What Kind of Nation: Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, and the Epic Struggle to Create a United States

Version: Unabridged
Author: James F. Simon
Narrator: Patrick Cullen
Genres: Biography & Memoir, North America
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Published In: April 2003
# of Units: 11 CDs
Length: 12 hours, 40 minutes
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Overview

What Kind of Nation is a riveting account of the bitter struggle between two titans of the early republic over the power of the presidency and the independence of the judiciary.

The clash between fellow Virginians (and second cousins) Thomas Jefferson and John Marshall remains the most decisive confrontation between a president and a chief justice in American history.

Jefferson was a strong advocate of states' rights who distrusted the power of the federal government. He believed that the Constitution defined federal authority narrowly and left most governmental powers to the states.

Marshall believed in a strong federal government and was convinced that an independent judiciary offered the best protection for the Constitution and the nation.

As Marshall's views prevailed, Jefferson became increasingly bitter, certain that the Court was suffocating the popular will. But Marshall's carefully reasoned rulings endowed the Court with constitutional authority even as they expanded the power of the federal government.

More than 150 years after the deaths of Jefferson and Marshall, their words still reverberate in constitutional debate. What Kind of Nation is a dramatic rendering of a bitter struggle between two shrewd politicians that helped create a United States.

Author Details

Author Details

Simon, James F.

James F. Simon, a former correspondent and contributing editor at "Time, " is the Martin Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus at New York Law School. The author of several critically acclaimed books, including "The Antagonists" and "The Center Holds, " he lives in West Nyack, New York.