Between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos.

— John Marshall

The most dreamy John Marshall quotes that will add value to your life

The people made the Constitution, and the people can unmake it.

It is the creature of their own will, and lives only by their will.


The power to tax is the power to destroy.


It is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is.


The government of the Union, then, ... is, emphatically, and truly, a government of the people. In form and in substance it emanates from them. Its powers are granted by them, and are to be exercised directly on them, and for their benefit.


The constitution is either a superior paramount law, unchangeable by ordinary means, or it is on a level with ordinary legislative acts, alterable when the legislature shall please to alter it. It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is. This is the very essence of judicial duty.


The government of the United States has been emphatically termed a government of laws, and not of men. It will certainly cease to deserve this high appellation, if the laws furnish no remedy for the violation of a vested legal right.


A corporation is an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of law.


It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is...If two laws conflict with each other, the courts must decide on the operation of each...This is of the very essence of judicial duty.


What are the maxims of Democracy? A strict observance of justice and public faith, and a steady adherence to virtue.


An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy;

because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation.


To obtain a just compromise, concession must not only mutual-it must be equal also....There can be no hope that either will yield more than it gets in return.


In a free government almost all other rights would become worthless if the government possessed power over the private fortune of every citizen.


About John Marshall

Quotes 40 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Judge
Birthday October 16

The particular phraseology of the Constitution of the United States confirms and strengthens the principle, supposed to be essential to all written constitutions, that a law repugnant to the Constitution is void; and that courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that instrument.


The acme of judicial distinction means the ability to look a lawyer straight in the eyes for two hours and not hear a damned word he says.


Certainly all those who have framed written constitutions contemplate them as forming the fundamental and paramount law of the nation, and consequently the theory of every such government must be, that an act of the legislature, repugnant to the constitution, is void.


Have no power, by taxation or otherwise, to retard, impede, burden or in any manner control the operations of the constitutional laws enacted by Congress.


The French Revolution will be found to have had great influence on the strength of parties, and on the subsequent political transactions of the United States.


This government is acknowledged by all, to be one of enumerated powers.


No one imagines that a law professing to tax will be permitted to destroy.


The peculiar circumstances of the moment may render a measure more or less wise, but cannot render it more or less constitutional.


My gift of John Marshall to the people of the United States was the proudest act of my life. There is no act of my life on which I reflect with more pleasure. I have given to my country a judge equal to a Hole, Holt, or a Mansfield.


Let the end be legitimate, let it be within the scope of the constitution, and all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, which are not prohibited, but consist with the letter and spirit of the constitution, are constitutional.


The law does not expect a man to be prepared to defend every act of his life which may be suddenly and without notice alleged against him.


Seldom has a battle, in which greater numbers were not engaged, been so important in its consequences as that of Cowpens.


It is the peculiar province of the legislature to prescribe general rules for the government of society; the application of those rules to individuals in society would seem to be the duty of other departments.


The institution of Masonry ought to be abandoned as one capable of much evil, and incapable of producing any good which might not be affected by safe and open means.


A legislative act contrary to the Constitution is not law.


The power to tax involves the power to destroy;

...the power to destroy may defeat and render useless the power to create.


What is it that makes us trust our judges? Their independence in office and manner of appointment.


No political dreamer was ever wild enough to think of breaking down the lines which separate the States, and of compounding the American people into one common mass.


I fear we may live to see another revolution.


To listen well is as powerful a means of communication and influence as to talk well.


The most lively fancy aided by the strongest description cannot equal the reality of the opera.


No principle of general law is more universally acknowledged, than the perfect equality of nations. Russia and Geneva have equal rights. It results from this equality, that no one can rightfully impose a rule on another....As no nation can prescribe a rule for others, none can make a law of nations.


A constitution is framed for ages to come, and is designed to approach immortality as nearly as human institutions can approach it.


The federal government is acknowledged by all to be one of enumerated powers.

The principle, that it can exercise only the powers granted to it . . . is now universally admitted.


Listening well is as powerful a means of communication and influence as to talk well.


I have always believed that national character.

.. depends more on the female part of society than is generally imagined. Precepts from the lips of a beloved mother... sink deep in the heart, and make an impression which is seldom entirely effaced.


When a law is in its nature a contract, when absolute rights have vested under that contract, a repeal of the law cannot divest those rights.