Compare and Contrast the Sedition Act and the Patriot Act

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 1164
  • Published : November 27, 2005
Open Document
Text Preview
Benjamin Franklin once said, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." The American people have always fought to retain their right of free speech; but one must ask what are we sacrificing with this protection? The time period during the creation of the Sedition Acts was a time of suspicion and fear in the United States. The government enacted laws to ensure the safety of the President and Congress because they feared the people would lose trust in the government if they read things that were distasteful. Under the Sedition Act anyone who opposed or was against United States law or against the President could be imprisoned up to two years. It was also illegal to write, speak, publish, or print anything that criticized the president or congress. Defamatory speech was anything deemed untrue or false; if a defendant proved that the speech was truthful then no crime was committed. The Sedition Act directly violates the First Amendment and free speech. Citizens were stifled because any act that had a slightly negative perspective against the government was sedition. The Supreme Court later ruled that the Sedition Act was a direct violation of the press and people's ability to express them. New York Times v. Sullivan ruled that the press has the right to make any type of statement without fear of repercussion of the government and that if something was defamatory then actions are legally acceptable. The creation of the Patriot Act was under similar circumstances when it was created. The attacks on 9/11 changed the political atmosphere of the government. The Patriot Act was passed to ensure that the government could protect against terrorism. Under the Patriot Act the government can monitor people's computers and use other monitoring devices to maintain order over uncharted territories such as the Internet. This is a complete invasion of private thought and personal space. Freedom of Speech ensures...
tracking img