Alien and Sedition Acts Essay

Submitted By katehoward
Words: 346
Pages: 2

The Alien and Sedition acts were four different acts grouped together, out of the four, three of the acts pertained to immigrants. These acts were considered the least controversial. President John Adams had signed the acts after being angered by the XYZ affair, a diplomatic episode between France and America that resulted in the Qusia-war. Those three acts were there to remind naturalized citizens (citizens born in a foreign country but obtained full citizenship) that the government could “imprison or deport [them if they] stepped out of line”. These acts denied immigrants the promises that America strongly upheld of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” and changed the time foreigners had to wait till they could become citizens from five years to fourteen years. This upset Republicans since many naturalized citizens would join the Republican Party once they were eligible for their citizenship. The Republicans would then complain that it violated the constitution only to be over powered by the Federalist.
The Sedition acts made it illegal to portray the government in a negative manner. The Federalist held the most power in the government at the time and directed this act at the Republicans, many whom were of foreign descent, and would speak critically of the government in the articles, or newspapers they wrote. This was considered the most controversial of the four acts. Under the new law anyone who "[wrote], [printed], [uttered], or [published] . . . any false,…