March 27, 2013
The Alien and Sedition Acts
The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 were not merely intended for immigrants who spoke out against the government but more to detain the growth of the Democratic and Republican Party. The Alien and Sedition Acts were to protect America from foreign domestic subversions. The acts were meant to be the end to the Republicans, actually helped destroy the Federalists. They provoked the very influential Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, which turned the public against them. Written respectively by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, these resolutions affirmed the rights of the states to determine the power of laws passed by the federal government. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison wrote in the Acts that the Republicans launched an assault on what they believed were breaches of the Constitution. Both leaders were strict constructionists. They believed that the government could not be given powers by implication; the jurisdiction of the federal government was clearly stated in the Constitution, and it had to be passed over. Jefferson and Madison confirmed the Alien Act to be unconstitutional as it was a development of the powers of the executive branch, and an extension of the authority of the federal government greater than aliens. The Sedition Act was further more significant and denied knowledge and liberty of inquiry on the people's vast power of freedom of the state. The Alien and Sedition Acts also unified the Republican Party and secured a victory for the Republican Thomas Jefferson in 1800. There were actually four separate laws making up what is commonly known as the "Alien and Sedition Acts". These laws were designed to silence and weaken the Democratic-Republican Party. The first of the law was the Naturalization Act, passed by Congress on June 18. This act required that aliens be residents for 14 years instead of 5 years earlier they became qualified for U.S. citizenship. Congress...