The Declaration of Independence, which the country of the United States was founded upon, proclaims that citizens of the United States have “unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” In 1798 the Sedition act was passed, in which directly opposed “freedom of speech”, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The act stated it was against the law to voice anything false or malicious in the name of the government or it’s officials. The “Essay on the Liberty of the Press”, written in 1799 by Virginia legislator- George Hay, strongly opposes the Sedition Act of 1798. Hay
The passing of the Sedition Act of 1798 created restrictions regarding the First Amendment of the United States, “freedom of speech”. Hay believed the authors of the First Amendment had purposely proposed a rather clear message. Hay argued that the passing of the Sedition Act directly contradicted the doctrine in which this country was founded. He states, “If the words freedom of the press, have any meaning at all, they mean a total exemption from any law making any publication whatever criminal” by definition alone. Hay believed the Sedition Act would bring “mischief” among society, which would force the people to regain their power in their government.
However, Hay believed there was a difference between free and malicious speech. He explains “freedom” as “the power to do what is morally right”; and in the case