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tv   The Chief Justice Who Saved the Nation  CSPAN  January 31, 2015 9:15am-10:21am EST

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now in a museum and they get let out and they don't know they have been expelled forever. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. >> coming up next on booktv, historian harlow giles unger discusses his book "john marshall: the chief justice who saved the nation". this is of little over an hour. >> ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the last installment of our blockbuster first ever constitutional book fair. [applause] >> thanks to all of you for having stayed with us through these remarkably substantive and engaging ours. i am so proud of you, our great in cc members and audience who
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are so hungry for a constitutional education that you set aside bill of rights day to hear the best -- ended a game yourselves and we are so lucky to have you at the center. those of you who are watching on c-span who don't happen to be members of the constitution center can become members by going to our web site constitutioncenter.org, signing up and getting access to our incredible videos and pod cast and programs and symposia and you have access to the press non-partisan constitutional debate in the country every weekend everyday. i have done my duty with three moderated panels and i will turn over the last one to a dear friend who is a superb moderator. i will introduce him but let me just say to our c-span audience, if you're attending and i am jeffrey rosen, the only institution in america chartered by congress, you can do it, to
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disseminate information about the u.s. constitution on a non-partisan basis. beautiful. that is what the constitution centers. we open the phenomenal exhibit displays and one of the 12 original copies of the bill of rights. 2 has managed to seewho has managed to see it during the break? so honored to display this priceless document with a rights declaration of independence and constitution for the next three years the come sea in philadelphia and online and tweak your questions to@constitutioncenter using the hash tag in cc bill of rights. we have to get their travel from an exploration of the routes and meaning of the first amendment to the debate between thomas paine and edmund burke to a vigorous debate between the
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libertarian and democratic vision of the constitution and now we will hear from the author of an acclaimed new biography of the chief justice who brought it all together and established the supreme court has a strong coequal branch of government and solidified the power we have been talking about in the last session of judicial review. was not obvious before mark refreeze is madison that court had the power to strike down laws that conflicted with the constitution also many assumed the power existed and you could say it is implicit in the federalist papers particularly federalists' 78. it took marshall's opinion in marbury vs. madison to establish that power and we will learn about the great chief justice his vision and his battles to define america. the book is written by harlow giles unger, but educated historian, former distinguished visiting fellow in american history at george washington mount vernon he has appeared
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frequently on the history channel and our favorite channel c-span, spoken extensively and is the author of three works on early american history and ten biographies of the founding father including john hancock, george washington and john quincy adams. the new book is "john marshall: the chief justice who saved the nation". moderating our final discussion is judge david wecht, a great friend of the center and you are in very capable hands with him, he served on superior court of pennsylvania since 2012. before that he was trial judge on the court of common pleas, and he has presided over important cases, he has been an administrative judge and is incredibly excellent moderator. please join me in welcoming
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harlow giles unger and judge david wecht. [applause] >> thank you. thank you so much it is a great pleasure to be here in front of such a wonderful audience with such a distinguished scholar and author who has given us a fantastic new book about the great chief justice john marshall, the book is subtitled the chief justice who saved the nation. i am sure harlow giles unger will give you insights, he can only clear his throat before the curtain comes down.
