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John Marshall, the Federalist Legacy and James Monroe's Foreign Policy

  • Marshall court: he helped advance the interests of propertied & commercial classes & he helped strengthen the power of the federal government
  • Support of the Marshall Court upheld corporate charters & eminent domain
    • Fletcher v. Peck
    • Dartmouth College v. Woodward
    • McCulloch v. Maryland
    • Gibbons v. Ogden
    • Johnson v. McIntosh
    • Worcester v. Georgia
  • Monroe Doctrine: The western hemisphere (Latin America) is the “backyard” of the U.S. & therefore off-limits to Europeans & the U.S. also agreed to stay out of European affairs

John Marshall, the Federalist Legacy and James Monroe's Foreign Policy

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Overview 0:09
  • John Marshall and the Federalist Legacy 1:10
    • Judicial Authority, the Supremacy of Laws and Traditional Property Rights
    • The Interests of Propertied and Commercial Classes
    • Long Term Mark on the Court
  • Fletcher v. Peck in 1810 3:30
    • Land Frauds
    • Contract Clause
    • Property Rights
  • Dartmouth College v. Woodward in 1819 7:40
    • College's Charter
    • Expanded the Meaning of Contract Clause
    • The Corporate Charter
  • McCulloch v. Maryland in 1819 9:20
    • Constitutionality of the Bank of the United States
    • Implied Powers
    • Power to Destroy
  • Gibbons v. Ogden in 1824 12:23
    • A State Grant
    • Interstate Commerce
  • Johnson v. McIntosh in 1823 15:01
    • Sold Land to White Settlers
    • Take Land from Tribes
  • Worcester v. Georgia in 1823 17:49
    • Establish Native American Sovereignty
    • Marshall Affirmed the Rights of Tribes
  • Foreign Policy Under Monroe 20:39
    • U.S.-Latin American Trade Relations
    • Neutrality
    • Establish Diplomatic Relations
  • Monroe Doctrine in 1823 25:53
    • “Backyard” of the U.S.
    • Nationalistic Policy
    • Secretary o State John Q. Adams
  • Example 1 30:00
  • Example 2 32:43

Transcription: John Marshall, the Federalist Legacy and James Monroe's Foreign Policy

Welcome back to

This lesson is on John Marshall and the federalist legacy, and James Monroe's foreign policy.0003

We are going to talk about the impact of the Marshall court.0011

I would certainly say that he had one of the most profound influences over,0017

especially, the 1800’s, as far as judicial decision making and leadership.0022

We are going to focus on several of the key court cases during this era,0030

and how this will raise up a precedent for, how the Federal government is going to take a stand on several constitutional issues.0036

And then, we are also going to focus on foreign policy under James Monroe,0046

continue talking about foreign policy under James Monroe.0051

Probably, the biggest accomplishment during the Monroe administration was the Monroe doctrine,0056

which will set the foundation for foreign policy in Latin America that has far reaching implications.0063

Let us get into it.0071

We have talked about John Marshall in the past, it cannot be overstated that his legacy is going to be very significant in the long run.0073

Perhaps, he is considered the most influential Chief Justice in U.S. history.0086

As you could see here, he was on the bench for almost 35 years from 1801 to 1835.0095

He is going to strengthen the judicial branch at the expense of the other two branches, and the states.0104

He is definitely influenced by the federalist vision.0111

He was committed to judicial authority, the supremacy of laws,0117

and especially Federal laws, and the constitution, and traditional private property rights.0123

A lot of his rulings are going to be influenced by his beliefs in supporting business and private property.0134

This is certainly going to help the propertied interest, at this time,0145

and help with the growth of our economy during the 1800’s.0152

Even though, we will see the Virginia dynasty being in charge of the executive branch,0159

the impact of John Marshall is also going to help to check and balance0167

the democratic Republican influence during the 1800’s, in the first years of U.S. history.0175

It cannot be overstated, long tread mark of the court by strengthening the power of the Supreme Court.0183

This is part of the federalist legacy, even though, the Federalist party kind of dies out,0191

especially in terms of its long lasting ability to remain in the regular politics.0196

It dies out, besides what happens in the court.0208

The first court case I would like to focus on is Fletcher vs. Peck.0213

I’m just going to provide a little bit of background information.0219

As you could see that this case involved a series of land frauds in Georgia.0222

What was the issue?0231

Should the Georgia legislature of 1796 repeal the act and thus grant land to the Yazoo Land Company?0232

