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Alien And Sedition Acts Of 1798 And The National Defense Authorization Act Of 2014

952 words - 4 pages

The Alien and Sedition Acts were passed by Congress on July 14th, 1798. At this time in American history, John Adams was President and the Federalist had complete control over the federal government. On the surface, the Federalist and the Adam’s Administration appeared to be supporting these laws with the concern of national security and the safety of our borders. However, it became evident that the Federalist had political motives to destroy the Republican Party and anyone who agreed with them. In this paper I will explain the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 and the importance of them. I will also examine the legal and social implications that resulted from the passing of these laws. Lastly I will discuss why I believe the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014 is unconstitutional and why it is the worst violation of the constitution since the Alien and Sedition Act of 1798 (Jenkins, 2001, p. 154).
The Alien Act (2009) increased the residency requirement for American Citizens from five to fourteen years. It also gave the President the power to deport and/or arrest any immigrant that was considered, “dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States” as well as restricting anything written or spoken that criticized the government (Arnold, 2011, p. 10). John Adams and his administration claimed these laws were designed to protect the nation from foreign enemies. The Republicans disagreed and believed this was a way for the Federalist to gain more control in government. According to Garrison (2009), between 1798 and 1800, under the terms of the Sedition Act, “twenty-five individuals were arrested for slanderously publishing newspapers or pamphlets to bring disrepute upon the President or government of the United States” (Garrison, 2009, p. 8). The Federalist wanted to silence any negative opinion concerning their party and the Sedition Act gave them the power to deport anyone who didn’t agree with their agenda. Soon after these laws were enforced, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison wrote the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions to protest that these laws were a violation of the Constitution. The Virginia and Kentucky Resolution (2009) argued that the Sedition Act gave too much power to the federal government over the people. The resolution (2009) argued that an individual state has the power to ignore a government action if they believe that it is a violation of the constitution (Sedition, 2009). The hidden motives behind the Alien and Sedition Acts were to increase the amount of power the federal government had and restrict people’s freedom of speech. These laws expired once Thomas Jefferson was elected President in 1801.
The passing of these laws by the government in 1798 are significant because of how extreme these laws were, especially so early in our nation’s history. These laws violated the First Amendment and had a huge impact on the election of 1800....

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