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U.S. Marshals Service

History

A Twelve-Year Retrospective: The Day, and the Photograph, That Changed Us - It has been twelve years since the day that changed us. By “us,” which could be expanded to include the country or globe, but it certainly changed the U.S. Marshals Service. The September 11, 2001 tragedies at the Pentagon, New York City, and rural Pennsylvania are regularly observed in many ways—always with sadness with the enormity of the loss of life and institutions. These events had many heroes, and their efforts are saluted. Every year, a display case appears in the lobby of our headquarters, highlighting the anniversary date and various artifacts from the ruins. However, it is also the reminder of the many hands within our agency that healed after these tragedies.  Read More


We Were There: The U.S. Marshals Role at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Washington, D.C. March - Although the U.S. Marshals are often linked with civil rights, most recall our crucial role in desegregating educational institutions in the South during the 1960. In reality, our personnel sometimes stayed “behind the scenes” to ensure an event went smoothly. This is what occurred on August 28, 1963, when Dr. Martin Luther King led the Washington March for Jobs and Freedom.  Read More


Medina’s Thirty-Year Echo: Honoring the Memory of Our Fallen - Certain tragic moments in Marshals Service history bear thoughtful reflection. We memorialize all 246 official line-of-duty deaths. The unfortunate reality holds that USMS personnel face daily dangers going after the “worst of the worst” fugitives. This truth resonates brightly in our heritage. The most recent remembrances are the anniversaries marking the deaths of Deputy U.S. Marshal Derek Hotsinpiller and Senior Inspector John Perry. Both brave men were gunned down on missions against armed fugitives.  Read More


Remembering William Degan Twenty Years Later - On August 21, 1992, Deputy U.S. Marshal William F. Degan was killed in a firefight in a remote area of Northern Idaho known as “Ruby Ridge.” Although the location is usually associated with a series of tragic events involving law enforcement operations, and the underlying sentiment towards them, there was a very real loss in our own agency that was often overshadowed in the headlines and hearings.  Read More


Even after the creation of more than 50 specialized federal law enforcement agencies during the 20th century, the Marshals retained the broadest jurisdiction and authority. For over 200 years now, U.S. Marshals and their Deputies have served as the instruments of civil authority used by all three branches of government. Marshals have been involved in most of the major historical episodes in America's past.
Deputy U.S. Marshals - Oxford Mississippi
The history of the Marshals is, quite simply, the story of how the American people govern themselves.

This section of the web site not only portrays, in words and pictures, the modern Marshals Service, but it also recounts many of the highlights from the history of the U.S. Marshals; a span of history that is unique in American law enforcement.

The Marshals Service looks back on a proud heritage - a tradition spanning two centuries of service to the Nation and dedication to the principles of our Constitution and the rule of law.

As our young nation expanded westward, U.S. Marshals embodied the civilian power of the Federal Government to bring law and justice to the frontier. For every new territory, marshals were appointed to impose the law on the untamed wilderness. And, at virtually every significant point over the years where Constitutional principles or the force of law have been challenged, the marshals were there - and they prevailed.

The challenges faced today by Marshals and their Deputies are no less demanding than those of the past. In fact, the skills, devotion and determination required to carry out our contemporary responsibilities make the modern Marshals Service a unique and elite cadre of law enforcement professionals. And so, in looking back over our history, we would hope that you recognize and take pride in the fact that this agency is an intimate part of the continuum of the grand American experiment in self-government.

Significant Historical Events

1800's

1900's

 
usmarshals.gov is an official site of the U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Department of Justice