreme Court in 1798, John Marshall declined to continue his private practice in law.

In 1799, John Marshall was elected to a single term in the United States House of Representatives. According to the United States of America’s Department of State’s Office of the Historian,

“President John Adams nominated John Marshall to be Secretary of State on May 12, 1800, the same day that Adams dismissed Timothy Pickering. The U.S. Senate confirmed Marshall as Secretary of State the next day. He served as Secretary of State from June 6, 1800, until February 4, 1801, and then as ad interim Secretary of State until March 4, 1801”.

On January 20, 1801, President John Adams nominated John Marshall to become the fourth Chief Justice of the United States. In January 27th, 1801, the United States Senate confirmed the Presidential appointment. Chief Justice John Marshall continued to serve as Secretary of State throughout the remainder of President John Adams’ term. John Marshall continued to hold the position of Secretary of State, while also serving as the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, until shortly after the beginning of Thomas Jefferson’s presidency.

John Marshall served as Chief Justice for over 34 years, the longest tenure of any Chief Justice that has served. In 1803, John Marshall helped establish the legal precedent of “judicial review”, which made the Supreme Court as the final authority on the meaning of the Constitution, in the case Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137. On July 6th, 1835, Chief Justice John Marshall died at the age of seventy-nine.

In 1962, 128 years after the death of John Marshall, the “John Marshall House” was designated as a National Historical Landmark by the United States Department of Interior. The organization, Preservation Virginia, currently owns the historical home.

In 1909, the John Marshall High School, was established nextdoor to the John Marshall House. In 1915, during the onslaught of the First World War, the first military training program within a public school, was established at the John Marshall High School. In 1960, the John Marshall High School closed down and was eventually demolished by the city of Richmond. A historical marker, along with a statue of a military cadet, was placed on the property where the school once stood.

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