The dispute in this case arose in 1795, when the Georgia legislature granted some 35,000,000 acres of state land,0240

involving vast tracts around the Yazoo river, and what is now Alabama and Mississippi,0250

to private speculators for the asking price of 1.5¢ per acre.0257

It was soon discovered that all but one of the legislators who voted for the grant had been bribed.0262

In 1796, a new state legislature repealed the fraudulent grant.0269

And in 1800, John Peck purchased some land that was part of the 1795 grant.0274

In 1803, he sold 13,000 acres off to Robert Fletcher for $3000.0280

When Fletcher discovered the sale of the land had been violated by state law, however,0291

he brought suit against Peck for damages, claiming Peck had lied to him and promising he had good title to the land.0302

A Federal circuit court ruled for Peck and Fletcher appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.0309

We are going to see that the issue here was whether the Act of 1796 repealing the Act of 1795 was a violation of Article 1 Section 10 of the Constitution.0317

In other words, whether, once the state of Georgia had finalized the original sale of the land,0329

it could constitutionally repeal that sale or whether did the Constitution prohibited it from doing so.0335

What we are going to see is Marshall will base his decision on the contract clause,0342

a passage in the Constitution stating that no state can pass laws impairing the obligation of contracts,0351

and the concept that a land grant was a valid contract.0363

That is the main emphasis here.0368

He is going to strengthen the validity of the contract.0374

He will say that this could not be repealed, even if corruption was involved.0383

This was extremely significant.0389

This was the first time the Supreme Court struck down a state law on constitutional grounds.0391

These far reaching decisions safeguarded vested property rights.0398

A few things here, again, this is where we see a very federalists stance.0403

An emphasis on federal power and striking down state law, very significant, an anti states’ right approach.0409

This is very far reaching and also showing that the Supreme Court also will support vested property rights and protecting part of state investors.0421

Ultimately, it is going to help promote the development of the national capitalist economy,0433

a very important decision that is going to set a precedent even for other Supreme Court cases.0440

That is another thing to keep in mind is that other Chief Justices will certainly refer to previous decisions, in their decision-making process.0448

Another one we are going to talk about, I would not go into quite as much depth and just to focus on the main issues here.0462

In the Dartmouth College vs. Woodward case,0469

we are going to see that republicans tried to revise the college's charter, to convert it into a public university.0473

We are going to see that this is another concern over private property, and also kind of an issue of the contract,0482

which the college charter is going to be a main characteristic that will help to influence the outcome of this court case.0493

Daniel Webster argued the college's case under the same rationale for the Fletcher case.0507

As I was just saying that, many times court cases build off of one another.0514

We are going to see that this court case expanded the meaning of the contract clause.0521

The court ends up ruling that the contract clause of the Constitution protects the corporate charter granted to Dartmouth0528

from interference by New Hampshire's republican controlled state legislature.0536

They could not turn these private lands into public lands for the university.0542

Very significant case, kind of pro-charter, pro-business, pro-private property.0552

The next one we are going to talk about is McCulloch vs. Maryland, another significant court case.0563

I will give you a little background here.0570

An issue in this case was the constitutionality of the active congress chartering the second bank of the United States in 1816.0572

As you may remember, the creation of the bank, in the first place, was a federalist idea, tying into this and this court case.0582

Although the bank was controlled by private stockholders, it was the depository of Federal funds.0594

In addition, it had authority to issue notes that along with the notes of States’ banks, circulated as legal tender.0601

In return for its privileged position, the bank agreed to loan the Federal government money in lieu of taxes.0610

State banks looked on the Bank of the United States as a competitor and resented its privileged position.0616

When state banks began to fall in depression of 1818, they blamed their troubles on the bank.0624

One such state was Maryland which imposed a hefty tax on any bank not chartered within the state.0633

The Bank of the United States was the only bank not chartered within a state.0641

When the bank's Baltimore branch refused to pay the tax, Maryland sued James McCulloch,0645

cashier of the branch, for collection of the debt.0652

McCulloch responded that the tax was unconstitutional.0655

We will see a state court ruled for Maryland and the court of appeals affirmed.0662

McCulloch ends up taking this to the Supreme Court.0667

What was decided?0672

We are going to see actually that the court upholds the constitutionality of the Bank of the United States.0674

Again, another pro-federalist stance, they denied Maryland the power to tax a branch of the bank.0682

Ultimately, we are going to see that this case will confirm the implied powers of Congress,0692

which will strength the power of the Federal government, and show the strength of the judicial branch as well.0701

