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Marshall's Statement To The Senate [1947] - History

Marshall's Statement To The Senate [1947] - History


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I need not tell you gentlemen that the world situation is very serious. That must be apparent to all intelligent people. I think one difficulty is that the problem is one of such enormous complexity that the very mass of facts presented to the public by press and radio make it exceedingly difficult for the man in the street to reach a clear appraisement of the situation. Furthermore, the people of this country are distant from the troubled areas of the earth and it is hard for them to comprehend the plight and consequent reactions of the long-suffering peoples, and the effect of those reactions on their governments in connection with our efforts; promote peace in the world.

In considering the requirements for the rehabilitation of Europe the physical loss of life, the visible destruction of cities, factories, mines, and railroads was correctly estimated, but it has become obvious during recent months that this visible destruction was probably less serious than the dislocation of the entire fabric of European economy. For the past 10 years conditions have been highly abnormal. The feverish preparation for war and the more feverish maintenance of the war effort engulfed all aspects of national economies. Machinery has fallen into disrepair or is entirely obsolete. Under the arbitrary and destructive Nazi rule, virtually every possible enterprise was geared into the German war machine. Long-standing commercial ties, private institutions, banks, insurance companies and shipping companies disappeared, through loss of capital, absorption through nationalization or by simple destruction. In many countries, confidence in the local currency has been severely shaken. The breakdown of the business structure of Europe during the war was complete. Recovery has been seriously retarded by the fact that 2 years after the close of hostilities a peace settlement with Germany and Austria has not been agreed upon. But even given a more prompt solution of these difficult problems, the rehabilitation of the economic structure of Europe quite evidently will require a much longer time and greater effort than had been foreseen.

There is a phase of this matter which is both interesting and serious. The farmer has always produced the foodstuffs to exchange with the city dweller for the other necessities of life. This division of labor is the basis of modern civilization. At the present time it is threatened with breakdown. The town and city industries are not producing adequate goods to exchange with the food producing farmer. Raw materials and fuel are in short supply Machinery is lacking or worn out. The farmer or the peasant cannot find the goods for sale which he desires to purchase. So the sale of his farm produce for money which he cannot use seems to him an unprofitable transaction. He, therefore, has withdrawn many fields from crop cultivation and is using them for grazing. He feeds more grain to stock and finds for himself and his family an ample supply of food, however short he may be on clothing and the other ordinary gadgets of civilization. Meanwhile people in the cities are short of food and fuel. So the governments are forced to use their foreign money and credits to procure these necessities abroad. This process exhausts funds which are urgently needed for reconstruction. Thus a very serious situation is rapidly developing which bodes no good for the world. The modern system of the division of labor upon which the exchange of products is based is in danger of breaking down.

The truth of the matter is that Europe's requirements for the next 3 or 4 years of foreign food and other essential products— principally from America—are so much greater than her present ability to pay that she must have substantial additional help or face economic, social, and political deterioration of a very grave character.

The remedy lies in breaking the vicious circle and restoring the confidence of the European people in the economic future of their own countries and of Europe as a whole. The manufacturer and the farmer throughout wide areas must be able and willing to exchange their products for currencies the continuing value of which is not open to question.

Aside from the demoralizing effect on the world at large and the possibilities of disturbances arising as a result of the desperation of the people concerned, the consequences to the economy of the United States should be apparent to all. It is logical that the United States should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health in the world, without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace. Our policy is directed not against any county or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos. Its purpose should be the revival of a working economy in the world so as to permit the emergence of political and social conditions in which free institutions can exist. Such assistance, I am convinced, must not be on a piecemeal basis as various crises develop. Any assistance that this Government may render in the future should provide a cure rather than a mere palliative. Any government that is willing to assist in the task of recovery will find full cooperation, I am sure on the part of the United States Government. Any government which maneuvers to block the recovery of other countries cannot expect help from us. Furthermore, governments, political parties, or groups which seek to perpetuate human misery in order to profit therefrom politically or otherwise will encounter the opposition of the United States.

It is already evident that, before the United States Government can proceed much further in its efforts to alleviate the situation and help start the European world on its way to recovery, there must be some agreement among the countries of Europe as to the requirements of the situation and the part those countries themselves will take in order to give proper effect to whatever action might be undertaken by this Government. It would be neither fitting nor efficacious for this Government to undertake to draw up unilaterally a program designed to place Europe on its feet economically. This is the business of the Europeans. The initiative, I think must come from Europe The role of this country should consist of friendly aid in the drafting of a European program and of later support of such a program so far as it may be practical for us to do so. The program should be a joint one, agreed to by a number, if not all European nations.

An essential part of any successful action on the part of the United States is an understanding on the part of the people of America of the character of the problem and the remedies to be applied. Political passion and prejudice should have no part. With foresight, and a willingness on the part of our people to face up to the vast responsibility which history has clearly placed upon our country, the difficulties I have outlined can and will be overcome.

with the local authorities, and perpetual apprehensions and discontent on the part of the States and the people.


In 1991, Thurgood Marshall, named to the Supreme Court by President Lyndon Johnson, and the first African-American to be appointed to the Court, decided to retire. Republican President George Bush saw Justice Marshall’s retirement as an opportunity to appoint a more conservative judge to the Supreme Court. He selected Clarence Thomas, a forty-three-year-old conservative African-American from Pinpoint, Georgia. Although black, Thomas was sufficiently conservative to insure a more right-leaning make-up to the Court.

The nomination of Clarence Thomas was instantly controversial. Many African-American groups, Civil Rights organizations, and groups supporting women’s rights opposed the Thomas nomination, fearing Thomas’s conservativism would lead to a reversal of the gains blacks had seen during Marshall’s tenure. Even the legal community voiced apprehension about Thomas’s clear lack of judicial experience.

Then-U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas during confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, Sept. 10, 1991.
PHOTO: J. DAVID AKE/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Nevertheless, the Thomas nomination proceeded to the Senate Judiciary Committee for confirmation hearings. The hearings took a dramatic turn when Anita Hill, a law professor at the University of Oklahoma, came forward with accusations that Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her. Hill had worked for Thomas years earlier when he was head of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). For three days, millions of Americans watched the hearings that were broadcasted on live TV.

University of Oklahoma law professor Anita Hill testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in 1991. AP

Thomas denied the allegations, calling the hearings “a high-tech lynching for uppity Blacks.” It became a he-said-she-said issue, and in the end, the Senate voted 52-48 to confirm Clarence Thomas as associate justice of the Supreme Court.

But Anita Hill’s testimony is considered to be one of the “Top 100 American speeches of the 20th century.” She said in part:

It is only after a great deal of agonizing consideration that I am able to talk of these unpleasant matters to anyone except my closest friends. As I’ve said before these last few days have been very trying and very hard for me, and it hasn’t just been the last few days this week. It has actually been over a month now that I have been under the strain of this issue.

Telling the world is the most difficult experience of my life, but it is very close to having to live through the experience that occasion this meeting. I may have used poor judgment early on in my relationship with this issue. I was aware, however, that telling at any point in my career could adversely affect my future career. And I did not want early on to burn all the bridges to the EEOC.

As I said, I may have used poor judgment. Perhaps I should have taken angry or even militant steps, both when I was in the agency, or after I left it. But I must confess to the world that the course that I took seemed the better as well as the easier approach.

I declined any comment to newspapers, but later when Senate staff asked me about these matters I felt I had a duty to report. I have no personal vendetta against Clarence Thomas. I seek only to provide the committee with information which it may regard as relevant.

It would have been more comfortable to remain silent. It took no initiative to inform anyone — I took no initiative to inform anyone. But when I was asked by a representative of this committee to report my experience, I felt that I had to tell the truth. I could not keep silent.”

You can read the full text of her remarks here.

Hill’s impact was tangible. Her testimony set off a greater national understanding of what sexual harassment looks like in the workplace, pushing employers to institute trainings on the subject. In 1991, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC, where Hill had worked under Thomas) reported 3,349 charges filed alleging sexual harassment. In 1992, that number shot up to 5,607.”


Documents

When the Truman administration sent a bill entitled the "National Security Act of 1947" to Congress, the Senate Committee on Armed Services confronted an immediate challenge to its jurisdiction. Senator George D. Aiken (R-VT), chairmen of the Senate Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Departments, asserted that the bill should be referred to his committee because it was primarily a government reorganization measure.

On March 3, 1947, Arthur H. Vandenberg (R-MI) ruled in favor of referral to the Armed Services Committee whose chairman, Chan Gurney, had long been a supporter of military unification. This congratulatory note from Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal reflects the administration's relief that the bill would be referred to the more friendly Armed Services Committee. The committee has retained jurisdiction of all bills concerning military organization and has played a notable role in shaping the structure of national security policy since 1947.

Telegrams from Richard B. Russell to Douglas MacArthur, April 23 (left) and 30 (right page one of two), 1951. "MacArthur--Exchange of Correspondence between Chairman and MacArthur" folder, box 243, Committee on Armed Services, Records of the U.S. Senate.

Following President Truman's controversial dismissal of General Douglas MacArthur on April 11, 1951, the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held joint hearings to assess the firing and to conduct a broad inquiry into United States Asian policy. These two telegrams notify MacArthur of the dates and conditions of the hearings. Senator Russell chaired the joint committee and conducted the lengthy hearings in a balanced and dignified manner that did much to diffuse the emotions surrounding the general's dismissal.

Letter from Allen W. Dulles to Richard B. Russell, May 19, 1956. "CIA" folder, box 291, Committee on Armed Services, Records of the U.S. Senate.

The Senate Armed Services Committee was the authorizing committee responsible for oversight of intelligence. The committee discharged this responsibility through a Subcommittee on Intelligence that the full committee chairmen held and that met frequently with the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. This letter from Director Allen W. Dulles to Chairman Russell reports on the status and cost overruns for the agency's new headquarters.

