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On July 7, 1835, the day after John Marshall died, the Bar of Philadelphia agreed to commission a statue to be placed in Washington to honor the late Chief Justice. It was not until May 10, 1884, after the project had languished for nearly half a century that the statute was formally unveiled on the west plaza of the United States Capitol. It remained there until 1981, when the statue was moved for the first Presidential Inaugural to be held on the west side of the Capitol. The next year, the statue was relocated to the Supreme Court Building where it was rededicated on February 1, 1982.
Originally, two marble reliefs with allegorical themes on the development of the Constitution were incorporated into the base of the statue (see below and across hall). The sculptor of all three pieces, William Wetmore Story, provided the following description of the relief below, "Minerva [the Roman Goddess of Wisdom] dictating to Young America, seated at a table, the Constitution, while beyond Minerva, to the right ate two seated figures representing Philosophy and Jurisprudence, and Infant America. On the other side are Commerce, Education bringing forward a young boy -- 8 figures in all."
Today, the john Marshall statue and its marble reliefs stand as those who erected them intended: "In perpetual memory of the honor, the reverence, and the love which the people of his country bear to the great Chief Justice."
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