tv Richard Brookhiser John Marshall CSPAN December 15, 2018 11:00am-11:59am EST
food in the back. thank you for coming to this forum, and we are discussing a new book on john marshall and a special welcome to our friends at the manhattan institute, and to our c-span audience. my name is mindy craig of "national review" institute, nonprofit organization supporting the "national review" mission. and it is a wholly-owned subsidiary, and the legacy of william buckley junior, advancing conservative principles he championed and support the top talent, and this past february locked 10
years since his passing. a valuable opportunity to reflect on his contributions to the nation. we held successful events around the country aimed to be not only nostalgic but inspirational. we realized the young staff our reaching their teens, buckley and his passionate and persistent advocacy of conservative principles, civil and exclusive manner, those could be words on a wikipedia page. we took the legacy events to 15 college campuses. last might we were at kings college in a form with rich lowry, "national review" editor in chief. and discussion about important values buckley espoused. as ronald reagan warned, freedom can be lost in a generation. we must continue to read, appreciate the philosophy and experiment, successes and failures and reflect with gratitude those who have paved the way before us and that is
an important reason we support grassley's work on the american founding. we stand up for the principles of conservative values that made this country great, exceptional in fact and we are not afraid to say it. at our upcoming idea summit we will highlight that making the case for the american extremities our title so please join us. our featured guest this morning, of course, is richard brookhiser, journalist, biographer and historian. he first published at the age of 15 and held many roles over the years. he is senior editor at "national review" and fellow at the "national review" institute most widely known for his series of biographies on the american founder including alexander hamilton, governor morris and george washington.
rick has been awarded many honors, notable among them is national humanities medal given to him in 2008. we are fortunate he is dedicated with strong passion to documenting the founding and bringing it to new audiences. after rick talked about his book he will sit with rich lowry to talk about more topics in depth and there are no cards on your table which will be for rich to incorporate into succession so please enjoy the discussion with richard brookhiser and join me in welcoming him. [applause] >> thank you for that introduction. thank you for coming out. i am always glad to be speaking at the union league club because i was married here 38 years ago, still married, same wife. i just want to thank one person, the man to whom the
book is dedicated, i met him in 1982 covering him for "national review" when he was running for governor against mario cuomo. he lost that race and new york is still suffering from that to the second-generation but america has benefited because lou was freed to pursue his great love, american history. and what he has done for american history over the years is stellar with the exhibition of the new york historical society in 2004, alexander hamilton, we were for hamilton before he was cool. it is a great honor for me to dedicate this book to him. i am sorry the supreme court has been so out of the news in the last few months but i will try to make this talk relevant anyway.
the reason it is in the news is ultimately the fourth chief justice, john marshall. he was the man who made the federal judiciary. this morning i want to say a few things about him personally, talk about how he led the court and look at one of his important cases and some of his critics both in his lifetime and after words. the most important thing to say about john marshall is even though he spent most of his adult life in richmond, one month a year in washington dc when the court was in session, several years in philadelphia, 6 months in paris, but all his life he was a country bore. he was born in virginia. the first house he lived in
with a log cabin. the second was a frame house, the third had glass in the windows. it isn't quite daniel boone, not on the frontier but definitely a life in the country. he retained his country habits and attitudes. the word people use over and over again to describe them is simple, people meeting him for the first time or knew him for years, described him as simple. and and and he covered himself with his judicial robe. his hair was cut by his wife. if his wife hadn't cut it who knows what else he would have
looked like. he had similar attitudes toward drinking. he liked it a lot. when he became chief justice, the court had a custom already that the justices when they deliberated heard cases during the day when they went to the boardinghouse they were staying in and discussed them over dinner and after dinner. the court's custom was they could only have wine at these discussions if it was raining outside? i assume that was to cheer themselves up. marshall, when he became chief justice would always ask one of his colleagues, usually to look out the window and tell them what the weather was. and the sky is perfectly clear and marshall would say our jurisdiction is so vast, it must be raining somewhere. wine was always served to the
marshall court. he marshall loved simple exercises, simple games, he walks several miles before breakfast until he simply became too feeble to do it anymore. his nickname in the army was silver heels. it was partly because his mother sewed him socks with white patches and the heels but also because he could jump over a bar resting on the heads of two men. his favorite game was horseshoes only played with metal rings rather than horseshoes and the point is to pitch them over a post, people who saw marshall playing this game said he would devote as much attention to deciding whose court was closer to the mag as he would on his supreme court decisions. the other important thing about
