John Marshall: A Biography (1755- 1835)

Gibbons vs. Ogden (1824)

A cartoon illustrating Gibbons vs. Ogden

Transcript from Gibbons vs. Ogden.

Gibbons vs. Ogden was a Supreme Court case that involved a conflict between two steamboat operators and as a result, between New York State and the federal government.
Because of the New York State legislature, Aaron Ogden held the only steamboat license to operate boats from New York to New Jersey, giving him a monopoly. Then, Thomas Gibbons began to operate his steamboats along the same route as Ogden. In response, Ogden sued Gibbons. Gibbons's his steamboats were licensed under the 1793 Act of Congress, that dealt with fisheries and coastal trading. He argued in court that he could operate his steamboats legally because they were authorized by federal law and that the state of New York could not prevent him from doing so.  The courts in New York found in favor Ogden, prompting Gibbons to seek and appeal with the Supreme Court and Marshall.
This case called upon Marshall to consider Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution, which granted Congress control of international and interstate trade. In his ruling, Marshall found for Gibbons, affirmed this right of Congress and declared that states could not pass laws that intrude on interstate trade. 
Gibbons vs. Ogden was yet another landmark case in John Marshall's career. This, like all of  the other cases, had effects that would shape our would today.  

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