We will see a unanimous opinion written by Chief Justice Marshall that they will say that,0712

this taxation by Maryland was unconstitutional.0719

There is a famous quotation within the decision that Marshall says, the power to tax is the power to destroy.0726

Again, because this was unfair and unconstitutional of Maryland to tax the bank.0736

Moving along, another important case, Gibbons vs. Ogden.0745

The dispute in the Gibbons’ case concern competing claims of rival steamship franchises.0751

The state of New York gave Aaron Ogden an exclusive license to operate steamboat ferries0760

between New Jersey and New York City on the Hudson River.0766

Thomas Gibbons, another steamboat operator ran two ferries along the same route.0770

Ogden sought an injunction, which is a court order compelling someone to take an action or to refrain from taking an action.0776

In this case, this is what he is going to end up doing and they have competing rights for access, of promoting their business.0786

It ends up Ogden’s has an injunction against Gibbons in the New York State court,0803

claiming that the state has given him exclusive rights to operate the route.0810

In response, Gibbons claimed that he had the right to operate on the route pursuant to 1793 Act of Congress regulating coastal commerce.0814

We are going to see in the end, is that chief Justice Marshall ruled for Gibbons,0826

holding that New York’s exclusive grant to Ogden violated the Federal licensing act of 1793.0832

He is going to interpret the commerce clause of the United States for the first time.0840

This reads that Congress shall have power to regulate commerce among the several states.0849

According to the court, the word commerce included not just articles in interstate but also the intercourse among the states including navigation.0855

Here we go, we are going to see that this will nullify a state grant giving an exclusive right to use navigable waters within a state.0868

Again, the significance of it that this court strengthened Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce,0879

showing the supremacy of the national government and its power, the Federal government.0888

The next one is going to relate to Native American relations.0904

As you may remember that in the constitution, the status of Native Americans was actually quite vague.0910

This is in the context of the aftermath of the revolutionary war.0920

I will explain some background for this as well.0929

Two grants were made over the same parcel of land.0933

The first was made to two Indian tribes prior to the American revolutionary war.0937

A second grant was made to the United States.0944

The second grant, the United States had received the land by virtue of its capture from British troops during the revolutionary war.0948

The United States kept this land until 1819 and then sold it,0956

claiming its rights to own the land through having seized it during the revolutionary war.0960

The question at hand at the time, do Native Americans have the power to sell land?0968

Another question related in this court case, as occupants of the land, can Native American sell it to settlers?0977

Can mere occupants of the land have the right to sell or transfer the title of the land?0985

This is what happened.0991

The Illinois and Chikasaw tribe sold land to white settlers but later signed a treaty with the Federal government,0992

ceding territory that included the same parcels to the United States.1000

What we are going to see is that the court decided that Native Americans had a right to their tribal lands,1005

and that only the Federal government could buy or take from the tribes and not from individuals.1012

There is another aspect to this that also could be viewed as offensive.1021

This is showing that it is the Federal government that has the right to buy and take land,1026

and not individuals, especially, land that had been confiscated from the British.1034

Of course, Native Americans were very vulnerable because they were protected previously by the British.1040

And now here we are seeing that they are going to be vulnerable to lose land.1046

That if they ended up acquiring land on their own, they should be able to buy and sell it.1052

Very significant court case, and clarifying the role of Native Americans and their right to property, or lack, thereof.1060

Another case, this, we will come back to actually when we talk about the Andrew Jackson administration in a few lessons.1072

This one, Worcester vs. Georgia.1082

This is a little bit later in 1832 but I also think it is important to bring up, at this point in time,1085

just to tie together all of the different court cases under John Marshall.1092

What we are going to see is that, this is one of the two major court cases involving Cherokee Native Americans.1101

We are going to see that the court ends up invalidating Georgia’s laws1111

that attempted to regulate access by U.S. citizens to Cherokee country.1117

This one, in many ways, ties to the last one, that only the Federal government can do that, not states or local governments.1123

This is also going to be very significant because Native American sovereignty was established officially.1133

Even though, it had been vaguely mentioned in the Constitution, this is going to make it much more clear.1142

And in fact, the wording within the decision is that Native American communities are distinct political communities,1150

having territorial boundaries within which their authority is exclusive.1157

That is also very significant.1164

And in many ways, it could help the Cherokee people at the time.1166

As we see, Marshall affirmed the rights of tribes to remain free from the authority of state governments.1173