him was who he most admired. one of the men, his father, thomas marshall, homeschooled him, dedicated him to being a lawyer but the other man he admired was the father of this country, george washington. he volunteered when he was 19 years old to join the virginia militia in 1775 and the following year he joined the continental army. he was in the revolution until 1781 almost the entire length of it. he fought 7 battles, three commanded by washington, brandywine, germantown, monmouth, and spent the winter at valley forge where washington was in command. marshall saw his commander in chief into feet and victory and saw him at a terrible winter when the army was unclothed,
unfed and unpaid and marshall's conclusion from these experiences was washington was the rock on which the revolution rested. he was the man who saw the project through and brought it to success. when washington returned his commission to congress at the end of the war in 1783, marshall wrote a letter a few days later to an old friend of his and said at length the military career of the greatest man on earth is closed, may happiness attend him wherever he goes. that superior man, my full heart overflows with gratitude. this is not a trivial feeling. it marshall followed washington again, and other leaders decided the american form of government are changed. under which he declared
independence or not sufficient to carry out the cast the government had to do. we needed a new constitution. washington presided over the constitutional convention, and john marshall was a delegate to the virginia rider flying convention taking a pro-constitution stab. and followed washington again in 1798, and the federalists versus the republicans, the first republican party is the ancestor of today's democrats, the party of jefferson and madison. the federalists were the party of washington, adams, alexander hamilton, and marshall was a federalist. in 1798 washington summoned him to mount vernon and told him he had to run for congress was the federalist party was weak in virginia. washington thought it needed new younger blood.
marshall didn't want to run. he was making good money and had a growing family, buying land, needed the income. he kept refusing, and decided i can't keep saying no to the greatest man on earth. i had to get up at the crack of don and get out of here. washington had gotten up first and put on his old uniform. marshall, as he put it, acceded to this representation. he ran for congress, he won and then it was from congressman john adams picked him to be secretary of state after he had a cabinet shakeup. at the end of adams's term adams loses the election of 1800 to thomas jefferson. adams had beaten him narrowly in 1796, but 1800 was a blue wave. jefferson won the white house
and jefferson's party took both houses of congress from the federalists. in this lame-duck period adams and his secretary of state are trying to fill the federal judiciary with federalists. oliver ellsworth, the chief justice, said his health was bad so he was leaving the job and adams had to fill this post. the name he sent the senate was that of the first man to be chief justice of the united states, john j, the great spymaster, diplomat, federalist paper author, jay had been chief justice from 1789 to 1795 and left to be governor of new york. adams sent his name to the senate on the senate confirm test. adams got a letter from jay saying he wasn't going to get the job.
and the federal judiciary lacks energy, waste and dignity. he wasn't going to be chief justice again. we have to imagine adams and john marshall sitting in adams's office, still unfinished white house, the exterior shell is done but the interior is a construction site. adams says to marshall, who shall i nominate now? marshall said, i don't know, sir. adams thought for a minute and said i believe i will nominate you. this was how john marshall gets the job in february 18, '01. the other man, very important and marshall's life, the election of 1800, thomas jefferson, marshall's second cousin once removed. marshall detests him and
jefferson hates him in return. marshall didn't hate many people. jefferson hated a fair number of people but marshall was always high on his list. in jefferson's mind marshall was a sophist. he would twist anything to a predetermined legal conclusion. marshall, jefferson warned of a story before he got on the court. you must never give a direct answer to any question marshall asks you. if he asks if the sun was shining i would say i don't know, sir, i cannot tell. marshall thought that jefferson was a demagogue, that he talked a great game about letting congress run things but was secretly directing it behind the scenes and riding waves of popular sentiment to serve his own popularity. he also thought jefferson had been a disloyal secretary of state serving george washington's foreign policies
in one hand while undermining them with another. in march 18, '01, the one cousin, the new chief justice, swears in the other cousin, a new president. marshall comes on to report 6 justices, they are all federalists, appointed by washington or adams. in only 11 years after jefferson's administration and james madison's, the partisan balance has changed from two federalists to 5 republicans. congress increased the size of the court to 7. federalists have died or retired and have all been replaced by republican judges. yet all these republican justices followed marshall's lead. how did he do that? the first reason was the simplicity i talked about.
