A man named Aaron Ogden received an exclusive license to operate steamboat ferries between New York City and New Jersey on the Hudson River. Ogden soon found out, however, that a man named Thomas Gibbons already ran two ferries along the same route. Because of this competition, Ogden went to a New York State court to try and get the court to order Gibbons to refrain from operating his ferries. Ogden’s reasoning behind this was that the State of New York had given him a license that allowed him exclusive rights to operate this specific route, meaning Gibbons should not be allowed to run his ferries on the Hudson River. Furthermore, Ogden claimed that Gibbon’s federal coasting license did n...
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...k and the Supreme Court both made the wrong decision, so he continued appealing until he reached the United States Supreme Court, which is how this became a landmark case. This case not only emphasized the United States Government’s powers over the states, but it also interpreted the Commerce Clause for the first time. Chief Justice John Marshall ruled for Gibbons because only the Federal Government had the power to regulate interstate commerce, and New York’s law conflicted with Congress’s. From this case, Congress was given the power to regulate anything that interferes with interstate commerce, which actually gives Congress quite a bit of power. However, without this case, all of the states would be fighting with each other and none of them would ever be able to trade with one another. This case was critical in making sure the United States actually stayed united.
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