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i suppose the first question i would put to you is why john marshall and why now? >> don marshall did indeed save the nation. there's a great deal of interest in the founding fathers and john marshall is most important of the founding fathers after george washington. george washington helped create the nation but john marshall as supreme court chief justice, the first effective chief justice, he was the fourth chief justice of the first effective one used the court to defend the nation against potential tyranny by the executive and judicial branches of government. the constitution is of very vague document and cable almost all powers to the house of representatives, the house of representatives, the only body elected directly by the people themselves, the senate was
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appointed by various state legislatures at the time. the president was elected by all but durrell college who themselves were appointees of state legislatures and the judiciary, a court of appeals, it had no power, it had power to hear appeals of cases from lower courts and either of holes or deny the decisions of the lower courts. chief justice marshall stepped in at a time when washington had just died and the success of the founding fathers john adams thomas jefferson alexander hamilton, aaron burr called all of them comrades at one point, either comrades at the
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continental congress and declaration of independence in battle in the case of aaron burr but they were all flying at washington's fallen man's land wanted to be president. jefferson won in 1800 and who immediately dissolved the supreme court, rand and new judiciary act through congress would send all the justices riding circuits for two years of the supreme court didn't meet for two years. adams in his last four years of office ramage a through laws, the famous alien sedition act which suspended the first amendment of the bill of rights and made it illegal to criticize the government with speech or in print and he said the dozen
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journalists and one congressman to jail for criticizing the government. there was growing tyranny in the federal government. congress couldn't meet very often, congressman live far away there were no highways, no public transportation it took days, weeks to get to congress so the president was trying to run the government. washington was the first one to seize, to use their innocence powers that were not granted to him under the constitution since troops to war against the the indians, no constitutional power to send troops to war without consent of congress, the government ran out of money, you can't call congress into recession, he said alexander hamilton to a local bank to borrow money. totally unconstitutional. similarly the alien sedition acts were unconstitutional.
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these men were left alone to try to run the government. on marshall when he saw what jefferson intended to do said enough. marshall advised addams to fill up every empty space in the federal judiciary with federalists who believed in a strong central government under the constitution because he warned that jefferson, a republican, was he enamored by the french revolution but people who run the nation, he feared anarchy. adams did that. one of them appointed to a low-level justice of the peace, william marbury who became the most famous justice of the peace in american history.
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famous case which most of you probably remember mentioned in the history books, are very vs. madison, jefferson comes to power, madison takes his office as secretary of state which was a more powerful office in those days and there are these commissions that have been signed and stamped by the adams administration and had to be delivered to these people named as judges and justices. madison asked jefferson what should i do with these and jefferson said tear them up. i will name people to those hopes. marbury suit and demanded the supreme court give him a writ of -- kind of a court order forcing madison to deliver him the commission. jefferson basically dissolves the supreme court. they don't meet. this was in 180 one. they don't meet for eight years.
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in 1808 they finally come together again and handled this marshall and the others come 2 decision, marshall rights the decision and it says madison and jefferson violated the constitution, they cannot remove a judge under the constitution, federal judge and only be removed -- he cannot be removed at the whim of the president and the president is not above the law. jefferson fought the president was like a king, he could do no wrong. marshall said he can do wrong and he has no power, he has no rights other than those as a citizen of the united states so that was one part of this decision, telling him you have to deliver the commission to marbury.
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he then finds against marbury and says i can't give you a wreck because you have to go through the lower courts and work your way up on appeal and marbury or his attorney full out an obscure section of the judiciary act of 1789 which allows a demand for a writ from the supreme court in specific cases. marshall turns around and says that is unconstitutional. he had no right to do that. nothing in the constitution gave him the right to declare a part of the law unconstitutional but he did it. to this day it is called
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judicial review. he invented and gave the supreme court the power to review laws, first federal laws and declare them constitutional or unconstitutional. that was the key part of marbury vs. madison. that gave the supreme court the first power over the other two branches throughout history, throughout history. each branch of government has violated the constitution and violations, no one can arrest anybody and said you can't violate the constitution. the only reason we have a government, the only reason the constitution survives is not because of the constitution but because when one branch oversteps its mark the other two branches tend to push back. so if the president over steps