his genial manners. he liked his colleagues, his colleagues liked being with him. this was the irreducible basis of success in any political field. marshall also practiced difference. if there were colleagues who were more expert in areas of law than he was, he would let them take the lead. if it was admiralty law it would be justice story, land titles would be justice todd. then when you show difference you get difference in return so it is not just the right thing to do but the smart thing to do. a third factor was marshall of always the smartest man in the room and many of his colleagues were brilliant jurist's themselves but they all acknowledged his superiority. his mind was not quick. it took him a while to get going but once he did he was almost implacable. william wirt, who started as an advocate for the supreme court,
later became attorney general. he described marshall's mind as like the atlantic ocean. everyone else's minds were mere ponds. the fourth factor is length of tenure. marshall was chief justice for 34 years, still a record. he will swear in 5 presidents in 9 inaugural's, picked by john adams and goes to the second term of andrew jackson. than the middle of that tenure, there is an 11 year period, 1812-23, when there are no personnel changes on the supreme court. we only had one such period ever again so marshall is there a long time to exercise his genealogy, his difference and his intellect. probably his most famous case, the one we were all taught about in school is marbury versus madison.
that established the principle of judicial review. the most important thing about marbury was not that principle. john marshall did not invent that. it was already well-known, alexander hamilton had written about it in federalist papers, marshall had spoken of it in the ratifying convention but it is a long opinion 9000 words, the news when it was issued, 8500 words of it are scalding of the jefferson administration telling it it has misbehaved, that william marbury was entitled to a commission as a justice of the peace in the district of columbia, the jefferson administration had not delivered this commission to him, they ought to have done it. marshall decides marbury can't get it because the means of redress he is seeking is in fact something the supreme court cannot do.
it is unconstitutional. most of this decision is shaking a finger at his second cousin's administration. the decisions that were most controversial were the supremacy decisions, the ones where the court asserts its supremacy over state courts and there was a series of these dartmouth versus woodward, collins versus virginia, mccullough versus maryland. the case i want to talk about this morning, because of economic significance was fletcher versus peck. this had to do with a land deal in georgia in the 1790s. it had vast back country that went to the mississippi river or the state of alabama and mississippi.
georgia realized it could pay its deficit to sell the land off. it made a deal in 1795 to sell 35 million acres for a penny and a half an acre. every member of the george magistrate are -- legislature was bribed, the going rate was $1000, one legislature said he wasn't greedy. when word of us got out, the people of georgia replaced all of these legislators at the next election with a new set and they pass the repeal act which nullified the sale and forbade it from ever appearing in a georgia court. the repeal act said any officer of the state who referred to the land sale would be fined $1000. georgia has undone the sale and made it impossible to litigated in the georgia court.
the purchasers of this land were not intending to move to alabama or mississippi but flip their purchases immediately for profit. and and and this would only work if the sale were valid. they have a legal opinion who from alexander hamilton is no longer in government, practicing in new york and hamilton wrote a brief opinion saying the sale would be upheld because of article 1 section 10 of the constitution which for bids the states from impairing the obligation of contracts. he said the original sale would be considered a contract and if this were taken to court the courts would probably uphold
its validity but how could the purchasers bring it to court. georgia prevented it from being litigated in a georgia court. the 11th amendment for bids citizens of another state from suing a state. if a citizen of one state sues a citizen of another state, that could be a matter for the federal courts. the robert fletcher of new hampshire sues john peck of massachusetts who sold him a tract of georgia land. fletcher said you didn't have a legitimate title to it because the repeal act has nullified the original sale. i want my purchase price back, $3000, give me my money back. so the case goes to court. it takes a while for it to reach the supreme court.
