How did the Supreme Court become important in our structure of government?


The final Bucket Course of this season will explore that question by focusing on one of the nation’s founders, John Marshall.   Dr. George Drake, Professor Emeritus of History and President Emeritus at Grinnell College, will speak on “Americans We Should Know More About: John Marshall.” 

The class will take place from 10:00 to 11:30 am on Wednesday, May 1,2019 in the Caulkins Room of the Drake Community Library. It is free and open to all: registration is suggested and is available at the Community Education Council (CEC) website  

John Marshall was the fourth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court;  he made the Court into a co-equal branch of the US government during his long tenure from 1801-1835. Marshall’ thirty-four-year tenure spanned six presidencies: those of Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Adams and Jackson.

Drake explains, “I hope that the class members will learn about one of the most extraordinary members of our founding generation: a man who served in the Continental Army, endured the Valley Forge winter, became a member of Congress, served as Secretary of State, wrote a biography of Washington, and then rescued the Supreme Court from obscurity.”

Drake became interested in Marshall because he wanted to learn how the Supreme Court, which did not even exist under the Articles of Confederation, had become the force that it is today.  He found in Marshall’s history some part of the explanation for that change.

Drake is a 1956 graduate of Grinnell College with a Ph.D. from theUniversity of Chicago. After fifteen years as a history professor at Dean at Colorado College, he came to Grinnell in 1979 as President, serving until 1991, when his wife, Sue, and he went on to serve for two years as Peace Corps Volunteers in Lesotho, Southern Africa. The couple returned to Grinnell and since that time he has served as a Professor of History at Grinnell; currently a retiree, he teaches part time.Members of the sponsoring Community Education Council are Grinnell Regional Medical Center, Grinnell College, Drake Community Library, Grinnell-Newburg School District, Grinnell Area Arts Council, Mayflower Community and Iowa Valley Community College.


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