Three outstanding features marked the trend of American political history during the first thirty years after the nation became welded into a federal unit. The first of these was the steady extension of those powers which the Constitution had intrusted to the new central government. A dozen years after the establishment of the United States Supreme Court the post of Chief Justice was given to John Marshall and was occupied by him with firmness and dignity until 1835. Marshall was a believer in an efficient central government; he was sure that this was what the framers of the Constitution had meant to establish; and for thirty-four years he devoted his great powers to the work of assaying from the nation’s organic law all the jurisdiction it could yield to the authorities of the union. It was under his leadership that the court took the epoch-marking step of declaring that the Constitution gave to the Federal Government not only express but implied powers, and that where the Constitution gave a power to Congress it intrusted to that body a choice of the means to be used in carrying its authority into practical operation. “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.”〖Opinion of Chief Justice John Marshall in the case of McCulloch vs. the State of Maryland, H. C., xliii, 208-224.〗 When Marshall put aside his robes of office in 1835, the Constitution had been securely anchored in its station as the supreme law of the land and the Washington government, chiefly through his masterly legal skill, had been brought to a dominating place in the national life.

These three decades covered, in the second place, an era of territorial expansion, the successive steps of which have been traced in another lecture.〖See Professor F. J. Turner in the lecture on “The Territorial Development of the United States,” History, V.〗

In the third place the relations between the United States and European powers were placed on a better footing during the first quarter of the nineteenth century. The withdrawal of France and Spain from contiguous territory removed a source of possible danger. The war with England (1812-1815) cleared the international atmosphere of some noxious features, and in the era of better feeling which followed its conclusion came the virtual neutralization of the Great Lakes—a stroke of great and statesmanlike prudence.〖Arrangement as to the Naval Force to be Respectively Maintained on the American Lakes, H. C., xliii, 265-267.〗 Within a few years came the promulgation of the Monroe Doctrine with its unfaltering enunciation of American diplomatic policy in relation to the lands of the New Hemisphere.〖The Monroe Doctrine, H. C., xliii, 277-279.〗 In the twenty years intervening between 1803 and 1823 the Republic has cleared her boundaries to the south, removed a possible menace from her boundaries to the north, and frankly made known the fundamentals of her future policy as respects all surrounding lands.

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