Mcculloch V Maryland Case Study

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My Objective in studying the case of McCulloch v. Maryland was to learn how the implied powers granted by the U.S. Constitution came to be known.


McCulloch v. Maryland was an 1819 case in which the state of Maryland filed a lawsuit against James W. McCulloch for refusing to pay taxes imposed on banks not chartered by the state of Maryland. The case eventually went to the Supreme Court where a landmark decision was made regarding the powers granted by the U.S. Constitution. The Chief justice presiding over the case was John Marshall with Associate Justices Washington, Johnson, Livingston, Todd, Duvall, and Story.

Main Idea


In 1816 the U.S. Congress passed an act that established the Second National Bank of the
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Maryland was delivered by the Chief Justice John Marshall. Chief Justice Marshall spoke for a unanimous court (7-0) that rejected the defendant’s argument. The decision was based on Maryland’s assertion that since the U.S. Constitution was ratified by the states, the states were sovereign. Marshall denied the claim and stated that since the U.S. Constitution was a tool of the people and not of the states, the federal government reigned supreme over the states. He said “…the Government of the Union, though limited in its powers, is supreme within its sphere of action….”. The court also agreed with McCulloch that the U.S. Constitution was intended to serve as an outline of ideals easily understood by the public and open to interpretation. Chief Justice Marshall went on to declare that the “necessary and proper” clause granted the Congress the powers need to carry out its duty. In conclusion, Chief Justice Marshall wrote “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
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