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the line, congress can pass a law that prevents it from -- prevent that first prevents that act from taking affect. or they can actually bring him to trial. they can impeach him and the senate can try him for high crimes and misdemeanors. if the court oversteps its bounds congress can pass a law that goes around that decision and basically if congress oversteps its mark the supreme court can declare it unconstitutional and this is what has held our system to get there. not the constitution itself but because everybody in power in this nation from small-town sheriff in mississippi to
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president nixon, to sam rayburn, everybody in power in this country has violated the constitution or tried to do so in one way or another and it is not the constitution that stops from. is one of the other two branches. would you agree with that? >> that is a worthy in sight. i suppose i give the of indians and opportunity from hear from you a little bit about where marshall came from the family background. what was the meal you under which he came up? >> like many in power at that time he came from the va. he was a farm boy in perfect but a farm boy on hundreds of acres. his father thomas marshall was a good friend, they lived not far from washington, was good friend
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of george washington and george washington took thomas marshall out on surveying trips where they surveyed the lands of lord fairfax. what is called the northern neck of virginia, a huge piece of land at chesapeake bay was owned by lord fairfax before the revolution. washington and marshall were favorites of him and he sent them out to survey his land after virginia threatened, va. commonwealth of virginia was going bankrupt and threatened to seize lands that were not lived in. fairfax quickly saw to it that his land was surveyed so he could keep up that property. john marshall was thomas marshall's firstborn, oldest of
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15 children. all of whom survived which was rare in those days. the oldest of this. he became a surrogate leader in a sense. he salt their arguments because the father was surveying all the time and thomas was the oldest and became this wonderful negotiator of all these battles between his brothers and sisters. he was educated by his father and mother as a youngster and then sent to a school in the woods log cabin school, quite a few miles away 100 miles away. he lived at the school, there was another boy in the school at the same time, little fellow named james monroe and the two became close friends marshall
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would stay at monroe house occasionally and they remained close friends to the end of their days. truly close friends even though publicly at times they were on opposite sides of the fence as monroe became a republican and marshall became a federalist. marshall and monroe went to work. when patrick henry called they went to war as boys they fought in the battle of new york they fought in trenton, they fought at brandywine, they were both at valley forge together for the winter and the officers could share with each other and so here they were two heroes of the revolutionary war after yorktown. neither of them fought at yorktown not because they didn't want to but officers had to recruit their own regiments, their own companies. neither of them, all the young virginians had gone to war and
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were not going to go twice. and recruiting of men to fight at yorktown which is why it was so essential that the french armies complement washington's shrinking continental army at yorktown. actors they went to law school monroe studied under jefferson at williamsburg at william and mary and marshall studied under judge white a signature of the declaration of independence. white being a federalist jefferson being a republican they both learned different philosophies of the law when they studied law. marshall decided to practice law while he was there. he married the love of his life
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and the parents were friends of his parents. pauley was 14 years younger, they had ten children together eight of whom survived and live a happy married life, one of the warmest love stories to come out of the revolutionary war. end he was very happy, loved being a father, loved being a husband and of practicing law. he really did not want to leave richmond they built a beautiful home in richmond. when adams came to power adams asked marshall to jo lin king a commission to go to france and negotiate peace with france. france was showing a lot of our ships in the caribbean, adams
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helped to resolve these problems with france. when marshall came back from those renegotiations he was hailed as a hero for having stood up to the interests of the united states, was elected to congress and in the last year of his administration, when the supreme court chief justice had died, adams had to appoint a new chief justice. this would have been the fourth chief justice, not a very important position, the government had been in operation for 11 years. over those 11 years only 11 court decisions came out so that is one decision a year. there were not many laws on the books and 95% of americans were farmers way out too busy
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tilling the land to bring lawsuits. it wasn't a very important job. adams offered it to the original first chief justice john jay. he had resigned and wasn't going to go back to it. adams turns to marshland says who should i appoint? don't have the slightest idea. adams says i guess i have to appoint you. and he did and that was the beginning of a 35 year span, longest span of any chief justice in american history. most decisions in american history, 1200 decisions of which he, john marshall, wrote nearly half. republicans came and went, federalists came and when each
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with a political agenda that the president who appointed them hoped they would stick to when they got on the court. when they got on the court john marshall had this winning personality, turned them around and they became centrist moderates and dropped to their political affiliations and in affect pledged in the interests of one thing only, the constitution. those of you have to been in the military knows that the oath you take as you go into the military is to preserve, protect and defend the constitution. you don't work for the american people, you don't work for a political party, you work for the constitution and that is what marshall convinced his colleagues to do on the supreme court and that is what makes the supreme court such a great institution because it defense the constitution.