it is argued in 1809. there is a flaw in one of the proceedings so it is re-argued in 1810. marshall writes his decision, he follows hamilton's legal reasoning. he says retracting a sale is unjust. it is probably also impossible because he says the past cannot be recalled by the most absolute power but his third and most important point is it is unconstitutional because article 1 section 10 for bids states from impairing obligations of contracts. then, what marshall adds to this argument, it is startling to read it, article 1 section 10 is a bill of rights for the people of the states. we think of the bill of rights as the first 10 amendments protecting freedom of speech, freedom of the press, right to keep and bear arms, no
warrantless searches and seizures, but marshall is saying no. before the first 10 amendments there was a bill of rights to the constitution and this protected the obligation of contracts. john marshall contracts are so important that protecting them becomes something we would call a bill of rights. the reason i focus on this case is we think of the founding fathers most responsible for our economic system we naturally think of hamilton especially after the musical but he deserves that reputation, but hamilton's plans and projects needed a legal armature to support the man that legal support comes from the decisions of john marshall and his court, fletcher versus peck, another contract case decision, and
finally a commerce clause decision given to august and and these are the pillars of the american economic system. marshall had critics in his lifetime. jefferson is one of the most potent, mostly jefferson does this in letters complaining about marshall, this is a lifelong theme of his correspondence. jefferson's objection to marshall is constitutional questions should not be left in the hands of a body that is irresponsible to the people. justices of the supreme court are picked ultimately by the people because they are nominated by the president and confirmed by the senate and we elect the president and the senate. we have a role in picking them but once they have their jobs
they hold them for good behavior. they never have to go before popular judgment again and this violated jefferson's sense of how a democracy should work. in addition to simply abusing marshall he tried to think of alternative ways to adjudicate constitutional questions. whenever there was such a question we should call another constitutional convention. he suggested this in a letter to james madison and madison as he so often did, through cold water on the suggestion. he said this would be tardy, troublesome and expensive to have an ongoing series of constitutional conventions. another marshall critic was senator richard johnson. he was most famous for having killed tecumseh in the war of 1812 and is second-most famous for his campaign song which with ricky ramsey rumsey dempsey, i dig johnson killed
dirk am see. johnson was a principled small the democrat. the early 1820s he offered a series of constitutional amendments to limit the power of the court. one would allow congress to restrict its jurisdiction to take certain cases out of the courts purview. another proposed to give the senate a veto on supreme court decisions. a third would have required a supermajority of justices to rule on constitutional questions. none of these amendments ever became law. they were mostly squelched in committee or defeated in the senate. and long after johnson and jefferson and marshall died abraham lincoln was also a critic of the supreme court particularly of the dred scott decision of 1857, the second time the court overturn a law
of congress, this law was a missouri compromise, chief justice tani explained this violated the fifth amendment which says there could be no taking of property without compensation so congress has no right to for bid a property owner from taking human property to any territory of the federal government. lincoln attacked the decision from the day it was rendered until his first inaugural when he was warning by chief justice tanya one witness said looked like a galvanized corpse. lincoln said that the parties to any suit that comes to the supreme court have to abide by its decision so fred scott had to remain a slave, he also said
these decisions could not have value as presidents unless they matched certain criteria. he said they had to be unanimous, he said they should also show no apparent partisan bias. if you use those criteria that wipes out a lot of supreme court decisions, not only dread scott but many others including some in marshall's own lifetime. whenever a political party feels on the short end of the stick from the supreme court their thoughts turn to ways of obstructing the court's power but we never found the magic balance yet. marshall died in 1835, andrew jackson gave a very gracious tribute to him, more gracious than anything jefferson would have said or marshall said
about jefferson but the most gracious tribute of all came from the club in richmond where marshall played his favorite game every saturday from may to october and they john marshall was irreplaceable in the courts club should have one fewer member. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you very much, that was marvelous. bill buckley in terms of journalism, what he valued most was quality of the words and this led him to make some poor choices over the course of the "national review". he gave liberal writers like gary wills and joan gideon there start or increased prominence by publishing them in the pages of "national review" which annoyed our publisher at times, to no end. we had to remind bill, bill, we
are a conservative magazine. fortunately he did not always have to choose between the quality of the words and ideological soundness which would have been bad for "national review" if that was the case but rick, richard brookhiser exemplified what bill wanted a "national review" writer to be, eloquent, cultured, succinct and witty and we can't be sure what bill would think of anything, the "national review" is doing these days, we don't get the memos anymore but something i am completely confident in is every time we publish something by richard brookhiser that bill buckley would love that. the educational system is failing us when it comes to history, shoving aside or distorting it but we had a great revival of history writing and rick was a front runner and catalyzer of that trend with this wonderful book about george washington.
