History is an important tool when it comes to understanding American law. History is what the justices of the United States Supreme Court use when they want to ascertain what the framers meant when they drafted the Constitution of 1787 and its first ten amendments in 1789. And history is also the tool we use when we want to know how and why the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution and its amendments have changed over time.
Can a biography help us explore big historical questions?
Can knowing about the life of John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, help us better understand the Supreme Court and how it came to occupy the powerful place it has in the United State government?
The Doing History: Biography series continues in this episode of Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History and explores these questions with Richard Brookhiser, author of John Marshall: The Man Who Made The Supreme Court (Basic Books, 2018). You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/211