The third volume of Albert J. Beveridge's biography of Chief Justice John Marshall, published in 1919, covers the years 1800-1815, the first fifteen years of his chief justiceship. It is subtitled "Conflict and Construction." In a "Preface" he writes:
"Marshall's great Constitutional opinions grew out of, or were addressed to, serious public conditions, national in extent. In these volumes the effort is made to relate the circumstances that required him to give to the country those marvelous state papers: for Marshall's opinions were nothing less than state papers and of the first rank. In order to understand the full meaning of his deliverances and to estimate the just value of his labors, it is necessary to know the historical sources of his foremost expositions of the Constitution, and the historical purposes they were intended to accomplish. Without such knowledge, Marshall's finest pronouncements become mere legal utterances, important, to be sure, but colorless and unattractive.
"It is worthy of repetition, even in a preface, that the history of the times is a part of his greatest opinions; and that, in the treatment of them a resume of the events that produced them must be given."