​​McCulloch vs. Maryland

  • Background Information:
People: James W. McCulloch- the cashier at the United States branch bank who refused to pay the tax.
Dates: Supreme Court made final decision in 1819

The Congress established the second bank of the United States to help control the unregulated issuance of currency by state banks, which many people opposed. Then Maryland made an example by imposing a tax on all banks not chartered to the state. Once the United States branch bank refused to pay the taxes Maryland held a suit for collection from the bank.
  • Constitutional Significance of this case: (Constitutional Article One Section Eight: Congress may collect taxes in an organized manor in order for general welfare for the United States.)When Maryland imposed the tax it caused the state laws to impede the constitutional federal laws.
  • Decision/Precedent set by this case: Chief Justice John Marshall, "Let the end be legitimate, let it be within the scope of the constitution, and all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, which are not prohibited, but consist with the letter and spirit of the constitution, are constitutional.” The tax was voted by the Supreme Court unconstitutional because the state impeded the federal laws.
  • Terms: Federalism- people who agree with the constitution. Supremacy Clause- everyone must follow federal law over state law. Conlaw- deals with distribution of government power.


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A pro-Andrew Jackson political cartoon applauds the president's September 1833 order for the removal of federal deposits from the Bank of the United States.
A pro-Andrew Jackson political cartoon applauds the president's September 1833 order for the removal of federal deposits from the Bank of the United States.
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