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most americans think they have constitutional rights. they don't have constitutional rights. the constitution doesn't say a word about the people. the constitution is a blueprint for government. it gives the government certain rights. even in the bill of rights the tenth amendment says any powers that have not been granted to the federal government are left to the states and the people which is a formula for anarchy but nonetheless the constitution doesn't give any of you any rights. it gives the government certain rights and so the supreme court has been the defender of those constitutional rights and the exporter of those rights over the centuries. have judges gone on the court with political agendas? yes. after marshall died his successor wrote the dread scott decision which declared all african-americans non-citizens
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with no right to vote no rights as citizens. this current supreme court seems to be politically oriented to a great extent so it happens no question about it. what they established, once you are on the court you worked for the constitution. over the years the supreme court has been of ball worked to protect the american people against tyranny, internal tyranny, executive and judiciary branches. >> when john adams elevated marshall to the chief justiceship in his last 01 of his last acts as president the incoming president thomas jefferson had to be sworn in by
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relatives that he did not very much like. >> they hated each other. >> you could tell the audience about the relationship between the two men and the course of their dealings over the years. >> they had two different diametrically opposed political philosophies, the one believing leave everything to the people let them govern. as the fringe stated in the french revolution which as you all know lead to a bloodbath and eventual tyranny anyway marshall believed in a strong central government with certain limits on its powers but nonetheless a strong central government to handle basic needs of the nation. they truly cruel to despise each
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other because jefferson was constantly trying, once he became president was constantly violating the law and the constitution. jefferson was furious. he hated to be crossed. he was furious when aaron burr jr. decided to challenge him before the election, before the 1800 elections. aaron burr was really the leader of the republican party in new york state. without new york state jefferson would have lost to adams. adams would have become very popular president and so aaron burr agreed to try to deliver his state, new york, into the republican camp jefferson's camp if i do i will be happy to be vice president. once he delivered those votes
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and it went to the election roll-call ledge, low and behold he won as many votes as jefferson. it was a tie. both had the same number of votes for the presidency. aaron burr's close friend, governor clinton of new york -- not bill -- not bill. he would make a good president and aaron burr was a very popular figure. he had been a tremendous hero in the revolutionary war. jefferson was being accused of cowardice at this point. everything he did he would -- everything he said he would do the opposite. he rode all men are created equal and goes home to run his plantation with 200 slaves. at the bottom of the declaration of independence we pledge our lives, our fortunes, our sacred honor, he never fired a shot.
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other people who signed the document went on and fought he went to charlottesville, never fired a shot. stayed out of the war completely and when he was governor of virginia patrick henry was the first governor and served three terms and under the virginia constitution he could not succeed so he elected jefferson and the election was held by the assembly, not the people the assembly elected jefferson, washington wants jefferson, is going to lead a force up the james river to try to capture richmond. jefferson ignores him, does nothing. what happens? the british cult the james
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river, and jefferson fleas. towards the end of his first term the assembly, patrick henry is one of the leaders about to take a vote to censure jefferson for is terrible leadership as governor and just then word comes in the victory at yorktown, everybody -- they let it fall. jefferson says he won't one for a second term. and everybody forgets about him for a while. in 1800 when aaron burr is running against jefferson for the presidency, aaron burr is a very popular figure. alexander hamilton rates aaron burr as more and jefferson does a few federalists' change their phone and after $36 in the house
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of representatives, the electoral college under the constitution was thrown in the house of representatives and they would vote they voted 36 times and no one could get a majority. 36 ballot, hamilton convinces a few federalists to switch to jefferson and jefferson win this end is so bitter, he will not let aaron burr. . aaron burr becomes vice president paned jefferson is plotting against him. aaron burr and alexander hamilton have their famous jewel. jefferson has republican attorneys in new york and new jersey charge aaron burr with murder. dueling was perfectly legal in new jersey. it was illegal in new york but didn't take place in new york. it took place in new jersey.