Letter from Barry M. Goldwater to Richard B. Russell, March 21, 1962. "RS-70" folder, box 590, Committee on Armed Services, Records of the U.S. Senate.

In 1959, Congress passed legislation requiring an authorization prior to appropriations for aircraft, missiles, and naval vessels. The requirement became effective in 1961 and greatly expanded the role of the Senate Armed Services Committee in the oversight of defense budgets and programs. This letter from committee member Barry M. Goldwater (R-AZ) to Chairman Russell indicates the depth of the committee involvement in the development of the RS-70, a prototype for the bomber that was to supersede the B-52 bomber.

Transcript of statement given by Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara before the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committee, August 6, 1964 (left page one of six), and S.J. Res. 189 (right page one of two).
"S.J. Res 189" folder, box 709, Committee on Armed Services, Records of the U.S. Senate.

After reports that U.S. ships had been attacked on August 2 and 4 in international waters in the Gulf of Tonkin by North Vietnamese PT boats, President Lyndon B. Johnson sent Congress a special message recommending a joint resolution affirming support of "all necessary action to protect our Armed Forces and to assist nations covered by the SEATO Treaty." At an August 6, 1964 joint meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Armed Services Committee, Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara presented the administration's version of events that led Congress to pass the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution on August 7, 1964.

Senate Committee on Armed Services Program for Legislation and Legislative Oversight, page one of three.
"Legislation" folder, box 990, Committee on Armed Services, Records of the U.S. Senate.

John C. Stennis was chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services (1969-80) in an era when the Senate Democratic majority insisted on more effective congressional oversight of the executive branch and more accountability from the senior committee chairmen. In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D-MT), Chairman Stennis reports on the Armed Services Committee's activities for the first session of the 91st Congress (1969-70).

Letter from Henry A. Kissinger to John C. Stennis, June 1, 1974 page one of three. "Executive Branch Letters to Senator Stennis' folder, box 1130, Committee on Armed Services, Records of the U.S. Senate.

The expanding scope of the annual Defense Authorization bills enhanced greatly the power of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger's letter to Chairman Stennis illustrated the impact of the annual Defense Authorization bill on U.S. diplomacy. Secretary Kissinger expressed concern that Senate reduction of troop deployments in Europe and reduction of military assistance for South Vietnam would undercut his diplomatic initiatives.

Letter from Howard H. Baker, Jr., Robert C. Byrd, Clifford P. Case, and John Sparkman to John C. Stennis, February 2, 1978 (left) page one of four. Floor Statement by Senator John C. Stennis, Chairman, Committee on Armed Services, United States Senate, on the Proposed Panama Canal Treaties, March 16, 1978 (right) page one of eight.
"Correspondence" folder (left) and "Statements for Record" folder (right), box 1325, Committee on Armed Services, Records of the U.S. Senate.

As the Panama Canal Treaty came before the Senate for ratification in the spring of 1978, a powerful, bipartisan group of senators appealed to Chairman Stennis for support of the companion Neutrality Treaty that guaranteed the United States and Panama the right to defend the canal after December 31, 1999. Their overture to win Senator Stennis' support failed, however, for reasons indicated in his prepared "Floor Statement" of March 16, 1978. Although Senator Stennis did not support the treaty, on April 18, 1978, the Senate approved the Panama Canal Treaty by a vote of 68 to 32.

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Law school to remove John Marshall's name over racist past

CHICAGO -- University of Illinois trustees voted to remove the name of the longest-serving U.S. Supreme Court chief justice from the University of Illinois-Chicago law school after a task force said John Marshall's history as a slave owner and trader "render him a highly inappropriate namesake for the law school.”

The University of Illinois at Chicago merged with the private John Marshall Law School in 2019 to create the city's first public law school, named UIC John Marshall Law School. It will be renamed the UI-Chicago School of Law effective July 1, the News-Gazette reported.

The trustees' vote Thursday followed a months-long review by a university task force, which voted 6-1 to remove Marshall's name. The law school faculty and faculty senate also voted in favor of renaming the school, which is separate from the University of Illinois College of Law in Urbana.

The task force report issued in February stated that despite Marshall's legacy "as one of the nation’s most significant U.S. Supreme Court justices, the newly discovered research regarding his role as a slave trader, slave owner of hundreds of slaves, pro-slavery jurisprudence, and racist views render him a highly inappropriate namesake for the law school.”

In a statement, UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis said the name change followed a “thorough and carefully studied process” with input from inside and outside the institution and "considered issues of racial injustice and aimed to ensure that our university continues to be a place where diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity are supported and advanced,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

John Marshall Law School was established in 1899. As part of the 2019 merger, the University of Illinois agreed to keep the phrase “John Marshall Law School” in the name for at least five years. Thursday's vote was needed to amend the transfer agreement and allow for the name change to take effect this year.


Activity 3. John Marshall's Opinion

What did John Marshall write about the power of the Supreme Court in the actual decision? In groups, with partners, or alone, students will do a close textual analysis of excerpts of the decision to understand Marshall's argument. They may use class time or analyze these excerpts as homework a final discussion in-class will check students' understanding and sum up.

Part 1: What is the relationship of the Constitution to ordinary laws? Students will read these paragraphs and collect information in order to provide an explanation of Marshall's point of view on this question. Teachers may want to explore the differences between a Constitution and statutory law, at this time, if it is something with which their students are not familiar.

"The authority, therefore, given to the Supreme Court by the act establishing the judicial courts of the United States to issue writs of mandamus to public officers appears not to be warranted by the Constitution, and it becomes necessary to inquire whether a jurisdiction so conferred can be exercised.

The question whether an act repugnant to the Constitution can become the law of the land is a question deeply interesting to the United States, but, happily, not of an intricacy proportioned to its interest. It seems only necessary to recognize certain principles, supposed to have been long and well established, to decide it.

That the people have an original right to establish for their future government such principles as, in their opinion, shall most conduce to their own happiness is the basis on which the whole American fabric has been erected. The exercise of this original right is a very great exertion nor can it nor ought it to be frequently repeated. The principles, therefore, so established are deemed fundamental. And as the authority from which they proceed, is supreme, and can seldom act, they are designed to be permanent.

This original and supreme will organizes the government and assigns to different departments their respective powers. It may either stop here or establish certain limits not to be transcended by those departments. The Government of the United States is of the latter description. The powers of the Legislature are defined and limited and that those limits may not be mistaken or forgotten, the Constitution is written. To what purpose are powers limited, and to what purpose is that limitation committed to writing, if these limits may at any time be passed by those intended to be restrained? The distinction between a government with limited and unlimited powers is abolished if those limits do not confine the persons on whom they are imposed, and if acts prohibited and acts allowed are of equal obligation. It is a proposition too plain to be contested that the Constitution controls any legislative act repugnant to it, or that the Legislature may alter the Constitution by an ordinary act.

Between these alternatives there is no middle ground. The Constitution is either a superior, paramount law, unchangeable by ordinary means, or it is on a level with ordinary legislative acts, and, like other acts, is alterable when the legislature shall please to alter it.

If the former part of the alternative be true, then a legislative act contrary to the Constitution is not law if the latter part be true, then written Constitutions are absurd attempts on the part of the people to limit a power in its own nature illimitable.

Certainly all those who have framed written Constitutions contemplate them as forming the fundamental and paramount law of the nation, and consequently the theory of every such government must be that an act of the Legislature repugnant to the Constitution is void.

This theory is essentially attached to a written Constitution, and is consequently to be considered by this Court as one of the fundamental principles of our society. It is not, therefore, to be lost sight of in the further consideration of this subject.

If an act of the Legislature repugnant to the Constitution is void, does it, notwithstanding its invalidity, bind the Courts and oblige them to give it effect? Or, in other words, though it be not law, does it constitute a rule as operative as if it was a law? This would be to overthrow in fact what was established in theory, and would seem, at first view, an absurdity too gross to be insisted on. It shall, however, receive a more attentive consideration."

Part II: What is the job of the Supreme Court in cases where a law passed by Congress contradicts/violates part of the Constitution? Based on their analysis, students will collect information to inform a rewriting of the paragraphs within this section, and then summarize what Marshall is saying.

"It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is. Those who apply the rule to particular cases, must of necessity expound and interpret that rule. If two laws conflict with each other, the courts must decide on the operation of each.

So if a law be in opposition to the constitution if both the law and the constitution apply to a particular case, so that the court must either decide that case conformably to the law, disregarding the constitution or conformably to the constitution, disregarding the law the court must determine which of these conflicting rules governs the case. This is of the very essence of judicial duty.

If, then, the courts are to regard the constitution, and the constitution is superior to any ordinary act of the legislature, the constitution, and not such ordinary act, must govern the case to which they both apply.

Those then who controvert the principle that the constitution is to be considered, in court, as a paramount law, are reduced to the necessity of maintaining that the courts must close their eyes on the constitution, and see only the law.

This doctrine would subvert the very foundation of all written constitutions. It would declare that an act which, according to the principles and theory of our government, is entirely void, is yet, in practice, completely obligatory. It would declare that if the legislature shall do what is expressly forbidden, such act, notwithstanding the express prohibition, is in reality effectual. It would be giving to the legislature a practical and real omnipotence, with the same breath which professes to restrict their powers within narrow limits. It is prescribing limits, and declaring that those limits may be passed at pleasure.

That it thus reduces to nothing what we have deemed the greatest improvement on political institutions — a written constitution — would of itself be sufficient, in America, where written constitutions have been viewed with so much reverence, for rejecting the construction. But the peculiar expressions of the constitution of the United States furnish additional arguments in favour of its rejection.

The judicial power of the United States is extended to all cases arising under the constitution.

Could it be the intention of those who gave this power, to say that in using it the constitution should not be looked into? That a case arising under the constitution should be decided without examining the instrument under which it arises?

