How would you describe and explain the significance of McCulloch v. Maryland?

1 Answer
Feb 21, 2018


McCulloch v. Maryland proved that states could not tax the federal government without rendering it weaker, and that Congress could create a National Bank.


McCulloch v. Maryland began when Maryland state wanted to pass a stamp tax on the paper that federal banks printed bank notes on. McCulloch, a banker in Maryland, said that the tax was invalid because the bank is a federal institution. Maryland took him to court.

McCulloch v. Maryland brought into question "Does Congress have the power to make a national bank?" and "Does any state have the Constitutional right to tax an agency of the U.S. government?"

John Marshall, the presider of the Supreme Court, used loose interpretation of the Constitution (the Elastic Clause) to decide that Congress can indeed create a national bank, as he deemed it to be "necessary and proper" to help the country. It was also decided that states cannot tax an agency of the federal government, with Marshall famously saying "The power to tax is the power to destroy."