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aaron burr fleas to escape new jersey can eventually comes back to washington to the trial of justice chase who is being impeached and the trial is in the senate, aaron burr is president of the senate and vice president and he oversees that trial in a magnificent way. he is hailed as one of the great judges in that case and afterwards he then resigns because he knows jefferson is chasing him and the senate was in tears, as he spokane tendered his resignation. he goes out west and jefferson won't let him alone. he sents troops, commander of
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troops on the west suspend habeas corpus. aaron burr is brought to one, two three, four grand juries. each time the grand jury throws the case out. finally troops captured him in alabama and bring him to trial in richmond for treason. guess to the circuit judge is? john marshall. they hear the case they hear the evidence. not a shred of evidence against aaron burr and marshall froze the case out and jefferson hated him. aaron burr jefferson had a lot of friends and aaron burr was fearful and fled to europe, lived in europe until
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jefferson's administration came to an end and came back and his wife and son, in the country, and the boy had died shortly before he arrived. and she was in the south to meet him and the ship was never heard from again. practicing law in new york, substantial law practice, jefferson is responsible for destroying this man's life and costing america a great american hero. he hated marshall for ruling against him in united states versus aaron burr but it was not
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a shred of evidence and marshall did the right thing. >> footnote, it was george clinton. roger is the half brother of bill. my bad. several events of great importance occurred in pennsylvania and utah about the whiskey rebellion in and all of the events related to the capital city of our young nation early on and i wonder if you could tell the audience about marshall's role in these pennsylvania's center events. >> it was one of these instances where the american people had not really accepted the concept of a national union.
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in virginia or pennsylvania, they didn't mean the united states. during the second world war, george marshall, during the revolutionary war, each of these colonies had declared independence from britain, they didn't declare they reunited as a people but they independent nations and all jo lin king to this loose knit confederation, signed a document called the articles they didn't sign it until a few years later but they call it articles of confederation in which a sent representatives to what we now call the continental congress for to discuss common issues and try to agree on how to conduct the war together. how they are going to cooperate. they didn't cooperate. washington after a while couldn't get congress didn't have the right to tax so it
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couldn't send money for common law and washington by 1777 at valley forge, his people undying his army at one point deteriorated from over 15,000, 3500 men. the war was over. congress left philadelphia and fled to baltimore. capital fled westward. when congress left philadelphia it had 50 members. by the time it arrived in york, pa. where they tried to establish congress again 21 members left, they all fled for
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their homes. if they escape arrest for treason, this was officially british territory. this was not a union by any means during the revolutionary war and after the war was over, the battle of yorktown, they did sign the articles of confederation but it left congress with no powers. they had no federal powers and as in western europe all these independent states started fighting with each other, vermont and new york and massachusetts. and battling each other with guns where the stages meet.
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connecticut farmers try to settle in northwestern pennsylvania, the wyoming valley, it was called the wyoming river. these were foreigners, and they signed a constitution, or create this union of 13 states of 11 states. the average person when he said my country he meant virginia or delaware or the state he came from. each state, people of each state, our supreme. or they play states rights.
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or state sovereignty. and this is one of the great elements of the early marshall decisions was to try to crush this concept of state sovereignty. jefferson himself committed treason as vice president, riding up what is called kentucky resolution by which asks kentucky legislature, deemed unconstitutional. that breaks up the union. jefferson he set off a states' rights fight that continued in the days of george wallace.