This is too extravagant to be maintained….

Thus, the particular phraseology of the constitution of the United States confirms and strengthens the principle, supposed to be essential to all written constitutions, that a law repugnant to the constitution is void and that courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that instrument."

Part III: Once students have analyzed the excerpts, the teacher should lead a discussion to ensure that ALL students have grasped the scope and significance of Marshall's decision. Teachers may want to consider these questions, among others:

  • What has supremacy-the Constitution or ordinary laws?
  • How does the Constitution limit the power of legislative bodies?
  • Why is this limitation so important, in Marshall's view?
  • What would happen if the Constitution and "ordinary legislative acts" were on equal footing?
  • What does Marshall mean when he writes, "it is the duty of the judicial department to say what the law is"?
  • Why is this so fundamentally important to this case?
  • How does his reasoning in Part II support the theoretical foundation he established in Part I?

Semper Fidelis: Defending the Marine Corps

Seventy years ago, on 26 July 1947, a small band of U.S. Marines celebrated the signing of the National Security Act. Due to their efforts, and despite Army opposition, Navy defection, and waning support by the Marine Commandant, the law codified the specific roles and functions reserved to the Corps by Congress.

The Gathering Storm

Observing the fighting on Iwo Jima in February 1945, Secretary of the Navy James V. Forrestal predicted, “The raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next 500 years.” 1 The future of the Corps, however, was already in jeopardy.

Two years earlier, at Noumea, New Caledonia, Marine Lieutenant Colonel Merrill B. Twining heard Army officers freely express their opinions about the recently ended Guadalcanal campaign and the future organization of the armed services. They condemned the Marines’ intrusion into the Army’s customary land-warfare sphere, with Army Major General J. Lawton Collins calling for a streamlined national defense organization after the war that would prevent any repetition. 2

Collins echoed Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall, who was overheard muttering that the Corps should be kept “very small” and vowing that he would “see that the Marines never win another war.” 3 With the coming of peace and the succession to the presidency of Harry Truman, who harbored anti-Navy and anti-Marine Corps biases, unification was pursued in earnest. 4

Appreciating the danger, Marine Corps Commandant General Alexander A. Vandegrift appointed his director of plans and policies, Brigadier General Gerald C. Thomas, to act as his personal action officer for defense reorganization. As described by Thomas’ biographer, “the peril . . . in the Army’s proposed plan rested in the power of the proposed joint staff to decide roles and missions, force structure, and program budgeting, or to shape the decisions on these matters by a single civilian secretary or the president himself without Congressional review.” 5

The vital connection between Congress and the Marine Corps was summarized as follows: “Marine Corps relations with Congress in 1944–1947 were based on the premise that the Corps’ existence as a balanced force of arms depended upon recognition of the need for diverse military forces and military innovation. Traditionally, this recognition had come from Congress.” 6

Unification threatened the Navy, too. Leaders of the soon to be created Air Force argued that, for economy and efficiency, land-based naval aviation should become part of the new armed service. To help counter such plans, Forrestal formed a committee under the leadership of Vice Admiral Arthur W. Radford. Guadalcanal legend Brigadier General Merritt A. “Red Mike” Edson was assigned to represent the Marine position.

‘Heroes Turned Bastards Overnight’

Meanwhile, an ad hoc group was formed by Vandegrift at the Marine Corps Schools headed by Twining, who first sounded the alarm after hearing Collins’ plans at Noumea. Joining Twining was Lieutenant Colonel Victor “Brute” Krulak, who demonstrated great resourcefulness during the war and would display that ability again on a very different battlefield. Twining and Krulak dominated what was called the “Chowder Society,” their studies and speeches referred to simply as Chowder. This dubbing derived from a popular comic strip, “Barnaby,” whose diminutive and flamboyant title character, much like Krulak in appearance and demeanor, belonged to the “Little Men’s Chowder & Marching Society.”

The threat to the Marines remained undiminished when General Dwight D. Eisenhower succeeded Marshall as Army Chief of Staff. Twining described Eisenhower’s internal reports as “a long series of felonious attacks on the Marine Corps, efforts to cut it down, efforts to belittle it, efforts to do anything possible to demean us. It was a miserable display of malice.” 7 Specifically, Eisenhower would limit the Marines to conducting small naval raids, minor landings, and traditional security duties. Citing the numerous amphibious assaults executed by the Army in World War II, he insisted the country could not “afford to provide and maintain two great forces, both of which have identical missions, conducting great landing operations.” 8 Eisenhower went even further in letters to friends, writing that “he wanted the Marine Corps abolished, but feared public reaction to such a proposal.” 9

In a congressional address prepared by the Chowder Society, Vandegrift argued the need for a strong Fleet Marine Force as a matter of strategic logic. As remembered by Twining: “[The speech] was innocuous. It simply identified the Marine Corps against merger. It inspired nasty articles . . . critical of the Marine Corps and the Commandant. It was to teach me how transitory was the public admiration that was enjoyed during the war. Heroes turned bastards overnight.” 10

A valuable source of support was lost to the Marines when Radford was removed as chairman of the Navy committee. Replacing Radford was Deputy Chief of Naval Operations Vice Admiral Forrest P. Sherman, who was entirely comfortable having military roles and missions set by executive order. Twining hated Sherman, considering him motivated by egotism and ambition to act hand-in-glove with the Army. (Twining would have had in mind Sherman’s meteoric rise toward becoming Chief of Naval Operations in 1949, at age 53 the youngest admiral to that point to reach that pinnacle.) And Forrestal adopted the same attitude as Sherman. Twining suspected the Navy Secretary had struck a deal to protect land-based naval aviation at the expense of the Marines, remarking to his interviewer, “What they did was bribe Forrestal. . . . They told Forrestal he was going to be the first Secretary of Defense.” 11

Thomas’ biographer observed, “Vandegrift and Thomas hoped they could count on the Navy. In 1946 they concluded, that the Marine Corps would have to save itself—and that meant winning the support of Congress.” 12

As a fresh unification bill moved toward passage in May 1946, Twining and Krulak outdid themselves preparing an address for Vandegrift to deliver before the Senate Naval Affairs Committee. The Commandant would indirectly attack the Army’s blueprint for unification, set forth in classified position papers designated JCS (Joint Chiefs of Staff) 1478, proving the service planned the “emasculation of the Marines.” 13 Twining acidly observed: “These [papers] were stamped ‘Top Secret.’ There wasn’t anything top secret about them, but it was the Army’s way of keeping them under cover.” 14

Vandegrift needed to be prodded by Thomas and Twining to deliver the address as written. From a cultivated Virginia family, Vandegrift was, according to Krulak: “ill-fitted for the gut fight that he faced in the unification controversy. This was to hurt the Marines before it was all over.” 15

Still, Vandegrift’s testimony made a strong impression. After warning Congress that its prerogatives were in jeopardy, he charged, “This bill gives the War Department a free hand in accomplishing its expressed desire to reduce the Marine Corps to a position of military insignificance.” Based on the secret JCS 1478 papers, Vandegrift could legitimately claim that such treatment was an objective at “the highest quarters of the War Department.” 16 Reminding his audience of the Marine Corps’ glorious past and asserting its central position in national defense, Vandegrift proclaimed, “The bended knee is not a tradition of our Corps.” 17

The Marine cause was taken up by the press and collected much public support. Truman recognized that the bill could not pass and deferred further action until the 1947 session of Congress. But victory came with a price. Vandegrift “was taken to the woodshed by President Truman . . . and would never again [be found] in the forefront of the battle.” 18

To prepare for the next round, Vandegrift formed a new board headed by Edson and Thomas. The loosely organized group monitored unification developments and functioned as both a think tank and a direct action group, identifying and enlisting the support of legislators, the media, and veterans’ groups.

With the White House, War Department, and Navy Department essentially aligned, the Marines fought with their backs to the wall when the new legislative battle commenced in February 1947. Krulak denounced the Senate bill as being “without a shred of Marine input,” noting, “As we feared, it proposed to endow the new secretary of defense with immense and ill-defined authority over the entire military establishment. There was no statutory prescription at all of what the several armed services were expected to do.” 19

As rebuttal, the Edson-Thomas group arranged for Vandegrift to testify again. Twining and Krulak prepared a hard-hitting speech that questioned whether the civil authority should direct the military or vice versa. Vandegrift rejected the speech, protesting that it involved matters “above and beyond the Marine Corps.” 20 A more benign speech was obtained by Vandegrift and shown first to Truman, who asked rhetorically: “You don’t trust anybody, do you?” Vandegrift responded: “You are not going to be here forever. . . . It is very much easier to get an executive order changed than it is an act of Congress. That is why I would like our role and missions spelled out by law, and that is what I have asked for.” 21

But Vandegrift was less bold in Congress. He had fallen under the influence of his legal advisor, Colonel Joseph W. Knighton, and advertising executive Samuel Meek, who regarded Thomas’ opposition a barrier to necessary legislation. Edson’s biographer appreciated Vandegrift’s dilemma, observing, “The commandant did face a tough situation. He had to make his concerns known, but he did not want to go so far as to antagonize Forrestal and Truman into relieving him, which would prevent him from exerting any influence at all.” 22

Vandegrift suggested some mild protective amendments to include a statement of Corps roles and missions. In the end, he accepted the proposed statement that read, “The provisions of this act shall not authorize the alteration or diminution of the existing relative status of the Marine Corps (including the fleet marine forces) or of naval aviation.” For Krulak, “This was a tepid guarantee, indeed, since it failed to give any clue as to what ‘relative status’ meant or to what it was tied.” 23

Wearing his Medal of Honor earned on Guadalcanal, Edson was far more effective before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Using both the speech rejected by Vandegrift and his own words, Edson tore into the bill’s proposed centralized defense structure as tending toward dictatorship, reminiscent of the discredited German general staff. He contrasted the long American tradition of civilian control with the concentration of military power in one individual and condemned the anti-Marine bias in the JCS 1478 papers, which remained unavailable to the Senate.

