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This book is respectfully dedicated to
OHIO NORTHERN UNIVERSITY To the Faculty and President in grateful acknowledgment of the valued encouragement received from them, who, by their teaching, caused me to become a lover of learning, and do research work in Political Science.
By common consent the most notable and one of the most statesmanlike figures in our whole judicial history is that of John Marshall. No other name is comparable with his in fame or honor in this singular field of statesmanlike judicial control, - a field of our own marking out and creation, a statesmanship peculiar to our own annals. Marshall may be said to have created for us the principles of interpretation that have governed our national development. He created them like a great lawyer, master of the fundamental conceptions that have enlightened all great lawyers in the administration of law and have made it seem in their hands a system of life, not a mere body of technical rules; he created them also like a great statesman who sees his way as clearly without precedent as with it to those renderings of charter and statute that will vivify their spirit and enlarge their letter without straining a single tissue of the vital stuff of which they are made.
A thoughtful English judge has distinguished between those extensions of the meaning of law by interpretation that are the product of insight and conceived in the spirit of the law itself and those that are the product of sheer will, of the mere determination that the law shall mean what it is convenient to have it mean. Marshall's interpretations were the products of insight. His learning was the learning of the seer, saturated with the spirit of the law, instinct with its principle of growth. No other method, no other principle, has legitimate place in a system that depends for its very life upon its integrity, upon the candor and good conscience of its processes, upon keeping faith with its standards and its immemorial promises.
Our courts have stood the test, chiefly because John Marshall presided over their processes during the formative period of our national life. He was of the school and temper of Washington. He read constitutions in search of their spirit and purpose and understood them in the light of the conceptions under the influence of which they were framed. He saw in
1 Woodrow Wilson, “ Constitutional Government in U. S.," Columbia Lectures, 1908, p. 158.