top-rated free essay

Alien and Sedition Acts Dbq

By kotalove99 Mar 16, 2011 873 Words
In 1798 Congress passed for bills known as the Alien and Sedition Acts. There were many controversies that developed around and because of these acts. The Alien Acts had three parts. The first part stated that you had to live on U.S. soil for at least fourteen years in oder to become a citizen. The second part stated that the President had power to deport all aliens that he thought dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States. The third part to this act stated that the United States could restrain and remove all adult aliens of the hostile nation in a time of war. There were many controversies over this act, including the debate of immigration in the United States along with other countries. The Sedition Act states that writings that are ‘scandalous and malicious’ against the government that are published would be penalized with fines or imprisonment. This Act also has many controversies that surrounded it. One in particular was the debate of whether or not that was constitutional. There were many other controversies that developed because of the Alien and Sedition Acts.

One controversy in particular was the debate over immigration. Some believed that immigration did not need to be encouraged unless to some particular professions or men. George Washington, the President of the United States, was not particularly sure of his position on the immigration issue, although he did not let the public know that. In a letter to friend he wrote, “while the policy or advantage of its taking place in a body (I mean the settling of them in a body) may be much questioned; for, by so doing, they retain the Language, habits and principles (good and bad) which they bring with them--whereas by an intermixture with our people, they, or their descendants, get assimilated to our customs, measures and laws:--in a word, soon become one people” (Document A). Many were also very supportive of immigration, to give people from other countries the chance to go to the United States to have the same freedom that most of the citizens of the U.S. had gone there in the first place. They believed that every person that had come to the U.S. while it was still under Britain control, and during the time after the U.S. gained their independence from Britain was in a way an immigrant. This was debated much by the citizens and the government.

Another controversy that developed because of the Alien and Sedition Acts was the debates over the Sedition Act. Many people believed that this act, saying that any writings published that were ‘scandalous and malicious’ against the government was unconstitutional because it went against the first amendment, that gave the freedom of speech and press. Others, like Alexander Hamilton, liked the idea because the bill gave the government a kind of security that protected them from being exposed. Hamilton stated in a letter to Oliver Wolcott that, “There are provisions in this bill, which, according to a cursory view, appear to me highly exceptional, and such as, more than anything else, may endanger civil war...” (Document O) Those who opposed the bill in Congress, like Albert Gallatin, a congressman from Pennsylvania, used the argument that, “The only evidences brought by the supporters of this bill [i.e., the Sedition Act] consist of writings expressing an opinion that certain measures of government have been dictated by an unwise policy, or by improper motives, and that some of them are unconstitutional. This bill and its supporters suppose, in fact, that whoever dislikes the measures of administration and of a temporary majority in Congress, and shall, either by speaking or writing, express his disapprobation and his want of confidence in the men now in power, is seditious, is an enemy, not of administration but of the Constitution...” (Document P). This controversy was just one surrounding the Sedition Act.

Anti-Federalism, the idea that the people’s rights should be protected and that they should be in the Constitution to make sure they were protected, was also a huge controversy that developed because of the Alien and Sedition Acts. Thomas Jefferson was an Anti-federalist. In a letter to a friend in Italy he wrote that, “In place of that noble love of liberty, & republican government which carried us triumphantly thro’ the war, an Anglican monarchial, & aristocratical party has sprung up, whose avowed object is to draw over us the substance, as they have already done the forms, of the British government. The main body of our citizens, however, remain true to their republican principles; the whole landed interest is republican, and so is a great mass of talents” (Document G). In this quote, he states that the majority of the people are still republican, but the government is turning into Federalists.

There were many controversies that sprung up around and because of the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798, and the controversies stated in this paper were just few of them. The Alien and Sedition Acts were put in place to give government a little more control over the people residing in the United States. The Acts were passed, though many did disagree with them.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Alien + Sedition Acts

    ...10/22/2013 APUSH Alien and Sedition Acts DBQ In June and July of 1798, the Alien and Sedition acts passed through congress, which created dispute between the Federalists and Republicans due to the four factors of Political Ideology, Domestic Policies, Constitutionality and Foreign Affairs. Political Ideology as the two disputing facti...

    Read More
  • Dbq Alien and Sedition Acts

    ...The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 The Alien and Sedition Acts were not merely intended for immigrants who spoke out against the government but more to detain the growth of the Democratic - Republican Party. These four Acts coercively lessoned the likelihood of the party mounting power by eliminating its majority group; soon to be citizens. ...

    Read More
  • Controversies as a Result of the Alien and Sedition Acts

    ...In the late 1700s and into the early 1800s, large controversies over the Alien and the Sedition Acts, containing four bills, took place. Some of the controversies included immigration, slander and libel of the government, and states’ rights. While the controversy set the stage for Jefferson’s election, it also left some in tense and unsettle...

    Read More
  • Alien and Sedition Act 4

    ...Labbe 1 Ryan Labbe Communications 261 Prof. Olmstead November 18, 2004 Espionage Act of 1917 and Sedition Act (Amendment) of 1918 On April 2nd 1917, President Woodrow Wilson of the United States of America, "…went before Congress and called for a declaration of war. Both the House and the Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of goi...

    Read More
  • Alien and Sedition Act of 1798

    ...Alien and Sedition Act 1798 Carrie Ostrander HLS 300E: Administering Homeland Security Steve MacMartin 9 April 2013 Many people believe the fight to secure our homeland began after 9/11 but this is not entirely true. Although this is partially true as there have been many improvements to homeland security, the fight...

    Read More
  • Alien and Sedition Acts Rhetorical Analysis

    ...war with France and political turmoil surfacing in America, the Federal Congress passed four laws in 1798, signed by President John Adams, that came to be known as the Alien and Sedition Acts. These laws became a source of bitter controversy across the country, causing many to be furious and claim that the acts violated their personal liberties ...

    Read More
  • Alien and Sedition Acts - 1

    ...u.s. hISORY hONORS | Alien and Sedition Acts | Historical Essay | | Emilee Lord | 8/25/2012 | A brief essay on the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 and why they were a poor decision by the United States’ young government. | When viewing the era of the Adams’ administration, with all the political turmoil that is associated ...

    Read More
  • Sedition Act

    ...Ma. Cristine Ong History 101 July 11th 2013 ESSAY #2 George Hay was a Virginia legislator who was known for his opposition to the Sedition Act of 1798. The Sedition Act was originally part of the Alien and Sedition Acts, which were passed at the anticipation of war between our nation and the French. These acts, particularly the Alien act we...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.