Nevertheless, the uphill battle in the Senate failed. As a small concession to the Marine Corps and naval aviation, the weak clause proposed during Vandegrift’s testimony was added to the bill.

Now, everything hinged on what occurred in the House of Representatives. Knowing that the Marines might obtain strong support in the House Armed Services Committee, the pro-Army managers of the bill deliberately referred it to Clare Hoffman’s Expenditures Committee. They expected that Hoffman, an isolationist without interest in military affairs, would refer it to a subcommittee dominated by James W. Wadsworth Jr., a pro-Army representative described by Twining as “a supine tool of the General Staff [who] hated the Marine Corps.” 24 As Hoffman was a close friend of the father of a Chowder Society member, that maneuver backfired. Instead of sending the bill to a subcommittee, Hoffman kept it in the Expenditures Committee and assembled a bipartisan coalition to support the Marines.

Witnesses favoring the bill were battered with sharp questions about the concentration of powers in the secretary of defense, the dangers of the Joint Chiefs becoming a German-style general staff, the usurpation of the authority of Congress, and threats to the Marine Corps. The need to provide the Marines with legislative safeguards was proved when Hoffman forced the JCS to make the 1478 papers available.

Vandegrift’s appearance turned out to be critical to the outcome. Hoffman had in hand protective amendments drafted by the Chowder Society that were presented earlier to the committee. When Hoffman asked for Vandegrift’s opinion about those amendments, Vandegrift said he was in favor. In expressing his assent, Vandegrift assumed Hoffman was referring to the mild protective amendments rejected by the Senate, which he also proposed in the House, an error that also got past Vandegrift’s lawyer, Knighton. According to Krulak, “Whether Hoffman realized the confusion but chose to let the effect stand is unclear. What is clear is that he later said for the record that the commandant’s testimony concurred with the amendments.” 25

Another unexpected success occurred during Eisenhower’s testimony. Denying that the Marine Corps had reason to suspect the Army, Eisenhower was caught in the lie when it became apparent the committee possessed portions of the JCS 1478 papers, including his own anti-Marine statements. It was “as if General Eisenhower had found himself in the middle of a minefield.” 26

Despite these successes, as retired Marine Corps Colonel Gordon Keiser observed, without “a spectacular public denunciation of the pending bill, all efforts to prevent its unamended passage would prove inadequate.” 27 That task fell to Edson, who went far beyond his Senate testimony in the depth and fervor of his argument. Hammering the point that civilian control was necessary at the highest levels, he warned that “there can be a monopoly within the military field, just as there can be a monopoly within the industrial or commercial field, and with the same suppressive effects.” 28 Having said his piece, Edson withdrew into retirement.

Another loss was Thomas, Chowder’s unofficial leader, reassigned to command a brigade in China. According to historian Allen R. Millett:

Twining and Krulak certainly thought that Vandegrift had decided to curb the colonels of “Chowder” by transferring the one general at Headquarters who truly understood that only Congressional protection of the Fleet Marine Force would save the Marine Corps from eventual extinction. Thomas believed Vandegrift had lost his moral courage to see the battle for legislative protection to its conclusion. Vandegrift would have accepted an executive order on roles and missions, and Thomas would not. 29

With Hoffman’s strong support, the revised bill passed in the House. The House-Senate conference committee then compromised on a bill that essentially followed the House version, including specifying the roles and missions of all the armed services. Gaining approval by both houses, the bill was signed into law by Truman.

The crucial protective wording in the law read:

The United States Marine Corps, within the Department of the Navy, shall include land combat and service forces and such aviation as may be organic therein. The primary mission of the Marine Corps shall be to provide fleet marine forces of combined arms, together with supporting air components, for service with the fleet in the seizure and defense of advanced naval bases and for the conduct of such land operations as may be essential to the prosecution of a naval campaign. 30

Reflecting on the remarkable turnaround, Twining marveled: “Sometimes it looked like Providence was guiding our fortunes. One [thing] was the advent of Hoffman . . . to frustrate the Army’s well-laid plot. . . . The other was Knighton’s stupidity in not reversing the Commandant during the hearing.” 31

As for the most mystifying aspect, Twining admitted: “I still don’t know what possessed Vandegrift in those days . . . . He certainly was a loyal marine.” 32 Ironically, the hero of Guadalcanal, who proclaimed “no bended knee,” had himself succumbed to some undefined pressure. In his memoirs, Vandegrift gave no hint that he was ever less than wholeheartedly committed to obtaining the protections included in the law.

Never was the meaning of Semper Fidelis better expressed than in the actions of the selfless Marines who celebrated the signing of the National Security Act on 26 July 1947. Along with absent Edson and Thomas, they risked their careers in a noble cause that many in the Corps, even the Commandant in the end, did not fully embrace.

But the fight was far from over. Vandegrift’s successor, General Clifton B. Cates, correctly observed that the law was “not a refuge but a battle position which must be defended in full force.” Until the attacks abated during the Korean War, the Marine Corps needed to reengage in a battle for survival. Most needed was a voice on the JCS, which began in 1952 when the Commandant was invited to attend discussions involving the Corps, and was fully realized in 1978 when full membership was obtained. Other milestones included appointment of the first Marine as JCS chairman in 2005 and selection with overwhelming bipartisan support of a retired Marine general, James Mattis, as Secretary of Defense in 2017.

Just how well the Chowder Society and its descendants have succeeded in preserving the special status of the Corps in the nation’s defense is reflected in an unbroken record of proud, independent service, promising fulfillment of Forrestal’s Suribachi prediction for centuries to come.

Muzzling Military Expression

Writing for the U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings in 1962 about the Marine Corps’ turbulent years before and after military unification, Marine Colonel Robert D. Heinl created a furor that reverberated in the Pentagon, Congress, and the press. Working from experience as a one-time member of the Chowder Society, Heinl revealed, according to the article’s promotion, “the history of attempts to cut back or do away with the Marine Corps as an effective fighting force.”

On 19 January 1962, newspaper readers across the country encountered articles pointing to the Pentagon’s silencing of dissent in the military. The Pentagon had refused publication of Heinl’s article, intended as a chapter in a projected history of the Marine Corps, because it “impugned the good faith” of President Harry S. Truman, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, and other leaders. A Defense Department spokesman challenged the inference that there had ever been “a conspiracy to kill the Marines.”

Significantly, the news broke just five days before a Senate subcommittee was scheduled to investigate the alleged muzzling of military expression. During those proceedings, Senator Strom Thurmond used Heinl’s silencing as evidence that such censorship existed.

When the Pentagon relented, and allowed publication in the October 1962 issue of Proceedings, news agencies again took note and served up some juicy tidbits once uttered by Truman, including his calling the Marine Corps “the Navy’s police force” with “a propaganda machine almost equal to Stalin’s.” Others whose anti-Marine biases were exposed included Eisenhower, quoted as having said “the Marines should hereafter be allowed to fight only in minor shore combat operations.” Accusations extended to the late Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Forrest Sherman, alleged to have worked against the Marine Corps to achieve military unification and receiving that top post as his reward.

2. GEN Merrill B. Twining, No Bended Knee: The Memoir of Gen. Merrill B. Twining (Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1996), 190.

3. Thomas B. Buell, Master of Sea Power (Boston: Little, Brown, 1962), 340.


Contents

Family and background Edit

Thomas Marshall's paternal grandfather, Riley Marshall, immigrated to Indiana in 1817 and settled on a farm in present-day Whitley County. [c] He became wealthy when a moderate deposit of oil and natural gas was discovered on his farm when he sold the property in 1827 it earned $25,000, [1] $523,750 in 2015 chained dollars. The money allowed him to purchase a modest estate and spend the rest of his life as an active member of the Indiana Democratic Party, serving as an Indiana State Senator, party chairman, and financial contributor. He was also able to send his only child, Daniel, to medical school. [1]

Marshall's mother, Martha Patterson, was orphaned at age thirteen while living in Ohio and moved to Indiana to live with her sister on a farm near the Marshalls' home. Martha was known for her wit and humor, as her son later would be. [d] Martha and Daniel met and married in 1848. [2]

Thomas Riley Marshall was born in North Manchester, Indiana, on March 14, 1854. Two years later, a sister was born, but she died in infancy. Martha had contracted tuberculosis, which Daniel believed to be the cause of their infant daughter's poor health. [2] While Marshall was still a young boy, his family moved several times searching a good climate for Daniel to attempt different "outdoor cures" on Martha. [3] They moved first to Quincy, Illinois in 1857. While the family was living in Illinois, Daniel Marshall, a supporter of the American Union and a staunch Democrat, took his four-year-old son, Thomas, to the Lincoln and Douglas debate in Freeport in 1858. Marshall later recalled that during the rally he sat on the laps of Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln, alternating between the two candidates when they were not speaking, and remembered it as one of his earliest and most cherished memories. [4] [5]

The family moved to Osawatomie, Kansas, in 1859, but the frontier violence caused them to move to Missouri in 1860. [6] Eventually, Daniel succeeded in curing Martha's disease. [6] As the American Civil War neared, violence spread into Missouri during the Bleeding Kansas incidents. In October 1860 several men led by Duff Green demanded that Daniel Marshall provide medical assistance to the pro-slavery faction, [4] but he refused, and the men left. When the Marshalls' neighbors warned that Green was planning to return and murder them, the family quickly packed their belongings and escaped by steamboat to Illinois. The Marshalls remained in Illinois only briefly, before relocating to Indiana, which was even farther from the volatile border region. [5] [7]