That is why we even still see the legacy of this today, that Native American tribes are not required to the same tax laws,1179

for instance, as people who are non-Native Americans should not live on reservations.1188

That is something that is very significant in the long run, in clarifying the status of Native Americans.1196

Once we talk about Andrew Jackson, we are going to see that he is going to ignore this ruling and take matters into his own hands,1205

and defy the law which is going to anger John Marshall tremendously.1213

But we will come back to that later.1219

To show that John Marshall, once again took leadership,1221

and tried to clarify some of the laws that were written or some of the concepts that were introduced in the Constitution.1228

That will set a precedent for years to come and for other Supreme Court justices to draw from.1239

The legacy of Marshall, very important, there are other court cases as well that you could familiarize yourself with.1249

But those are some of the major ones that you should be feel confident about.1256

You can always read more if you want to know the details of each case, and I do recommend that.1264

We are going to move on and talk about foreign policy under James Monroe.1272

You may also recall that he had a very strong successful, intelligent, secretary of state,1278

John Quincy Adams, his father was John Adams.1287

He grew up in a political family, and I would certainly say that1291

John Quincy Adams was very well versed, and traveled extensively, and will be very influential over Monroe's policies.1298

To put this into context, after the American revolution, we know revolution spreads around the world.1309

It spreads to France, we know that there is a Haitian revolution.1315

Also, revolutions are going to spread throughout Latin America.1321

This is going to, in many ways, open up opportunities for the United States1327

to reach out to these newly independent countries, as Spain is on the decline.1333

For the most part, Spain had colonized most of Latin America except for Brazil, that had been colonized by the Portuguese,1339

and some smaller countries, the British were in there a little bit but not as significantly as Spain.1349

Anyway, the United States wanted to take advantage of this change, this turning point in Latin America.1358

The United States definitely wants to start investing in Latin America and set up trade relations.1367

It was kind of interesting also, at the time, in the aftermath of the War of 1812,1377

we are seeing that relations with Great Britain are starting to improve.1383

But the United States is also trying to assert itself as a power, as sovereign power to be reckoned with,1387

and that we want to be respected by other great powers in the world.1395

The United States does have a rivalry with Great Britain but it is also trying to develop diplomatic relations.1401

And try to foster a relationship, where Great Britain can be an ally.1410

We will see that in 1815, the U.S. does proclaim neutrality in the wars between Spain and its colonies.1418

But on the other hand, it is looking to make relations with Latin America.1427

Although, there is no doubt about it that there certainly were some prejudices that were prominent at this point in time,1435

concerning anti-catholic sentiment, racist sentiments.1444

That many of the white men, for lack of a better term in government, at this point in time, were very suspicious of Latin American leaders.1453

The other thing to keep in mind is that a lot of the leaders who do end up ruling Latin American countries1468

tend to be these military men or what we call caudillos.1474

A lot of the governments were not democratic, in other words.1481

But we are going to see that the United States will try to establish trade relations and a major presence in the western hemisphere.1484

That is going to be extremely significant.1497

The big issue is while this transition is happening,1505

and Monroe does establish diplomatic relations with five nations, La Plata, Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Mexico.1508

In fact, the United States was the first to recognize the independent country of Mexico.1517

Mexico obviously will be our neighbor.1524

Of course, we are just starting to expand farther and farther westward.1527

There is interest in establishing trade relations and diplomatic relations at this point, in the 1820’s.1532

What else do I want to say about this.1543

There are so many things to say.1545

We are going to see that the United States is looking to become a strong power in the western hemisphere.1548

They really want to squash and repel any other major imperialist powers in Latin America.1559

The United States wants to become the major power.1570

And eventually, not at this point in the early 1820’s but certainly by the 1890’s.1574

When we get to Theodore Roosevelt, we will see that the United States is going to become more of an imperialist power.1582

But at this point, we are starting to establish the foundation.1590

We are primarily interested in trade relations.1594

The Monroe doctrine was a really important message that Monroe will deliver to the Congress, December 2, 1823.1599

He delivers this to Congress and it becomes a cornerstone for U.S. foreign policy in Latin America.1611

The U.S. considers any foreign challenge of sovereignty of existing American nations as a threat.1618

