Alien And Sedition Acts

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade September 2001

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The debate over the Alien and Sedition Acts 1798 revealed bitter controversies on a number of issues. These acts consisted over four bills passed by congress in July 1978 granting the federal government extensive powers to deal with the internal subversion.

The Alien and Sedition acts gave the president power to deport all aliens he felt were a threat to the United States. Edward Livingston made a speech in the House of Representatives on the proposed Alien acts. He stated that " the president alone is empowered to make the law, to fix in his mind what acts, what words, what thoughts or looks shall constitute the crime contemplated by the bill, that is the crime of being suspected to be dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States"¦ The president then having made the law, the president having construed it and applied it, the same president is by the bill authorized to execute his sentence, incase of disobedience by imprisonment.

This would lead to a union of legislative, executive, and judicial powers. This evolved into controversy because it was an idea put out by the Federalists, and the anti-federalists didn't agree to this new idea of government.

Albert Gallatin, a Democratic-Republican, made a speech in the House of Representatives on the proposed Sedition Act. His speech dealt with the issue of the publication of scandalous writings against the government. He states that "the only evidences brought by the supporters of this bill 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." He said that the supporters of this bill believe that if someone dislikes something having to do with the government, and expresses themselves...