Education Edit

On settling in Pierceton, Indiana, Marshall began to attend public school. [3] His father and grandfather became embroiled in a dispute with their Methodist minister when they refused to vote Republican in the 1862 election. [9] The minister threatened to expel them from the church, to which Marshall's grandfather replied that he would "take his risk on hell, but not the Republican Party". [9] The dispute prompted the family to move again, to Fort Wayne, and convert to the Presbyterian church. In Fort Wayne, Marshall attended high school, graduating in 1869. [10] At age fifteen his parents sent him to Wabash College, in Crawfordsville, where he received a classical education. His father advised him to study medicine or become a minister, but neither interested him he entered the school without knowing which profession he would take upon graduation. [11] [12]

During college Marshall joined the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, participated in literary and debating societies, and founded a Democratic Club. [3] He secured a position on the staff of the college newspaper, the Geyser, and began writing political columns defending Democratic policies. In 1872 he wrote an unfavorable column about a female lecturer at the school, accusing her of "seeking liberties" with the young boys in their boarding house. She hired lawyer Lew Wallace, the author of Ben-Hur, and filed a suit demanding that Marshall pay her $20,000 for libel. [13] Marshall traveled to Indianapolis to find a defense lawyer and employed future United States President Benjamin Harrison, then a prominent lawyer in the area. Harrison had the suit dropped by showing that the charges made by Marshall were probably true. In Marshall's memoir, he wrote that when he approached Harrison to pay his bill, his lawyer informed him that he would not charge him for the service, but instead gave him a lecture on ethics. [13] [14]

Marshall was elected to Phi Beta Kappa during his final year at college. [3] He graduated in June 1873, receiving the top grade in fourteen of his thirty-six courses in a class of twenty-one students. [15] Because of his libel case, he had become increasingly interested in law and began seeking someone to teach him. At that time, the only way to become a lawyer in Indiana was to apprentice under a member of the Indiana bar association. His great-uncle Woodson Marshall began to help him, but the younger Marshall soon moved to Columbia City, Indiana, to live with his parents. Marshall read law in the Columbia City law office of Walter Olds, a future member of the Indiana Supreme Court, for more than a year and was admitted to the Indiana bar on April 26, 1875. [14] [16] [17] [18]

Law practice Edit

Marshall opened a law practice in Columbia City in 1876, taking on many minor cases. After gaining prominence, he accepted William F. McNagny as a partner in 1879 and began taking many criminal defense cases. The two men functioned well as partners. McNagny was better educated in law and worked out their legal arguments. Marshall, the superior orator, argued the cases before the judge and jury. Their firm became well known in the region after they handled a number of high-profile cases. [19] In 1880 Marshall ran for public office for the first time as the Democratic candidate for his district's prosecuting attorney. [20] The district was a Republican stronghold, and he was defeated. About the same time, he met and began to court Kate Hooper, and the two became engaged to marry. Kate died of an illness in 1882, one day before they were to be wed. Her death was a major emotional blow to Marshall, leading him to become an alcoholic. [21] [22]

Marshall lived with his parents into his thirties. His father died in the late 1880s and his mother died in 1894, leaving him with the family estate and business. In 1895, while working on a case, Marshall met Lois Kimsey who was working as a clerk in her father's law firm. [22] Despite their nineteen-year age difference, the couple fell in love and married on October 2. [23] The Marshalls had a close marriage and were nearly inseparable, and spent only two nights apart during their nearly thirty-year marriage. [24]

Marshall's alcoholism had begun to interfere with his busy life before his marriage. He arrived at court hung-over on several occasions and was unable to keep his addiction secret in his small hometown. His wife helped him to overcome his drinking problem and give up liquor after she locked him in their home for two weeks to undergo a treatment regimen. [23] Thereafter, he became active in temperance organizations and delivered several speeches about the dangers of liquor. Although he had stopped drinking, his past alcoholism was later raised by opponents during his gubernatorial election campaign. [25] [26]

Marshall remained active in the Democratic party after his 1880 defeat and began stumping for other candidates and helping to organize party rallies across the state. His speeches were noted for their partisanship, but his rhetoric gradually shifted away from a conservative viewpoint in the 1890s as he began to identify himself with the growing progressive movement. [27] He became a member of the state Democratic Central Committee in 1904, a position that raised his popularity and influence in the party. [14] [23] [28]

Marshall and his wife were involved in several private organizations. He was active in the Presbyterian Church, taught Sunday school, and served on the county fair board. As he grew wealthy from his law firm he became involved in local charities. An enthusiastic Mason in Columbia City Lodge No. 189 in the Grand Lodge of Indiana, he was a governing member of the state's York Rite bodies, awarded the thirty-third degree of the Scottish Rite in 1898, and became an Active member of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction's Supreme Council in 1911. He remained a passionate Freemason until his death and served on several Masonic charitable boards. After his death, the $25,000 cost of erecting his mausoleum in Indianapolis' Crown Hill Cemetery was gratefully paid for by the Scottish Rite NMJ Supreme Council. [29]

Campaign Edit

In 1906, Marshall declined his party's nomination to run for Congress. He hinted, however, to state party leaders that he would be interested in running for Indiana governor in the 1908 election. [30] He soon gained the support of several key labor unions, and was endorsed by Louis Ludlow, a reporter for the Indianapolis Star. Despite this support, Marshall was a dark horse candidate at the state convention. [31] Initially, Thomas Taggart, Indiana Democratic Party boss, did not support him because of Marshall's support of prohibition. [32] Taggart wanted the party to nominate anti-prohibitionist Samuel Ralston, but the prohibitionist and anti-Taggart factions united with Marshall's supporters. To oppose L. Ert Slack, a temperance candidate, Taggart persuaded Ralston's delegates to support Marshall and give him the votes he needed to win the nomination. [33] [34] [35]

Marshall's opponent in the general election was Republican Congressman James E. Watson, and the campaign focused on temperance and prohibition. [35] [36] Just as it began, the Republican-controlled state government passed a local-option law that allowed counties to ban the sale of liquor. The law became the central point of debate between the parties and their gubernatorial candidates. The Democrats proposed that the local-option law be changed so that the decision to ban liquor sales could be made at the city and township level. [37] This drew support from anti-prohibitionists, who saw it as an opportunity to roll back prohibition in some areas, and as the only alternative available to the total prohibition which the Republican Party advocated. The Democratic position also helped to retain prohibitionists' support by allowing prohibition to remain enacted in communities where a majority supported it. [36] The Republican Party was in the midst of a period of instability, splitting along progressive and conservative lines. [36] Their internal problems proved to be the deciding factor in the election, giving Marshall a narrow victory: he received 48.1 percent of the vote to Watson's 48.0 percent. [38] He was the first Democratic governor in two decades. [37] Democrats also came to power in the Indiana House of Representatives by a small margin, though Republicans retained control of the Indiana Senate. [35] [37]

Progressive agenda Edit

Marshall was inaugurated as Governor of Indiana on January 11, 1909. Since his party had been out of power for many years, its initial objective was to appoint as many Democrats as possible to patronage positions. [39] Marshall tried to avoid becoming directly involved in the patronage system. He allowed the party's different factions to have positions and appointed very few of his own choices. He allowed Taggart to manage the process and pick the candidates, but signed off on the official appointments. Although his position on patronage kept peace in his party, it prevented him from building a strong political base. [40]

During his term, Marshall focused primarily on advancing the progressive agenda. He successfully advocated the passage of a child labor law and anti-corruption legislation. He supported popular election of U.S. Senators, and the constitutional amendment to allow it was ratified by the Indiana General Assembly during his term. [41] He also overhauled the state auditing agencies and claimed to have saved the government millions of dollars. [39] He was unsuccessful in passing the rest of the progressive platform agenda items or persuading the legislature to call a convention to rewrite the state constitution to expand the government's regulatory powers. [42]

Marshall was a strong opponent of Indiana's recently passed eugenics and sterilization laws, and ordered state institutions not to follow them. [43] He was an early, high-profile opponent of eugenics laws, and he carried his opposition into the vice-presidency. [44] His governorship was the first in which no state executions took place, due to his opposition to capital punishment and his practice of pardoning and commuting the sentences of people condemned to execution. [45] He regularly attacked corporations and used recently created antitrust laws to attempt to break several large businesses. [46] He participated in a number of ceremonial events, including laying the final golden brick to complete the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1909. [47]

Marshall's constitution Edit

Rewriting the state constitution became Marshall's central focus as governor, and after the General Assembly refused to call a constitutional convention he sought other ways to have a new constitution adopted. He and Jacob Piatt Dunn, a close friend and civic leader, wrote a new constitution that increased the state's regulatory powers considerably, set minimum wages, and gave constitutional protections to unions. [48] Many of these reforms were also in the Socialist Party platform under its leader, Terre Haute native Eugene V. Debs. Republicans believed Marshall's constitution was an attempt to win over Debs' supporters, who had a strong presence in Indiana. [41] [46] The constitution also allowed direct-democracy initiatives and referendums to be held. The Democratic controlled assembly agreed to the request and put the measure on the ballot. His opponents attacked the direct-democracy provisions, claiming they were a violation of the United States Constitution, which required states to operate republican forms of government. [46] [49] The 1910 midterm elections gave the Democrats control of the Indiana Senate, increasing the constitution's chances of adoption. Marshall presented it to the General Assembly in 1911 and recommended that they submit it to voters in the 1912 election. [50]

Republicans opposed the ratification process, and were infuriated that the Democrats were attempting to revise the entire constitution without calling a constitutional convention, as had been called for in the state's two previous constitutions. [49] Marshall argued that no convention was needed because the existing constitution did not call for one. [51] Republicans took the issue to court and the Marion County Circuit Court granted an injunction removing the constitution from the 1912 ballot. Marshall appealed, but the Indiana Supreme Court upheld the decision in a judgment which stated that the Constitution of Indiana could not be replaced in total without a constitutional convention, based on the precedent set by Indiana's first two constitutions. [52] Marshall was angry with the decision and delivered a speech attacking the court and accusing it of overstepping its authority. He launched a final appeal to the United States Supreme Court but left office in January 1913 while the case was still pending. Later that year, the court declined the appeal, finding that the issue was within the sole jurisdiction of the state courts. Marshall was disappointed with the outcome. [53] Subsequent scholars such as Linda Gugin and legal expert James St. Claire have called the process and the document "seriously flawed" and argued that had the constitution been adopted, large parts would probably have been ruled unconstitutional by the federal courts. [54]

