Without Precedent: The Invention of Chief Justice John Marshall

Time Period
1764 to 1824
1825 to 1860
Media Type
Politics & Government
Joel Richard Paul

As a statesman, diplomat, secretary of state, and chief justice, no one in the founding generation had a more enduring impact on our country’s government and judicial system than John Marshall, and no one did more to preserve the delicate unity of the fledgling union. From 1776 to his death in 1835, Marshall was at the center of every key event in the nation’s history both at home and abroad. 

Raised in a log cabin on the western frontier of Virginia, he had little formal education and none of the advantages of the other great Virginians, yet he developed a talent for self-invention that served him well in office. On October 11, 2018,  Joel Richard Paul, author of the critically acclaimed "Without Precedent: Chief Justice John Marshall and His Times," delivered a banner lecture on John Marshall’s pivotal role in the founding of our republic.

Joel Richard Paul is a professor of constitutional and international law at the University of California Hastings Law School in San Francisco. He has also taught on the law faculties of University of California Berkeley, Yale University, University of Connecticut, Leiden University, and American University. Paul is the author of several other books, including "Unlikely Allies: How a Merchant, a Playwright, and a Spy Saved the American Revolution," which he has turned into a musical. 

The content and opinions expressed in these presentations are solely those of the speaker and not necessarily of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture.

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