Conventional wisdom holds that the role of the U.S. federal judiciary was underspecified and undefined until the era of Chief Justice John Marshall. In contrast, I argue that prior to the Marshall era, the Supreme Court had the specific institutional role of providing an administrative remedy to aggrieved nations to deprive potentially hostile nations of any excuse for belligerence. Specifically, concern among the Framers about this nascent country's absence of dispute resolution mechanisms in the areas of trade and admiralty was critical in the institutional design of the judiciary. Original jurisdiction was designed primarily to remedy trade disputes. The independent judiciary made trade commitments more credible and self-help by the aggrieved less likely. By providing this administrative remedy and lowering the uncertainty associated with trading with revolutionaries, the Framers claimed a seat for the new country at the table of nations. Moreover, enhanced commercial credibility that the administrative avenue for redress provided was instrumental in the early economic development of the United States.