Election Edit

The Indiana constitution prevented Marshall from serving a consecutive term as governor. He made plans to run for a United States Senate seat after his term ended, but another opportunity presented itself during his last months as governor. Although he did not attend the 1912 Democratic National Convention in Baltimore, his name was put forward as Indiana's choice for president. [55] He was suggested as a compromise nominee, but William Jennings Bryan and his delegates endorsed Woodrow Wilson over Champ Clark, securing the nomination for Wilson. Indiana's delegates lobbied to have Marshall named the vice presidential candidate in exchange for supporting Wilson. Indiana was an important swing state, and Wilson hoped that Marshall's popularity would help him carry it in the general election. He had his delegates support Marshall, giving him the vice presidential nomination. [56] [57] [58] Marshall privately turned down the nomination, assuming the job would be boring given its limited role. He changed his mind after Wilson assured him that he would be given plenty of responsibilities. [59] During the campaign, Marshall traveled across the United States delivering speeches. The Wilson–Marshall ticket easily won the 1912 election because of the division between the Republican Party and the Progressive Party. [59]

Marshall was not fond of Wilson, as he disagreed with him on a number of issues. [60] Although Wilson invited Marshall to cabinet meetings, Marshall's ideas were rarely considered for implementation, and Marshall eventually stopped attending them regularly. [60] In 1913, Wilson broke with longstanding tradition and met with senators to discuss policy. Previous presidents had used the vice president as an intermediary, but Wilson did not trust Marshall with delicate business. [59] [61] In his memoir, Marshall's only negative comment towards Wilson was, "I have sometimes thought that great men are the bane of civilization, they are the real cause of all the bitterness and contention which amounts to anything in the world". [62] [63] Their relationship was described as one of "functioning animosity". [64]

Senate developments Edit

Marshall was not offended by Wilson's lack of interest in his ideas, and considered his primary constitutional duty to be in the Senate. He viewed the vice presidency as a legislative role, not an executive one. [65] When he presided over the Senate, emotions sometimes ran high. During a debate on the Mexican border crisis in 1916, Marshall threatened to expel certain senators from the chamber for their raucous behavior, but did not carry through on the threat. [66] On several occasions, he ordered the Senate gallery cleared. [66] He voted eight times to break tie votes. [67]

In the debates leading up to World War I, a number of isolationist senators filibustered bills that Wilson considered important. The filibusters lasted for weeks and twice lasted for over three months. Wilson and the bills' supporters requested that Marshall put a gag-order in place to cut off debate, but he refused on ethical grounds, allowing a number of bills to be defeated in hopes that opposition would eventually end their filibuster. [68] Among the defeated bills was one allowing merchant ships to arm themselves, and another allowing the US government to make direct arms sales to the Allies. [69] Despite their victories, the small group of senators continued to lock up the senate to prevent any pro-war legislation from passing. In response, Marshall led the Senate to adopt a new rule on March 8, 1917, allowing filibusters to be broken by two-thirds of voting Senators. This replaced the previous rule that allowed any senator to prolong debate as long as he desired. The rule has been modified several times, most prominently that the current rule requires three-fifths of all Senators, not only the ones voting. [70] [71]

As Marshall made little news and was viewed as a somewhat comic figure in Washington because of his sense of humor, a number of Democratic party leaders wanted him removed from the 1916 reelection ticket. [72] Wilson, after deliberating, decided keeping Marshall on would demonstrate party unity thus in 1916 Marshall won reelection over the still divided Republican Party and became the first vice president re-elected since John C. Calhoun in 1828, and Wilson and Marshall became the first president and vice president team to be re-elected since Monroe and Tompkins in 1820. [59] [73]

Assassination attempt Edit

On the evening of July 2, 1915, Eric Muenter, a one time German professor at Harvard and Cornell universities, who opposed American support of the Allied war effort, broke into the U.S. Senate and, finding the door to the Senate chamber locked, laid dynamite outside the reception room, which happened to be next to Marshall's office door. Although the bomb was set with a timer, it exploded prematurely just before midnight, while no one was in the office. (Muenter may not have been specifically targeting the vice president.). [74] [75]

On July 3, Muenter (who went under the pseudonym Frank Holt) burst into the Glen Cove, New York home of Jack Morgan, son of financier J.P. Morgan, demanding that he stop the sale of weapons to the Allies. Morgan told the man he was in no position to comply with his demand Muenter shot him twice non-fatally and escaped. [74] [75] Muenter was later apprehended and confessed to attempted assassination of the vice president. [76] Marshall was offered a personal security detachment after the incident, but declined it. [77] Marshall had been receiving written death threats from numerous "cranks" for several weeks. "Some of them were signed," Marshall told the press, "but most were anonymous. I threw them all into the waste basket." Marshall added that he was "more or less a fatalist" and did not notify the Secret Service about the letters, "but that he naturally was startled when he heard of the explosion at the Capitol." [78]

World War I Edit

During Marshall's second term, the United States entered World War I. Marshall was a reluctant supporter of the war, believing the country to be unprepared and feared it would be necessary to enact conscription. [71] [e] He was pleased with Wilson's strategy to begin a military buildup before the declaration of war, and fully supported the war effort once it had begun. Shortly after the first troops began to assemble for transport to Europe, Wilson and Marshall hosted a delegation from the United Kingdom in which Marshall became privy to the primary war strategy. [79] However, he was largely excluded from war planning and rarely received official updates on the progress of military campaigns. He usually received news of the war through the newspapers. [80]

Wilson sent Marshall around the nation to deliver morale-boosting speeches and encourage Americans to buy Liberty Bonds to support the war effort. [81] Marshall was well suited for the job, as he had been earning extra money as a public speaker while vice president, and gladly accepted the responsibility. In his speeches, he cast the war as a "moral crusade to preserve the dignity of the state for the rights of individuals". [81] In his memoir, he recalled that the war seemed to drag on "with leaden feet", and that he was relieved when it finally ended. [81] As the war neared its end, Marshall became the first vice president to conduct cabinet meetings [59] Wilson left him with this responsibility while traveling in Europe to sign the Versailles treaty and to work on gathering support for his League of Nations idea. Wilson became the first president to deliver a treaty to the Senate in person when he presented it to Marshall during a morning session. [82] [83]

Morrison Edit

Marshall's wife, Lois, was heavily involved in charitable activities in Washington and spent considerable time working at the Diet Kitchen Welfare Center providing free meals to impoverished children. In 1917 she became acquainted with a mother of newborn twins, one of whom was chronically ill. The child's parents were unable to get adequate treatment for their son's condition. Lois formed a close bond with the baby, named Clarence Ignatius Morrison, and offered to take him and help him find treatment. [84] She and Marshall had been unable to have children, and when she brought the baby home, Marshall told her that she could "keep him, provided he did not squall". [85] Marshall grew to love the boy and wrote that he "never walked the streets of Washington with as sure a certainty as he walked into my heart", and, as the boy grew older, that he was "beautiful as an angel brilliant beyond his years lovable from every standpoint". [85] [86]

The Marshalls never officially adopted Morrison because they believed that to go through the procedure while his parents were still living would appear unusual to the public. Wanting to keep the situation private, they instead made a special arrangement with his parents. [f] President Wilson felt obliged to acknowledge the boy as theirs and sent the couple a note that simply said, "With congratulations to the baby. Wilson". [87] Morrison lived with the Marshalls for the rest of his life. In correspondence they referred to him as Morrison Marshall, but in person they called him Izzy. [87] Lois took him to see many doctors and spent all her available time trying to nurse him back to health, but his condition worsened and he died in February 1920, just before his fourth birthday. His death devastated Marshall, who wrote in his memoir that Izzy "was and is and ever will be so sacred to me". [86] [87]

Succession crisis Edit

President Wilson experienced a mild stroke in September 1919. [88] On October 2, he was struck by a much more severe stroke that left him partially paralyzed and almost certainly incapacitated. [59] [89] [90] Wilson's closest adviser, Joseph Tumulty, did not believe Marshall would be a suitable acting president and took precautions to prevent him from assuming presidential powers and duties. Wilson's wife Edith strongly disliked Marshall because of what she called his "uncouthed" disposition, and also opposed his assumption of presidential powers and duties. [91] [92] Tumulty and the First Lady believed that an official communication from Wilson's staff on his condition would allow Marshall to trigger the constitutional mechanism allowing him to become acting president, and made sure no such communication occurred. [93] [94] After Marshall demanded to know Wilson's status so that he could prepare for the possibility of becoming president, they had a reporter from the Baltimore Sun brief Marshall and inform him that Wilson was near death. [95] Marshall later said that "it was the first great shock of my life", but without an official communication on Wilson's condition, he didn't believe he could constitutionally assume presidential powers and duties. [90] [96] [97]

On October 5, Secretary of State Robert Lansing was the first official to propose that Marshall forcibly assume presidential powers and duties. Other cabinet secretaries backed Lansing's request. Congressional leaders of both parties also sent private communications to Marshall, who was cautious in accepting their support. [98] After consulting with his wife and his long-time personal adviser, Mark Thistlethwaite, he privately refused to assume Wilson's duties and become acting president. [99] [100] The process for declaring a president incapacitated was unclear at that time, and he feared the precedent that might be set if he forcibly removed Wilson from his powers and duties. [91] Marshall wanted the president to voluntarily allow his powers to devolve to the vice president, but that was impossible given his condition and unlikely given Wilson's dislike for Marshall. The vice president informed the cabinet that he would assume Wilson's powers and duties only in response to a joint resolution of Congress calling on him to do so or an official communication from Wilson or his staff asserting his inability to perform his duties. [89] [90]

