A March of Liberty: A Constitutional History of the United States - Vol. 1

By Melvin I. Urofsky; Paul Finkelman | Go to book overview

12

The Marshall Court and
Economic Development

Law and Economic Development • Fletcher v. Peck • Pub-
lic Land Cases • The Emergence of the Corporation • Defin-
ing Corporate Rights • The Dartmouth College Case •
Bankruptcy • Conclusion: The Marshall Court's Legacy •
For Further Reading

LAW HAS ALWAYS been closely connected with commerce, and rules of property, contract, and damages play an important role in shaping the forms of business arrangements, as well as the means by which society enforces or refuses to enforce private commercial agreements. John Marshall shared many of Alexander Hamilton's views on the need for a prosperous economy to undergird a strong Union, and he believed the Constitution gave the federal government authority to support national economic development. Not surprisingly, the theme of states' rights versus national power that we examined in the last chapter is present in this area as well.


Law and Economic Development

Commercial growth in the United States proceeded along two intermingled paths, activity within individual states, as well as interstate activity. The Framers understood this distinction, but believed that as the nation grew, the economic ties developed through interstate business would form a powerful cement to bind the Union together. Recognizing that local interests would try to hamper this growth, they wrote into the Constitution specific limits on state regulation and activity in Article I, Section 10, and gave over the power to control interstate commerce to the national government.

Many of the cases discussed in the preceding chapter not only strengthened the U.S. Supreme Court and the national government in general, but also reflected the Marshall Court's determination to pursue the commercial policy it believed had been propounded by the Framers. In McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) it not only upheld the right

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A March of Liberty: A Constitutional History of the United States - Vol. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • For Susan and Byrgen—yet Again v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xiii
  • 1: From the Old World to the New 1
  • 2: Law in Colonial America 17
  • 3: The Road to Independence 39
  • 4: The Revolutionary Era 61
  • 5: The Crisis of Confederation 80
  • 6: A More Perfect Union 93
  • 7: Launching the Great Experiment 120
  • 8: The Supreme Court: the First Decade 147
  • 9: The Changing Face of the Law 165
  • 10: Adams, Jefferson, and the Courts 181
  • 11: The Marshall Court and National Power 207
  • 12: The Marshall Court and Economic Development 229
  • 13: A Law Made for the Times 248
  • 14: Politics, Nationalism, and Competition 271
  • 15: Jacksonian Democracy 296
  • 16: The Taney Court: Change and Continuity 320
  • 17: The Peculiar Laws of America's Peculiar Institution 337
  • 18: A House Dividing 366
  • 19: The Union Sundered 401
  • 20: The Union Unrestored 429
  • 21: Reconstruction 451
  • 22: The Court and Civil Rights 479
  • Appendixes - The Declaration of Independence 501
  • Articles of Confederation 505
  • Constitution of the United States 511
  • Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court 528
  • Case Index 537
  • Subject Index 542
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