John Marshall was born on September 24, 1755. He was the first of fifteen children. Marshall was born into a wealthy family of Virginia and later Kentucky. Marshall was a well-educated man; he learned formal instruction from tutors and informal instruction from his parents. John Marshall learned politics through his family's library and their participation in local and state governments. At age nineteen, John was a popular lieutenant in a local militia. When the Continental army was formed, he joined serving with distinction. In August of 1780, he received his license to practice law and began his career. Marshall was elected in the House of Delegates in 1782. John Marshall was a very successful man in politics and law; he molded the development of the Constitution. Marshall made the Supreme Court stronger and increased the power of federal governments. .
Marshall held a variety of official positions within state and local governments; however, his law practice came first. Throughout the1780's the nation's government worried Marshall. "He thought the national government was too weak to protect the new nation from foreign threats or to restrain state governments from abuses of power." He supported the work of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 because of the weak government. He was a strong advocate when elected as a delegate for Virginia's special convention to decide to adopt the new constitution. Marshall returned to the practice of law when George Washington took leadership of the nation. In 1797, President John Adams appointed him a member of a commission to arbitrate diplomatic affairs with France. In 1798, he returned to the United States as a hero for his part in the XYZ affair. In 1799, Marshall acted as a spokesperson for the Federalist Party; he was also elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1800, Marshall became the secretary of the state in the cabinet of President Adams.