The historically significant of McCulloch v. Maryland has genuinely revealed the concept of the inherent powers of the U.S. Congress. During this process, Maryland’s state leadership taxed a branch of the National Federal Bank, which was sharply opposed by the chief cashier, James McCulloch. The conflict reached the Supreme Court, which declared that state laws could not interfere with the activities of the federal government, which was the National Bank.


The main issue to which the McCulloch v. Maryland case relates is the concept of federalism. This principle implies that the U.S. power is equally divided among the states, and each of them cannot have a legal advantage over the others.

As is known, the U.S. Constitution, in particular, Article I, Section 8, gives exceptional powers to Congress but does not indicate them in full. The McCulloch v. Maryland meaning is key to the U.S. judicial and political system, as it has confirmed that states cannot engage in activities that are contrary to the U.S. Constitution.

In order to provide financial support after the War of 1812, the U.S. Congress created (or resurrected) the National Bank branch in Maryland. The state government was clearly against this move because it did not want competition for their national banks. The state leadership argued that as a sovereign state, Maryland had the right to tax any business within its borders.

For this reason, Maryland imposed a restrictive tax of $15,000 per year on issued banknotes, which the chief cashier of this branch of the Bank, James McCulloch, refused to pay. McCulloch’s refusal was justified by the very inherent powers of Congress, which in some cases allowed Congress to carry out auxiliary activities for its work.

The National Bank, on behalf of the cashier of its Baltimore branch, James McCulloch, appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, whose Chief Justice, John Marshall, stated that state laws could not interfere with the lawful activities of Congress. Since the Bank was a legitimate instrument of federal power, the law establishing the Bank was constitutional.

As a result, the U.S. legal system was evaluated on the other hand, and it became clear that states can not implement laws that, to some extent, limit the power of the federal authorities, so that is why the McCulloch v. Maryland case is important.