Sedition Act

Good Essays
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 were specifically aimed at the French immigrants who were waiting for their citizenships. Americans did not really care about those laws except for the Sedition Act. A lot of Republicans including George Hay opposed to this law, because they thought that it was violating the rights of the Americans to have freedom of speech and of press. So, as a way of expressing his own opinion, George Hay wrote an essay called “Liberty of the Press,” which would incorporate his displeasure to the Sedition Act and also to the Federalists. At the first part of the excerpt, George Hay started his argument with a very strong opinion about the limitation that the Sedition Act of 1798 had put on the Americans to freely voice out their opinions about the government. He said that according to the constitution, it clearly stated that we, as a citizen of the United States, have a freedom of the press to be exercised when needed, and this Sedition Act was unconstitutionally limiting this freedom. He also stated that no one should ever have a power to restrain this right, because freedom of speech was protected by the constitution under the First Amendment, and since it was not clearly written as to where the freedom stopped, it just made sense not to permit anyone into making laws that would restrict the freedom of speech or of the press.
George Hay believed that the authors of the First Amendment intended to prohibit any laws that would restrict the freedom of speech, religion, press, petition, and assembly. He also stated that there should not be any distinction between free and malicious speech, since he believed that any form of speech should

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