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these farmers in western virginia. and the secretary of treasury and the government passed a law. it is the whisky tax. in western pennsylvania every farmer had a still to make money. it couldn't grow corn or wheat pact on wagons and appellations to march -- eastern markets, no way to transport it. they distilled it in liquor. they carry across the mountains and attacks on stills wipeout their profits, 15% tax and that
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is what they sold their whiskey for. and they rebelled. they burned down the house of the tax collector lynched a few tax collectors. and continue to march on philadelphia which is the temporary national capital during the entire washington administration. the first capital of new york for a couple years and moved to philadelphia. they are threatening to march in washington and again you search for lack of a better word, called the militia out from pennsylvania or several other states, put together an army of 13,000, congress didn't vote on it, a little over 13,000 men
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named alexander hamilton from the work inspector general washington was going to lead the army against the rebels, he went up in the attic according to martha and got a new uniform and it wouldn't fit. so had a tail and come and fit him out with a new uniform so the written stories he couldn't get onto his horse. probably the truth is the uniform split. what ever happened he finally decides to go in a carriage with alexander hamilton to carlisle, pa. where the army was gathering and all the old boys from work, all the old generals were all there, they were all called back into action they are all old men now and there is more than
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who led the morgan rifleman at saratoga, general greene is coming up from south carolina, has been running a plantation, they are all there, richard henry lee. .. >> and so it was hamilton really in the leadership role. and they march out to the
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suburbs of what is now pittsburgh. and they get there on what is called braddock's field where general pad dock and his men had been slaughtered by french and indians in the colonial days and they find nobody. all the farmers have left. they didn't have the wherewithal to fight an army. and they scour the woods around braddock's field, and they find 15 or 20 drunks -- [laughter] and they bring them back to philadelphia and march them down market street in wooden carts. and there was no cheering. everybody just watched this army go by absolutely stunned by the brutality of the whole
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operation. these people had -- washington had thrown the constitution to the winds because these people had simply organized for a redress of greeives which is their constitutional -- grievance which is their constitutional right, which is their right under the constitution. i said it the wrong way. and eventually washington grants ams amnesty to 18 of the 20 and the other two he issued pardons to. so no one ever went to jail because of the whiskey rebellion. so it was a clear case of institutional, in this case the executive, institutional usurpation of powers and the kind of tyranny any one of the armed branches of government can exercise without the checks and
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balances of the other two branches. this was during the washington administration. the supreme court had no power of any kind. the congress only met twice a year for a few weeks at a time and really didn't exert its power under the constitution. it was not until after jefferson's administration when jefferson had been backenned that a -- weakened that a wonderful young congressman was elected from the state of kentucky henry clay, and he came into the house of representatives and organized it into the house we know today. he took over the job as speaker of the house, slammed his gavel down surrounded himself with other young men who were tired of this anarchy that was going on and reminded the members of
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the house and the rest of the american people that the constitution begins "we, the people of the united states." and the house of representatives was the elect of the elect. it was their constitution. they had written it and and they were there to govern the nation. and he rebuilt the house of representatives and eventually the senate as well. he went into the senate later on. and i should, in the interest of full disclosure just mention that my book on henry clay is coming out next year. [laughter] >> i have so many things to ask you, but our audience takes precedence, so i'll turn to some of our audience questions mr. unger. we have a question, can you talk about john marshall's leadership? how was he able to build consensus so well on the court? do you think that can be done on the modern court? >> well i think it could be
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done on the modern court but i really don't know. you know all of us have known a friend or someone at work who has this knack of people just gather around him or her. they're able to win friends -- remember this book "how to win friends and influence people." some people have that gift. john marshall, obviously had that gift. it's interesting, the executive editor of my publisher robert pigeon, is in the audience, and he and i were discussing this at lunch, that we really -- except for the letters -- we really don't know how what language they used in conversing with each other. >> for one thing, they spent a great deal more time together not just within the bounds of the -- >> absolutely. >> in their lodgings, for example. >> marshall convinced, first of all, the court was isolated in washington. none of the congressmen wanted