Wilson was kept secluded by his wife and personal physician and only his close advisers were allowed to see him none would divulge official information on his condition. [89] Although Marshall sought to meet with Wilson to determine his condition, he was unable to do so. He instead relied on vague updates received through bulletins published by Wilson's physician. [101] Believing that Wilson and his advisers would not voluntarily transfer power to the vice president, a group of Congressional leaders initiated Marshall's requested joint resolution. However, senators opposed to the League of Nations treaty blocked the joint resolution in hopes of preventing the treaty's ratification. These senators believed that as acting president Marshall would make several key concessions that would allow the treaty to win ratification. Wilson, in his present condition, was either unwilling or unable to make the concessions, and debate on the bill had resulted in a deadlock. [102]

On December 4, Lansing announced in a Senate committee hearing that no one in the cabinet had spoken with or seen Wilson in over sixty days. The senators seeking to elevate Marshall requested that a committee be sent to check on Wilson's condition, hoping to gain evidence to support their cause. Dubbed the "smelling committee" by several newspapers, the group discovered Wilson was in very poor health, but seemed to have recovered enough of his faculties to make decisions. Their report ended the perceived need for the joint resolution. [103]

At a Sunday church service in mid-December, in what Marshall believed was an attempt by other officials to force him to assume the presidency, a courier brought a message informing him that Wilson had died. Marshall was shocked, and rose to announce the news to the congregation. The ministers held a prayer, the congregation began singing hymns, and many people wept. Marshall and his wife exited the building, and made a call to the White House to determine his next course of action, only to find that he had been the victim of a hoax, and that Wilson was still alive. [104]

Marshall performed a few ceremonial functions for the remainder of Wilson's term, such as hosting foreign dignitaries. Among these was Albert I, King of the Belgians, the first European monarch to visit the United States. Edward, Prince of Wales, the future monarch of the United Kingdom, spent two days with Marshall and received a personal tour of Washington from him. [105] First Lady Edith Wilson performed most routine duties of government. She reviewed Wilson's communications and decided what to share with him and what to delegate to others. The resulting lack of leadership allowed the administration's opponents to prevent ratification of the League of Nations treaty. [101] [106] They attacked the treaty's tenth article, which they believed would allow the United States to be bound in an alliance to European countries that could force the country to return to war without an act of Congress. [107] Marshall personally supported the treaty's adoption, but recommended several changes, including the requirement that all parties to it acknowledge the Monroe Doctrine and the United States' sphere of influence, and that the tenth article be made non-binding. [108] [109]

Wilson began to recover by the end of 1919, but remained secluded for the remainder of his term, steadfast in his refusal or inability to accept changes to the treaty. Marshall was prevented from meeting with him to ascertain his true condition until his final day in office. It remains unclear who made executive decisions during Wilson's incapacity, but it was likely the first lady with the help of the presidential advisers. [110] [111]

Marshall had his name entered as a candidate for the presidential nomination at the 1920 Democratic National Convention. He made arrangements with Thomas Taggart to have a delegation sent from Indiana to support his bid, but was unable to garner support outside of the Hoosier delegation. Ultimately he endorsed the Democratic nominees, James M. Cox for president and Franklin D. Roosevelt for vice president, but they were defeated by the Republican ticket of Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge. [112] On their election, Marshall sent a note to Coolidge offering him his "sincere condolences" for his misfortune of having been elected vice president. [111] [112] [113]

Marshall considered returning to Columbia City after leaving office, but instead bought a home and opened a law practice in Indianapolis, where he believed there would be better business opportunities. [114] Harding nominated him to serve on the Lincoln Memorial Commission in 1921, and then to a more lucrative position on the Federal Coal Commission in 1922 Marshall resigned from both commissions in 1923. [114] He spent over a year writing books on the law and his Recollections, a humorous memoir. The latter book was completed in May 1925 and subsequent historians have noted it as unusual, even for its time, for not disclosing any secrets or attacking any of Marshall's enemies. [115] Marshall remained a popular public speaker, and continued to travel to give speeches. The last he delivered was to high school students in the town of his birth. [116]

While on a trip to Washington D.C., Marshall was struck by a heart attack while reading his Bible in bed on the night of June 1, 1925. [117] His wife called for medical assistance, but he died before it arrived. He was 71. A service and viewing was held in Washington two days later and was attended by many dignitaries. Marshall's remains were returned to Indianapolis, where he lay in state for two days thousands visited his bier. His funeral service was held June 9, and he was interred in Crown Hill Cemetery, next to the grave of his adopted son Morrison "Izzy" Marshall. [111] [113] [116] Lois Marshall moved to Arizona and remained widowed the rest of her life, living on her husband's pension and the $50,000 she earned by selling his memoir to the Bobbs-Merrill publishing company. She died in 1958 and was interred next to her husband. [118]

Marshall was known for his quick wit and good sense of humor. On hearing of his nomination as vice president, he announced that he was not surprised, as "Indiana is the mother of Vice Presidents home of more second-class men than any other state". [119] One of his favorite jokes, which he delivered in a speech before his departure for Washington, D.C., to become vice president, recounted a story of a man with two sons. One of the sons went to sea and drowned and the other was elected vice president neither son was ever heard from again. [120] On his election as vice president, he sent Woodrow Wilson a book, inscribed "From your only Vice". [119]

Marshall's humor caused him trouble during his time in Washington. He was known to greet citizens walking by his office on the White House tour by saying to them, "If you look on me as a wild animal, be kind enough to throw peanuts at me." [77] This prompted Wilson to move Marshall's office to the Senate Office building, where the Vice President would not be disturbed by visitors. [119] In response to Alexander Graham Bell's proposal to the board of the Smithsonian Institution to send a team to excavate for ruins in Guatemala, Marshall suggested that the team instead excavate around Washington. When asked why, he replied that, judging by the looks of the people walking on the street, they should be able to find buried cave-men no more than six feet down. The joke was not well received, and he was shut out of board meetings for nearly a year. [62]

Marshall's wit is best remembered for a phrase he introduced to the American lexicon. While presiding over a Senate session in 1914, Marshall responded to earlier comments from Senator Joseph L. Bristow that provided a long list of what he felt the country needed. Marshall reportedly leaned over and muttered to one of his clerks, "What this country needs is more of this what this country needs is more of that" and quipped loudly enough for others to overhear, "What this country needs is a really good five-cent cigar." [g] [68] [71] [121] Marshall's remark was popularized and widely circulated among a network of newspapers. Other accounts later embellished the story, including the exact situation that prompted his comment. [h] In 1922 Marshall explained that the five-cent cigar was a metaphor for simpler times and "buckling down to thrift and work." [122]

The situation that arose after the incapacity of Wilson, for which Marshall's vice-presidency is most remembered, revived the national debate on the process of presidential succession. [71] The topic was already being discussed when Wilson left for Europe, which influenced him to allow Marshall to conduct cabinet meetings in his absence. Wilson's incapacity during 1919 and the lack of action by Marshall made it a major issue. The lack of a clear process for presidential succession had first become an issue when President William Henry Harrison died in office in 1841, but little progress had been made passing a constitutional amendment to remedy the problem. [123] Nearly fifty years later, after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution was passed, allowing the vice president to assume the presidential powers and duties any time the president was rendered incapable of carrying out the powers and duties of the office. [124]

Historians have varied interpretations of Marshall's vice presidency. Claire Suddath rated Marshall as one of the worst vice presidents in American history in a 2008 Time magazine article. [64] Samuel Eliot Morison wrote that had Marshall carried out his constitutional duties, assumed the presidential powers and duties, and made the concessions necessary for the passage of the League of Nations treaty in late 1920, the United States would have been much more involved in European affairs and could have helped prevent the rise of Adolf Hitler, which began in the following year. Morison and a number of other historians claim that Marshall's decision was an indirect cause of the Second World War. [125] Charles Thomas, one of Marshall's biographers, wrote that although Marshall's assumption of presidential powers and duties would have made World War II much less likely, modern hypothetical speculation on the subject was unfair to Marshall, who made the correct decision in not forcibly removing Wilson from his duties, even temporarily. [116]


Appendix

United States Assistance to Other Countries From the Standpoint of National Security

Report by the Joint Strategic Survey Committee

1. On the assumption that the next war will be ideological, to prepare a study, from the standpoint of national security, to determine the countries of the world, in the order of their urgency and their importance, to which the United States should, if possible, give current assistance.

3. a . A sound program of United States assistance to other countries along the line indicated in the remainder of these conclusions will greatly assist in the realization of the major objectives currently supported by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the interest of strengthening the national security of the United States.

b . The area of primary strategic importance to the United States in the event of ideological warfare is Western Europe, including Great Britain.

d . No current assistance should be granted the USSR.

e . Every region under Soviet control should be excluded from current assistance, except in those rare instances which present an opportunity for the United States to gain worldwide approbation by an act strikingly humanitarian for example, the recent provision of food for the famine areas of Roumania.

f . If assistance is given it should, in each instance, be sufficient to positively assist the nation aided to achieve, or retain, a sound economy, to maintain the armed forces necessary for its continued independence and to be of real assistance to the United States in case of ideological warfare.

g . Conclusion f may prevent the United States giving assistance to all nations which it is desirable to aid, but adherence to conclusion f is necessary if the national security of the United States is to receive maximum strengthening from a United States program of current assistance to other nations.