A simple way of putting it is that, the western hemisphere is the backyard of the United States,1625

and therefore, off limits to Europeans.1633

This is our sphere of influence, in other words.1636

This is very patronizing, this is very arrogant.1640

This idea that they are superior and this is their region.1644

It was obviously very dismissive to Latin Americans.1650

But again, putting this into context, this is the ethos of the time.1654

Not to justify it but just to explain it.1661

The United States, in turn, agreed to stay out of European affairs.1665

While you are carving out different parts of the world and creating colonies, we would not intervene.1670

Let us have this sphere of the world and you can carve up Africa or Asia, Southeast Asia, and so forth.1676

We are going to see that, even though, this is not so significant in terms of U.S. presence on the ground in Latin America in the early 1800’s,1688

it is going to create the foundation and the mindset that will have its significant impact in the long run.1698

Yes, it is very nationalistic and shows the pride of the time, and that United States is asserting itself as this major power.1711

Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, very influential over this policy.1720

Even though it is named the Monroe doctrine, the President takes the credit.1726

He believed that joint action with Britain would restrict U.S. opportunities for further expansion in the hemisphere.1730

This is kind of what informed it.1737

In other words that, the United States had to distance itself from Great Britain and assert itself.1738

He also believed that if the U.S. acted alone, Britain could be counted upon to stand by the U.S. policy.1749

This is a transition point.1755

We are going to see that England, in fact, will respect the United States in asserting this policy and this doctrine.1756

No European power would risk going to war in South America.1766

If it did, Adams believed the British would defeat the aggressor.1770

That this is where we are going to see the British will be on our side, that we are common people and we have common interests.1776

And how much interest did Great Britain have in Latin America at this time to say, we are colonizing other parts of the world.1787

Very significant in the long run and we will see later on it will be built upon.1794

We are going to move into the assessment.1801

Look, here we go, the first excerpt here from the Monroe doctrine.1804

With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power we have not interfered, and shall not interfere.1813

But with the governments who have declared their independence, and maintained it, and whose independence we have acknowledged,1823

we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling, by any European power in any other light1829

than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition towards the United States.1838

No European power oppressing them.1845

Our power, in regard to Europe, which is not to interfere in the internal concerns of any of its powers,1851

but in regard to those continents, the Americas, circumstances are eminently and conspicuously different.1861

It is impossible that the allied powers should extend their political system1868

to any portion of either continent, without endangering our peace and happiness.1872

Nor can anyone believe that our Southern Brethren, if left to themselves, would adopt it of their own accord.1878

An excerpt from the Monroe doctrine.1889

You should know what this is about, we just read over it.1892

Who of the following provided the strongest influence on President Monroe in the writing of the Monroe doctrine?1897

We just talked about this, hopefully you will recall that the answer is John Quincy Adams.1910

Monroe counted on which of the following European nations to be an ally of any nation challenge the Monroe doctrine?1924

Was it Britain, France, Russia, or Spain?1932

The answer is Britain.1936

Moving on, which best explains why people in the United States were supportive of the Monroe doctrine?1941

National sentiment, sectional sentiment, states' rights, or anti British sentiment?1947

The answer is national sentiment.1955

Next example, Chief Justice Marshall, let the ends be legitimate, let it be within the scope of the constitution,1965

and all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end,1973

which are not prohibited but coincides with the letter and spirit of the Constitution are constitutional.1978

The government of the union, unlimited in its powers, is supreme within its sphere of action, and its laws,1986

when made in pursuance of the Constitution formed the supreme law of the land because the power to tax is the power to destroy.1994

Sound familiar?2006

Here he is definitely referring to not only the supremacy of the Constitution, supremacy clause,2012

but we are also seeing that he is talking about enumerated powers.2021

Powers that are specifically mentioned in the Constitution.2025

Look at the question here, let us see.2033

Which of the following did Chief Justice Marshall base his decision?2035

States’ rights, supremacy clause, sovereignty lies at the state level, or reserved powers?2042

I think I just alluded to the answer to this question.2052

The answer is supremacy clause.2057

Again, whenever you see John Marshall, you want to think federalist policy, supreme constitutional law, and against States’ rights.2059

Last question, in McCulloch vs. Maryland, Marshall argued that,2073

The Maryland tax of the bank was unconstitutional.2078

The Maryland tax of the bank was constitutional.2081

Congress did not have the power to regulate interstate trade.2084

Judicial review was constitutional.2088

The answer, consistent with the idea of negating States’ laws and Federal supremacy.2093

We see in McCulloch vs. Maryland that under Marshall, he will argue the Maryland tax of the bank was unconstitutional.2105

The power to tax is the power to destroy.2114

With that, I shall leave you, and thank you for watching