100 Americans Making Constitutional History: A Biographical History presents 100 profiles of the key people behind some of the most important U.S. Supreme Court cases. Edited by Melvin I. Urofsky, a respected constitutional historian, each 2,000-word profile delves into the social and political context behind landmark Court decisions. For example, while a case like Brown v. Board of Education is about an important idea—the equal protection of the law—at its heart it is the story of a little girl, Linda Brown, who wanted to go to a decent school near her home. The outcome is accessible and objective “stories” about the individuals—heroes and scoundrels—who fought their way to constitutional history.

James William McCulloh

James William McCulloh

The Second Bank of the United States

“The Bank was Saved, and the People were Ruined”

M'Culloch v. Maryland

17 U.S. (4 Wheat.) 316 (1819)

In February 1818 the Maryland legislature enacted a measure that had but a single purpose: to banish from the state an institution it had come to view as “monstrous,” the Second Bank of the United States. In Maryland this law targeted the Baltimore branch of the national bank, whose affairs were overseen by its president, James A. Buchanan, and its cashier, James William McCulloh. (The Supreme Court record took several liberties with the spelling of his name.) A native of Philadelphia, McCulloh had lived and worked in Maryland for a number of years in varying degrees of obscurity. He may ...

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