so i thought we would dig in a little bit about marshall and talk about your craft and take questions which people will write on the no cards. tell us a little more about the sources of marshall's ambition for the courts? this was a product of a long-term view of what role it should have in our system or a madisonian ambition where anyone is naturally going to want to increase the standing and power and prestige of the department of government? >> certainly there was that element and marshall comes to the court after a decade of
frenzied politics, 1790s was our first decade of partisan politics and because it was all brand-new it was quite mad. we wring our hands over our politics now but i tell people go back to the 1790s, it is worse. politicians are killing each other. hamilton wasn't the only one to die in a duel. one of marshall's colleagues on the supreme court, a republican appointee, ralph livingston, killed the federalists in a duel, shot the man in the groin and he bled out in 5 minutes. this never came up in the confirmation. [laughter] >> did he have a high school yearbook? >> there is that partisan edge to marshall when he first comes on the court, but we have to remember his home schooling.
his father gave him william blackstone's commentaries on the laws of england to read in their little cabin. thomas marshall was one of the american subscribers to the first edition, the way book publishing worked then was you had a list of people who announced ahead of time they would buy this and then print it. so blackstone was the text of the english-speaking world for the law. he tried to summarize english common law and explain and organize it so marshall is learning this in the virginia back country. this sets the direction of his mind. >> host: you talked about how important marshall's influence
is, the observations about life in general. if you had to choose what is important in terms of personality or brainpower. >> guest: it is tough with marshall because he has both. certainly, initially, personality and then over the long haul, these guys are coming to washington every january to february, the way the court worked out, they had a winter session and it came to last about a month. they are all staying in the same boardinghouse, so they are all chief by joel and having other meetings together. you can imagine if they didn't get along, it would be kind of funky and marshall is always trying to smooth rough edges if they arise. at the end of his tenure, justice henry baldwin on the
court, the problem with baldwin, he is pretty smart but intermittently insane. he missed one whole year when marshall was chief justice because he was mad. justice alito won't be with us. you can't conceive of it. when baldwin wasn't mad he was extremely difficult and he hated justice story for some reason and story returned it. there is a letter saying i was with brother baldwin with remarks about you which were not unfriendly. you can see him trying to smooth ruffled feathers. that is the container of the vessel but the heart of it is the power of this man's mind once he fully exercises it, someone compared him to a great
bird taking flight. it takes a wild to flouncy around the grounds but once he gets airborne, he is powerful. >> host: very committed federalist. tell us why you think the federalist went wrong, they have more talent, hamilton's vision comes closer to fruition than jefferson's and it is a rich vein through lincoln and teddy roosevelt. why do they end up losing out to jeffersonian republican? >> the war of 1812, they are the antiwar party, and the hard-core of the federalist party included some close friends of marshall's, not only antiwar but defeatist secessionists and they wanted britain to win.
and wanted new york to leave, and the author of constitution. it didn't work so time to tear it up and start over. this is really extremist feeling as when the war of 1812 ends, more or less a victory, looked terrible. the other thing is for all of thomas jefferson's wacky notions and impractical ideas he did really believe most people are mostly right most of the time, small the democrats. that connects him more firmly to what america is about than
the federalists were for expansion and the way we relate to each other economically. jefferson would get the political thing and it was his most basic vision. >> host: you start your book with an introduction about marshall and washington which touched on the relationship, struck by another indication of the incredible influence of washington. he is a fairly significant contribution to american history if you were just a mentor to alexander hamilton and john marshall, becoming the first american president but how important was that relationship to marshall and have you read marshall's biography? >> oh yes, 5 volumes. i can't recommend it. i think he choked because he admired his subjects so.
