American Judges Association


Date of this Version

April 2001


Published in Court Review: The Journal of the American Judges Association, 38:1 (2001), pp. 4-5. Copyright © 2001 National Center for State Courts. Used by permission. Online at


John Marshall was an individual of many gifts, versatility, character, and accomplishment. A superb advocate, he served his country as an American Commissioner in Paris, Congressman, Secretary of War, and Secretary of State. Thus, the life of John Marshall goes beyond epochal, while the legend of Chief Justice John Marshall is ageless. All of which has obscured John Marshall the Soldier.
By the time that a full decade of British oppression had escalated to the April 1775 battles at Lexington and Concord, and had inspired the bold, stirring declamation of Patrick Henry to “Give me liberty, or give me death,” John Marshall was already second in command of training and drilling a militia company of Virginia’s Fauquier County. Marshall had learned the rudiments of military drill from his father, Thomas Marshall, who was himself a versatile and powerful man, and the partner of George Washington in the surveys of Virginia and Kentucky.

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