John Marshall became one of the most influential leaders of colonial America. John Marshall, a cousin of Thomas Jefferson, served in the Continental Army before studying law at the College of William and Mary. In 1797, President John Adams convinced John Marshall to serve as an envoy in the XYZ Affair. In 1800, Marshall was appointed to the post of Secretary of State and by 1801 President Adams appointed Marshall as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court where he served as Chief Justice for thirty-four years. His decisions provided the foundation of Constitutional law and judicial precedent. His decision in Marbury vs. Madison in 1803 declared the power of the Supreme Court to invalidate an act of Congress if it that act was in conflict with the Constitution. In McCulloch vs. the State of Maryland, and Gibbons vs. Ogden, the rulings of the Supreme Court gave the Judiciary power to set aside state legislative acts if they were in conflict with the federal Constitution. The Supreme Court, under the guidance of Marshall, also ruled that the judiciary could reverse a decision of the state court. These decisions have set precedent for the authority of the United States Supreme Court.
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