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anything to do with them because their case might come up before these justices. so they were kind of isolated. and washington was a horrible town then, these terrible ramshackle boarding houses. marshall got the members of the court to all live at the same boarding house have breakfast and dinner together and lunch together and discuss life as well as their decisions together in the house. i mean, he managed to convince people to become moderate and to always -- to focus on constitution as a primary reason for their being there. he had a great sense of humor. he was known for his sloppy dress when he got home, and he was walking down -- and his wife became rather an invalid after a couple of miscarriages. so he started doing the walking in the market and doing some of
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the shopping. and he was dressed like a slob one day, and a young, well-dressed dandy who doesn't know who marshall was comes up, he's got a heavy turkey. would you mind carrying this turkey for me in i'll give you a half dollar. marshall takes the turkey, follows the guy to his home, takes the half dollar -- [laughter] >> that may be a warning for chief justice john roberts to dress well when he goes to the eastern market. [laughter] >> but that's the type of fellow he was. he had been a farm boy. most of these people who had grown up on farms loved farming. farming had a seasons of, a sense of -- a sense of, a sense of personness to it. it's my land and i've made, with god's help, i've made these seeds grow into fruit and vegetables and edibles. they loved the land. washington loved the land. when he toured the united states to get to know the people and let the people know him, that
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was one of the things, washington was quite a stately man, but he wanted the people to know him. and he knew the only thing they could see was a portrait, and that wasn't enough. he wanted them to see him in person. they toured new england. he'd stop at every farm, walk the fields with the farmer, pick up some dirt sniff it, rub it together, you know, and he knew the soul. he knew -- the soil. he knew what good soil was like. and so did marshall. and these were truly, to be trite, down to earth people. [laughter] even john adams as this brilliantly educated, sophisticated harvard lawyer are was a farmer grew up on a small farm. of in fact he and washington kind of had the continental congress, people thought they were arguing with each other because john adams would snap his head. he had an ugly expression, and he was talking, you know like a
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new englander. and they got close to the conversation, it turned out they were discussing farming and adams did not understand how you ran a 20,000 acre farm. and washington did not understand how you could make a profit out of a 40 acre farm. [laughter] >> well, the 20,000 audiocassetter farm comment -- can acre farm comment brings up one of our audience's other questions, what was marshall's view on slavery? >> he had a handful of slaves. most of the time they lived in the house in richmond. so the slaves they had were household slaves, and when polly, his wife got sicker and sicker and suddenly he had to travel more on the circuit his head slave was this flamboyant
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black man who dressed in these very -- the kind of clothes you see in the mardi gras. and marshall thought it was very cute and liked the young man. actually he hadn't bought -- the young man's name was spurlock. actually, he he hadn't bought spurlock, it was a wedding gift. so he never had the sense that spurlock was his property. and spurlock would speak up and spurlock was allowed to go out. and little by little spurlock became a leader among black slaves in richmond and would come back and tell marshall about some injustice. and marshall went out and defended slaves in many cases. but one of the major problems that happened in these cities like richmond in the south was
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intermarriage between slaves and nonslaves and what were the children then, were they slaves or not? and marshall fought for passage of a law that declared children born of one free parent are free. the same thing there had been a law passed to the children born of a marriage between an american indian and a native american and a slave, african-american slave was free, was basically an indian. but that had not been the case between a free african-american and an enslaved african-american. so marshall was responsible, but the person who was really responsible was spurlock. they had a wonderful relation. spurlock stayed with him all his life and then with one of his children. >> john marshall could not have
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imagined the twitter verse, but we do have a question from the twitter v.. verse. and it follows: this morning the fourth amendment permits reasonable mistakes of law by police. it's from u.s. v. riddle in 1809. what reactions do you have for that and how if at all did the fourth amendment evolve under john marshall? >> well, i would disagree with justice roberts on that decision because it was no decision. they did not hear the cause. they turned it down. they said it was not a constitutional matter. i think john marshall -- everything i've read started about john marshall is it shows him to have been one of most -- fairest judge in american
