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?
About the Series
The Doing History: Biography series explores the genre of biography, how it relates to and is different from the genre of history, and how historians and biographers can best uncover and understand the lives of people from the past.
The Doing History series explores early American history and how historians work. It is part of Ben Franklin’s World, which is produced by the Omohundro Institute.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
Ben Franklin’s World is a production of the Omohundro Institute.
The Doing History: Biography series continues and explores whether a biography can help us answer a big historical question with Richard Brookhiser, author of John Marshall: The Man Who Made The Supreme Court.
During our conversation, Richard reveals why he likes to research and write biographies; Details about the stature of the Supreme Court in 1801; And, information about two landmark Supreme Court cases: McCulloch v. Maryland (1818) and Dartmouth College v. Woodward (1819) and John Marshall’s majority opinions in both of those cases.
What You’ll Discover
- Why Richard Brookhiser likes to research and write biographies
- Why Brookhiser likes to research and write biographies of Federalists
- Goals for Brookhiser’s biography of Marshall
- John Marshall’s politics
- The United States Supreme Court in 1801
- How justices “rode the circuit”
- The development of majority and unanimous Supreme Court decisions
- Marshall’s influence on the Supreme Court
- The power of biography to study and explore institutions
- Marshall’s views on the Supreme Court, the Constitution, & the people’s rights
- Jefferson and judicial review
- McCulloch v. Maryland (1818)
- Second Bank of the United States
- Dartmouth College v. Woodward (1819)
- Marshall the biographer
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Richard Brookhiser
- Richard on Twitter: @rbrookhiser
- John Marshall: The Man Who Made the Supreme Court
- Bob Woodward,The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court
- Joel Sharpton and Pro Podcasting Services
- What Makes Me Weird podcast
- Omohundro Institute
- John Marshall Foundation
- Richard Brookhiser’s Virginia Museum of History & Culture Talk
- OI Reader App
- Episode 055: Robb Haberman, John Jay: Forgotten Founder
- Episode 068: Richard Brookhiser, Founders’ Son: A Life of Abraham Lincoln
- Episode 180: Kate Elizabeth Brown, Alexander Hamilton and the Making of American Law
- Episode 203: Joanne Freeman, Alexander Hamilton
- Episode 204: James Lewis Jr., The Burr Conspiracy
- Episode 209: Considering Biography
- Episode 210: Considering John Marshall, Part 1
In your opinion, what might have happened if John Jay had agreed to President John Adams’ request that he return to the Chief Justiceship of the Supreme Court? What would have happened to the Supreme Court and the development of the judicial branch if Marshall had not served as Chief Justice?
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