  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Iran
  • Korea
  • France
  • Austria
  • China
  • Turkey
  • Great Britain
  • Belgium and Luxembourg
  • Netherlands— N.E.I.
  • The Philippines
  • Portugal
  • The Latin American Republics
  • Canada
  • Great Britain
  • France
  • Germany
  • Belgium
  • Netherlands
  • Austria
  • Italy
  • Canada
  • Turkey
  • Greece
  • Latin America
  • Spain
  • Japan
  • China
  • Korea
  • The Philippines
  • Great Britain
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Greece
  • Turkey
  • Austria (assuming conclusion of peace treaty)
  • Japan
  • Belgium
  • Netherlands
  • Latin America
  • Spain
  • Korea
  • China
  • The Philippines
  • Canada

4. It is recommended that the Joint Chiefs of Staff approve the foregoing conclusions.


About Us

The Marshall Project is a nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization that seeks to create and sustain a sense of national urgency about the U.S. criminal justice system. We have an impact on the system through journalism, rendering it more fair, effective, transparent and humane.

Edmund D. Fountain for The Marshall Project

There is bipartisan agreement that the criminal justice system needs reform. Our reporting has shown that it perpetuates racial and economic inequities, costs taxpayers billions of dollars a year, and is toxic to those it incarcerates — and often to those who work in it. Police, courts and prisons are repositories of crises they are ill-equipped to handle, including mental illness, addiction and poverty. And victims of crime often feel re-traumatized by a system that is supposed to protect them.

Although we are not advocates, The Marshall Project often spurs change. Our journalism exposes wrongs, bringing them to the attention of officials who can take action. We give visibility to proposals and critiques from the criminal justice community. And we try to set an example for other media to cover criminal justice issues fairly and responsibly.

We partner with both national and local media outlets to reach diverse audiences who can be awakened to the issue. Our journalism informs criminal justice experts who need fresh and accurate information to do their best work. We also aim to serve and engage the millions of people whose lives have been ensnared in the criminal justice system, and whom the media have too often neglected and marginalized.

The Marshall Project has impact. A few examples:

Our data tracker is the nation’s most authoritative source on coronavirus behind bars, updated weekly and cited hundreds of times by policymakers and media.

We won a Pulitzer Prize for our story about the botched investigation of a rape case, which led to better training for how first-responders approach victims of sexual assault.

Our investigation into violence using police dogs prompted departments from Indiana to Louisiana to change their policies.

The Department of Justice started an investigation after our story about the private business of prisoner transport.

Teenagers and pregnant women are no longer held in solitary confinement because of our investigation into Tennessee jails.

Thousands of cameras were installed in New York’s infamous Attica prison after we revealed the extent of violent abuse by guards.

You can read our latest Impact Report here.

Our name is a tribute to Thurgood Marshall, a towering figure in the civil rights movement. We are committed to building and retaining a diverse staff and board, who bring a variety of experiences and perspectives to bear on the issues we cover. Read more about how we are building a diverse, equitable and inclusive organization in our annual diversity report.

Why The &ldquoMarshall&rdquo Project?

Thurgood Marshall is an American hero. His work as a lawyer for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, including the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education decision, laid the groundwork for the modern U.S. civil rights movement. As the first African-American justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, he was a persuasive advocate for a living and breathing Constitution that sees beyond the prejudices of revolutionary America.

If Marshall were alive, I have no doubt that he would place criminal justice reform high among the urgent priorities of today’s civil rights movement, and that his would be a powerful voice for change. It is for these reasons that I chose to name The Marshall Project in his honor. — Neil Barsky, founder of The Marshall Project

Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993) was a towering figure in the civil rights movement and the first African American justice to serve on the United States Supreme Court. Before joining the court in 1967, he worked as a civil rights lawyer, famously criss-crossing the South on behalf of black clients who were facing Jim Crow justice from white police officials, prosecutors, judges and juries. In 1940, at age 32, he founded the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and served as an executive there for two decades. He and his colleagues won a series of Supreme Court victories that gradually eroded the "separate but equal" doctrine, the legal underpinning of segregation in America. The most famous of those cases was Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark 1954 decision that declared unconstitutional segregation in the nation's public schools.

Nominated by President Lyndon Johnson, and confirmed by the Senate on a vote of 69-11, Marshall served on the Supreme Court for 24 years until his retirement at the end of the 1991 term. During his tenure, he was known for his strong support of First Amendment principles and was a reliable vote against the death penalty, even though he often said he was personally not opposed to capital punishment. He frequently sided with his fellow Warren Court jurists in seeking to protect and expand the constitutional rights of citizens charged with crimes, and he became a frequent dissenter during his later years as the Court moved rightward. The leader of that conservative shift, Chief Justice William Rehnquist, spoke at Marshall's funeral in 1993:

“As a result of his career as a lawyer and as a judge, Thurgood Marshall left an indelible mark, not just upon the law, but upon his country. Inscribed above the front entrance to the Supreme Court building are the words ‘Equal justice under law.’ Surely no one individual did more to make these words a reality than Thurgood Marshall.”

A letter from our founder

The seeds of The Marshall Project were planted several years ago, after I read two books. The first, the now-famous “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander, argues that mass incarceration — which dates roughly from President Ronald Reagan's War on Drugs in the 1980s to the present — represents the third phase of African American oppression in the United States, after slavery and Jim Crow. Alexander documents how the United States became the world’s biggest jailer by enacting policies that represented a bipartisan shift in how we address substance abuse, mental illness, and non-violent forms of misconduct. Partly fueled by a backlash to civil rights gains and partly by fear of escalating crime, Alexander claims, we enacted tough drug laws, imposed greater mandatory minimum sentences, and ignited a prison boom. Intent can be difficult to prove impact is irrefutable.

The second, Gilbert King’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Devil in the Grove,” explores the case of four young Black men falsely accused of rape in Lake County, Florida, and the vigilante violence that ensued. At the center of the drama was NAACP Legal Defense Fund attorney Thurgood Marshall, the future Supreme Court justice, who bravely fought to spare these young men's lives in Florida's courts, in a largely futile effort. This took place in 1949, before Brown v. Board of Education (a Marshall legal triumph) and before an organized national movement to combat Jim Crow segregation laws. The national press did not cover the proceedings, but Thurgood Marshall went on to a distinguished career as a civil rights attorney, the Solicitor General of the United States, and our country's first Black Supreme Court justice.

Spurred on by these chapters in American history, I continued to explore our system of crime and punishment. What struck me was not only how expensive, ineffective, and racially biased it is, but also how difficult it was to find anyone, whether they’re liberal or conservative, who defends the status quo. But our condition has become taken for granted. Other American crises — soaring healthcare costs, the failure of public education — typically lead to public debate and legislative action. But mass incarceration appears to have had the opposite effect: The public has become inured to the overuse of solitary confinement, the widespread incidence of prison rape, and the mixing of teens and adults in maximum security prisons. The more people we put behind bars, it seems, the more the issue has receded from the public consciousness.

The Marshall Project represents our attempt to elevate the criminal justice issue to one of national urgency, and to help spark a national conversation about reform. I named our organization after Justice Marshall because he embodies the principles we hold dear. He was scholarly, he was courageous, and he fiercely believed that the U.S. Constitution was the template to secure civil rights for all.

A lot has happened since our 2015 launch. Following a series of police shootings of unarmed Black people, the Black Lives Matter movement became a formidable force in the fight for racial justice. Many publications expanded their criminal justice coverage. And slowly, slowly, the number of people behind bars in America has fallen, but we remain among the world's largest jailers per capita. And the death of George Floyd and the election of a more reform-minded administration also suggest that our work has only just begun.

Something else has happened since our founding — local journalism has collapsed. In city after city, newsrooms have been hollowed out. Many cities no longer have daily newspapers. This means less accountability and a weaker democracy. The Marshall Project, as a non-profit funded by foundations and generous individuals, is in a position to fill the gap by teaming up with local news outlets or by opening up offices in cities where there is a desperate need for high-quality criminal justice journalism.

We believe that journalism, done honestly and well, has infinite power to drive change. We only need to look to the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements to appreciate how important journalism is in shaping public opinion. I am a former reporter, and I have always believed that truthful story-telling is one of the most powerful ways to effect social change. We do not need to be ideological or selective of facts. When the truth is as disturbing as it was in the segregated South, or Vietnam, or today's prisons and courts, factual reporting can have a powerful impact.

Being nonpartisan is not the same as being neutral. We approach the issue with the view — shared by a growing number of conservatives and liberals — that our system needs serious rethinking.

Our founding editor, former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller, assembled a first-class team of reporters and editors dedicated to excellence, nonpartisan reporting, and innovation. Bill’s successor, Susan Chira, is building on his legacy of excellence. We explore what is working as well as what is broken, and where the potential exists for meaningful reform.

Thank you for your interest in The Marshall Project, and please do not hesitate to tell us what you think.


Influence on American Diplomacy

Following Marshall’s resignation as Chief of Staff, President Truman relied heavily on Marshall’s expertise to navigate postwar diplomacy. Marshall’s first assignment was to lead a special mission to China in late 1945 to mediate the conflict between the Nationalists and the Communists. Although this mission was ultimately unsuccessful, Marshall’s tenure as Secretary of State was marked by several notable achievements.

In 1947 and 1948, Marshall led the effort to formulate and secure congressional support for the massive aid package to Western Europe that would become known as the Marshall Plan. The United States also negotiated the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization under Secretary Marshall. Although Marshall typically served President Truman without objection, he did strongly disagree with Truman on the recognition of the State of Israel.

Marshall resigned as Secretary of State in 1949 and became president of the American Red Cross. However, he returned to the Truman Cabinet as Secretary of Defense in 1950 and served briefly in that capacity until 1951. Marshall died in 1959 after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953 for his work to restore Europe’s economy in the post-World War II period.


Watch the video: Ο Κυριάκος Μητσοτάκης συμμετείχε στα εγκαίνια έκθεσης στο Λούβρο μαζί με τον Emmanuel Macron (February 2023).

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