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[72] constituency, to a people engaged in very practical tasks, but self-confident, buoyant, and withal emotional or at least idealistic.

The jurists of the time may here be considered first, although, as already said, it is not possible to disassociate the greatest among them from the problems which enlisted the enthusiasm and interest of the orator and political leader. If one turns, for example, to the decisions which John Marshall (1755-1835) gave as chief justice, one at once thinks of the work of Calhoun and other great particularists, who in the field of active politics put forth theories totally at variance with those coming from the Court. It is, therefore, quite impossible to detach Marshall from the most important movements of his time; for his words lose significance unless we see that they marked out lines of social and political progress and profoundly affected the character and career of the nation. And thus too, if the establishment of a widely accepted system of jurisprudence is necessary for the building up of a common industrial and social life for the nation at large, the work of Joseph Story, James Kent, and others, cannot be assigned to any narrow field of technical jurisprudence of interest to the professional lawyer alone.

The appointment of Marshall to the chief justiceship (January, 1801) was of great significance, for in the course of a few years he showed the importance of the Federal judiciary and the great authority of his office. For thirty-four years he presided over the Court and gave out a series of decisions which fixed permanently the principles of constitutional construction. His task was in some respects more that of the statesman than the lawyer; he was called upon to consider public questions of far-reaching importance and to lay down principles which he must gather from the nature of the United States, which was itself, in its composite organization, an experiment, a new form of political order. He was the first judge in history on whom fell the duty of interpreting and expounding the fundamental basis of the state; for, though the Supreme Court had been in existence twelve years before Marshall took his seat on the bench, not much had been done to prepare the way or to throw light on the solution of perplexing

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