Washington's Heir The Life of Justice Bushrod Washington

9780190947040

Washington's Heir The Life of Justice Bushrod Washington

  • ISBN 13:

    9780190947040

  • ISBN 10:

    0190947047

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 03/29/2022
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Summary

The first biography of George Washington's extraordinary nephew, who inherited Mount Vernon and was Chief Justice John Marshall's right-hand man on the Supreme Court for nearly thirty years.

George Washington's nephew and heir was a Supreme Court Justice for over thirty years and left an indelible mark on American law. Despite his remarkable life and notable lineage, he is unknown to most Americans because he cared more about establishing the rule of law than about personal glory.

In Washington's Heir, Gerard N. Magliocca gives us the first published biography of Bushrod Washington, one of the most underrated Founding Fathers. Born in 1762, Justice Washington fought in the Revolutionary War, served in Virginia's ratifying convention for the Constitution, and was Chief Justice John Marshall's partner in establishing the authority of the Supreme Court. Though he could only see from one eye, Justice Washington wrote many landmark decisions defining the fundamental rights of citizens and the structure of the Constitution, including Corfield v. Coryell--an influential source for the Congress that proposed the Fourteenth Amendment. As George Washington's personal heir, Bushrod inherited both Mount Vernon and the family legacy of owning other people, one of whom was almost certainly his half-brother or nephew. Yet Justice Washington alone among the Founders was criticized by journalists for selling enslaved people and, in turn, issued a public defence of his actions
that laid bare the hypocrisy and cruelty of slavery.

An in-depth look at Justice Washington's extraordinary story that gives insight into his personal thoughts through his own secret journal, Washington's Heir sheds new light not only on George Washington, John Marshall, and the Constitution, but also on America's ongoing struggle to become a more perfect union.

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