Gibbons V. Ogden (1824) Essay

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In America’s time there have been many great men who have spent their lives creating this great country. Men such as George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson fit these roles. They are deemed America’s “founding fathers” and laid the support for the most powerful country in history. However, one more man deserves his name to be etched into this list. His name was John Marshall, who decided case after case during his role as Chief Justice that has left an everlasting mark on today’s judiciary, and even society itself. Through Cases such as Marbury v. Madison (1803) and McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) he established the Judicial Branch as an independent power. One case in particular, named Gibbons v. Ogden (1824), displayed his …show more content…
The Act regulated the entrance of free Negroes crossing into South Carolina. Later, in 1823, it was declared unconstitutional.
     Marshall eyed the Negro Seamen Act closely. What was this commerce, which the Federal Government had the reserved right to regulate? It consisted of interstate trade, but what did that equate to? He decided that commerce was not only trade, but also transportation and anything else that occurred with it. Therefore, commerce was the trading and transportation of goods and property.
     The recent events in South Carolina made the Supreme Court uneasy, however. Slaves were considered property to be bought and sold by trading in the South. The Southern states felt they could regulate this trade. Yet, the right to regulate commerce and trade was a right reserved for only federal control, not the States, as described in the Constitution. Henceforth, if Marshall and the Supreme Court ruled that Federal Law was supreme to govern interstate commerce in the case of Gibbons, it would also give the Federal Government the right to regulate slavery. Slavery had been the hotly debated issue ever since the country had been formed, and would be its undoing. Marshall knew this. He had to avoid the slavery-based sectionalism, while at the same time ruling that Federal Law was supreme. If he did not correctly leave the States their rights, they would possibly succeed from the

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