there is a kind of air of too much obvious importance that stiffens it. the best thing he said about washington was not the biography but one of the founders, congress when the war comes, washington has died, december 17, '99 and he reforms the house and in the course of his speech he says he was first in war first in peace first in the hearts of his countrymen. he took that line from henry lee, other congressman and fellow revolutionary war veteran but good writing is often good borrowing as bill certainly knew and that expresses what marshall thought, first in peace, first in my heart. >> for conservative viewers wondering perhaps why should conservatives revere a man who
did so much to establish or cement federal supremacy in the system, what would you -- how would you answer that? >> marshall's view of the supremacy he was establishing is when a case comes to the supreme court, the supreme court decides it, they are not roaming around looking for things, they are sitting there. their role is passive and people disagree about something, they take it to court somewhere, up it comes through the system and it arrives, if there should be a conflict between a law and the constitution which happens only once in marshall's 34 years, have to decide what the law is, may be his view of supremacy is different from what we experienced recently.
>> a couple questions from the audience. why didn't marshall recuse himself in marbury versus madison? >> this is a great question. there is another reason that even said he sub or and perjury, setting the whole thing up. it is a complicated story but the commission william marbury got as justice of the peace was issued by president john adams but the man who stamps the great seal of the united states on it and prepared for delivery was secretary of state john marshall and john marshall told his brother james marshall to deliver these commissions and james didn't take marbury along which is why was sitting on the desk when the jeffersonians came in.
they didn't deliver this thing. this is the origin of the suit. why did he recuse himself? there were a number of things were justices would recuse themselves. on the second bank of the united states, marshall sold his bank stock but i did see other justices in other cases who were giving tips to their relatives based on cases the court was hearing, wild stuff. standards have tightened up. >> how did marshall react to jackson's resistance to the decision on moving the cherokees? >> the whole jackson presidency was dismaying to him. jefferson of course they had tangled but there was a quality of jefferson that he could get
exercised over things, if he lost, all right. he would move on. jackson never moved on. he had a will. marshall hoped he would not be reelected. his hope was if someone else won marshall would retire and associate justice story would be promoted to be chief justice and marshall even attends the first political convention in american history at the sonic party, he's invited as an imminent person to come to their convention, and he is that income. how can we beat this guy, and
it seems, there are people with secret ranks and andrew jackson happened to belong. sort of a populist way of flanking the populist president but jackson gets reelected and as far as the cherokee decision goes marshall just has to live with it. jackson would not see that the law was enforced, it wasn't press to the final stage. the final stage would have been if samuel wore stir, the imprisoned missionary to the cherokees bringing the lawsuit. he would have had to tell his attorneys that the decision is not being followed, georgia is not obeying the decision and therefore the report must notify the president that he must execute the laws but at the same time this is happening with south carolina over the tariffs coming to a boil.
will georgia join south carolina? so the missionary is weaned out by new england religious employers who dropped this lawsuit and split the country because of your problem so he did. he never reached the point of the ultimate clash. the question of the hour everyone is wondering, whose side would marshall be on in the back and forth between donald trump and chief justice roberts over trump's attack on an obama judge who stayed one of his immigration actions? >> i can't imagine marshall tweeting. or doing any public expression outside of his decision is chief justice. he wrote letters to people but
very deliberately does not do anything in public more than that. i think he would certainly agree not that trump is a genius who noticed this but there are politics and how judges get picked and where they come from and how they decide, marshall does this better than anybody but i think he would have tried to move the court in the direction roberts did, as an ideal. marshall was a federalist but not in out there federalist, he didn't lead with his chin, he reigned his court in. there were a couple times where instead of confronting jefferson as frontally as federalists would have liked including some of his fellow justices he steps back. he doesn't want to get the court into an open political fight. i think that ideal of these
justices is picked by the political process but apart from it and beyond it, was something he wanted to have the court embody. >> 7 or 8 minutes left, i want to widen the chair and talk about your craft as a historian. how do you choose your subjects? >> i chose this one because an old friend of mine, professor told me to write this book and told me to write my last book, the lincoln book. he gave me the title to that and i thought about it for a second and that is a great idea. >> had he given you your next book? >> janie gave me that. he has given me 3. jeannie has the lead.
