Origins and background of the case In the late 1700 's, John Adams was President. Adams was a member of the Federalist Party. The Federalists were in control of the Congress. Adams and other Federalists were Pro-British and the Republican Party was Pro-French. Thomas Jefferson led the Republicans. Federalists were worried that the influx of French into the country could become a powerful voting block. The Alien and Sedition Acts were passed by the Federalist controlled Congress to deal with this problem. The first of the laws was the Naturalization Act. This act required that aliens be residents for 14 years instead of 5 years before they became eligible for U.S. citizenship. Congress then passed the Alien Act, authorizing the President to deport aliens "dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States" during peacetime. The third law, the Alien Enemies Act, allowed the wartime arrest, imprisonment and deportation of any alien subject to an enemy power.
The last of the laws, the Sedition Act, declared that any treasonable activity, including the publication of "any false, scandalous and malicious writing," was a high misdemeanor, punishable by fine and imprisonment. The public was outraged and felt that this was a violation of their rights and that the government was becoming too overbearing. The Alien and Sedition Acts were a major reason that John Adams was not re-elected in the election of 1800. The people were very unhappy with the Federalist controlled government and this propelled the Republicans under Thomas Jefferson to win the election. There was a long lame
Bibliography: Primary Source Hamilton, Alexander. "Federalist Papers 78" June 14, 1788 Marbury v. Madison 1 Cranch 137 (1803). Secondary Sources Brainard, Rick. "The Judicial Mind of John Marshall: Nationalism" http://www.history1700s.com/page1757.shtml Barrus, Roger."Remembering John Marshall" 24 September 2005 The Washington Times Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. Library of Congress http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/Alien.html United States Constitution. Library of Congress http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/Constitution.html