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history. so i don't remember the details of that specific case. but he would never have sided with any case of police brutality, unnecessary police brutality certainly, if the policeman is under assault he would then side with the policeman's right to defend himself. >> everybody's heard of the trail of tears and i wonder if you could tell the audience maybe in the time remaining something about marshall's role in the litigation from from georgia with the cherokee nation. >> yeah. this was one of the most important cases in marshall's 1200 cases, it's called worcester v. georgia. they discovered -- george washington had is the up a treaty with the cherokees in the
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south to try to teach them, and he sent missionaries throughout the south to teach them to become farmers and to live like americans. and they agreed. and so their lands in the south, some of them were absolutely flour you shoulding plantations. -- flourishing plantations. and then someone discovered some gold, gold flakes. georgia's legislature seized all the lands dissolved the cherokee nation, declared cherokee laws invalid and sent 150,000 native americans into exile. and they traveled along trawl of tears, it's called, across the mississippi river eventually settling in oklahoma. 60,000 died along the way. it's the worst case of genocide
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imaginable in history at that time. the inquisition only cost 10,000 lives, spanish inquisition. the french revolution with all the butchery and the guillotines, only about 2500 3000 lives. the highest estimate's 5000. 60,000 native americans died of starvation and, pose your on this trail of -- exposure on this trail of tears. well now this land belongs to georgia, and speculators come in and buy land. they bribe the georgia legislators to buy the land, and one of them, a fella named peck resells the land that he bought from georgia to a pell la named fletcher -- fella named fletcher. and then a new legislature comes in and throws that out and
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fletcher wants his money back. the supreme court rules in his favor saying that the previous decision had violated the contract. that was in a case called fletcher v. peck. the case of worcester v. georgia, after the cherokee indians are moved out along the trail of tears, a reverend samuel worcester who was preaching among the indians protested and was arrested by the state of georgia for violating what they now call the cherokee laws. he happened also to have been a federal postmaster. so he brought suit. and now the federal government can step in to the case.
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and the supreme court ruled against georgia saying that they had violated samuel worcester's rights and that the cherokee laws of georgia were unconstitutional. at first andrew jackson was president then. at first jackson who hated the supreme court -- more of a republican than jefferson -- first jackson said john marshall has made his decision, let him enforce it. well, then the georgia militia, georgia governor calls up the militia to defend the state of georgia against any possible incursion by the federal government this this cherokee -- in this cherokee case. and mow jackson has to act -- now jackson has to act and he turns right around and warns georgia that he will send federal troops, and he actually
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called out federal troops to go down and confront georgia. georgia pulled back and agreed to let samuel worcester, to free samuel worcester. but that set the first precedent of federal troops enforcing a federal -- a supreme court decision. and it was a precedent that fortunately hasn't been -- we haven't had to use often, but dwight d. eisenhower, of course used that rest department in sending troops to little -- that precedent in sending troops to little rock, arkansas, to enforce the supreme court decision on school segregation. >> and now the ceo is, in turn enforcing the time limits. [laughter] >> ladies and gentlemen, like the sixth amendment right to speedy trials, national constitution book fairs have to end on time. but i just have to thank, first of all our two superb participants, harlow unger and
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judge west for -- [applause] and i want to thank all of you for joining what turned out to be a glorious experiment. we did not know what would happen when we asked the leading authors on the left and the right and everywhere in between to talk about the constitution for four hours on bill of rights day, but what happened was conversations of such substance and such weight and such illumination that i think all of us feel smarter and better educated about bill of rights than before. and it's a tribute to you that you joined us, a truck butte to our great -- tribute to our great c-span audience and a vindication of my faith that when the citizens of the united states are presented with the best arguments on all sides of complicated constitutional questions, they can pay attention and grasp them and make up their own minds. it is such a privilege to share -- [inaudible] thank you so much. [applause]
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[inaudible conversations] >> you're watching booktv on c-span2 with top nonfunction books and authors -- nonfiction books and authors every weekend. booktv television for serious readers. >> this weekend on booktv biographer walter isaac soften, author of steve jobs and einstein answers your questions live on "in depth." white house correspondent april ryan recounts her journalism career, and attorneys for a guantanamo prisoner discuss his prison diary. also books on the 2011 egyptian revolution science's influence on politics and a world war ii interment camp.
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