my first biography was george washington, hamilton, a natural follow from that and wants to the governor morris but my publisher said you can do adams or andrew jackson. i went to morris. i take suggestions, sometimes have my own ideas. wikipedia why haven't you done jefferson yet? >> guest: jefferson pops up and all these books and he is important in the marshall book because he's the antagonist. marshall is like bread rabbit. he always gets away but jefferson does have a point. the small the democratic objection he has is the serious point, unresolvable point.
jefferson would be difficult to do frontally. i think of his mind as like a big house with a lot of rooms and they don't all have connecting doors. there is something odd and segmented about the way he lived and thought and would be tough to get at. >> host: how do you research? do you research as you go? or do you sit down and burrow in for monster of the year? wikipedia my books are 80,000 words or 200 plus pages so i spent a year reading only and then a year of writing in which i am also reading and the one thing that changed over 20 plus years i have been doing this is google books, google books online.
i even -- i read online of revolutionary war veterans pension request. this is the only evidence we have the marshall is injured at the battle of germantown. and in the pension request. it is the damnedest thing. >> do you ever get stuck on a research question, or writers block? wikipedia >> guest: if i'm stuck on a research question i asked my friend nicole who is a phd in history if she can figure out everything. the one thing the marshall book, one of the famous cases is collins versus virginia and i had a hard time finding anything about the collins brothers who sold -- state
lottery tickets in virginia, $500, this became a supremacy case. there is nothing about them, all the other biographies, anti-semitism, albert beveridge, a pulitzer prize winner in 1919 just thought lottery sellers, you know? just dismissed them. not even curious about them and other biographers following in his footsteps did the same thing. i wanted to know who were these people? so nicole found an article in the maryland historical journal from 1923 or something and told the whole family history of the area. so you have a little blurb on the new book. >> host: your first to your minimalist style now. obviously 80,000 words is
substantial but you do not write ron chernow style doorstops. is that a matter of choice or style as a writer? >> style. there's a place for those books. everything that can be known, you don't read the collected papers which are volumes and volumes, that is what books do. the whole arc of the life, what is most important about these people to us. and i'm interested in marshall's marriage. i am mostly interested in his career and to the litigants were. >> the case is present a new challenge in writing this? do you ever think because you are digging into these cases this is why i didn't go to law
school? >> that is the constant fear. i didn't go to law school. i had less legal education than marshall had. he had one semester at william and mary. i had worries about this and early guidance, knowledgeable scholars who gave me some tips and pointers and just a matter of being patient and trying to figure out what was going on. marshall's opinion on treason and the trial of ehrenberg, 25,000 word opinion. it seems to me there's a lot of wheels spinning in that.
since the basic question, there was no active or proven, that is the knob of the case. that is the layman's objection. >> the name of the book is "john marshall: the man who made the supreme court". please thank richard brookhiser. >> thousands of author events and book festivals. >> only a small percentage
share in the spoils, everyone else is angry and they will punish you with the political power they have intellect populists. populism, donald trump's election is a warning, whenever you think of trump, to the rest of us, this is going in the wrong direction. they cannot get the attention of policymakers to the elected trump to break the glass in case of emergency, you are not listening to me i will elect this orange guy, maybe that will get your attention. >> you can watch this and any programs in their entirety, on booktv.org. >> here's a look at the best books of 2018 according to the new york times. university history professor joann freeman recalls the violence that took place on the floor of congress in the lead up to the civil war in the field of blood.
>> they say i was expecting a free-speech environment. i much more guarded here than in china or singapore. international students, it is what john stuart mills said. it is not about restrictions on speech from the government but that is what we are experiencing. >> did you say what country? >> in 2015 we thought it was just american universities but a lot of the same things are happening in britain and canada. by 2017, australia and new zealand. it is not on the continent. there is political correctness