John Marshall and American Nationalism

AP U.S. History

Which of the following made the most important contribution to American nationalism after the War of 1812: John Marshall, Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, or John Quincy Adams? Justify your selection.

John Marshall, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States government for thirty-five years, made important contributions to American nationalism after the War of 1812. An avid believer of judicial nationalism, Marshall believed in a strong central government of laws. The constitution is the supreme law, and this is the guiding force of the workings of nationalism. Just like the epochal case of Marbury v. Madison, Marshall was part of many landmark cases of American government and nationalism such as McCulloch v. Maryland, Cohens v. Virginia, and Gibbons v. Ogden.
In the year 1819, McCulloch v. Maryland upheld the right of Congress to create a Bank of the United States, ruling that it was a power implied, but not specified by the Constitution. The case is significant because it advanced the doctrine of implied powers, or a loose construction of the Constitution. The Court, Chief Justice John Marshall wrote, would pass laws reflecting “the letter and spirit” of the American Constitution.
In the court case Cohens v. Virginia in 1821, Philip and Mendes Cohen sold lottery tickets in Virginia under the authority of an act of Congress for the District of Columbia. The Cohens appealed their conviction for violating the state statute, which had banned such lotteries. Virginia asserted that the Eleventh Amendment excluded Supreme Court from hearing the case and that Section 25 of the Judiciary Act of 1789 did not apply. The Cohens case reflected the effort by several states, including Virginia, to challenge John Marshall's opinion in McCulloch v. Maryland (1819). Marshall seized on Cohens to stress federal judicial power. He declared that the Constitution made the Union supreme and that the federal judiciary was the ultimate constitutional...