The decision in McCulloch v. Maryland established
precedent with regard to the implied powers of the Constitution, but it
also established precedent with regard to which level of government, the
national or state, was supreme when their laws conflicted.
Below is a segment of the decision in McCulloch v. Maryland
that deals with the question of national supremacy. Read through the
excerpt carefully, taking note of words, images, or ideas that might
lend themselves to the development of a political cartoon that captures
the idea of national supremacy. Then, on a separate sheet of paper,
sketch such a cartoon. If you would like to see how political cartoons
can be created from a Supreme Court decision, review the examples for Brown v. Board of Education.
Excerpt from McCulloch v. Maryland
... This great principle is, that the constitution and the laws made
in pursuance thereof are supreme; that they control the constitution
and laws of the respective states, and cannot be controlled by them.
From this ... other propositions are deduced as corollaries ...
... That the power to tax involves the power to destroy ...
If the states may tax one instrument, employed by the government in the
execution of its powers, they may tax any and every other instrument.
They may tax the mail; they may tax the mint; they may tax
patent-rights; they may tax the papers of the custom-house; they may tax
judicial process; they may tax all the means employed by the
government, to an excess which would defeat all the ends of government.
This was not intended by the American people. They did not design to
make their government dependent on the states.
... The result is a conviction that the states have no power, by
taxation or otherwise, to retard, impede, burden, or in any manner
control, the operations of the constitutional laws enacted by congress
to carry into execution the powers vested in the general government.
This is, we think, the unavoidable consequence of that supremacy which
the constitution has declared. We are unanimously of opinion, that the
law passed by the legislature of Maryland, imposing a tax on the Bank of
the United States, is unconstitutional and void.