John Marshall (1755 - 1835) was arguably the most important judicial figure in American history. As the fourth chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, serving from 1801 to 1835, he helped move the Court from the fringes of power to the epicenter of constitutional government. His great opinions in cases like Marbury v. Madison and McCulloch v. Maryland are still part of the working discourse of constitutional law in America.
In the course of 15 momentous years, the Spanish- and the Portuguese-American empires that had endured for three centuries came to an end in the mid-1820s. How did this come about? Not all Latin Americans desired such a change, and the independence wars were civil wars, often cruel and always violent. What social and economic groups lined up on one side or the other? Were there variations from place to place, region to region? Did men and women differ in their experiences of war?