The Documents

The Dark Side of Humanity

The Alien and Sedition Laws

Alien and Sedition Act

Alien and Sedition Act

Short Description

The Alien and Sedition Laws were four bills passed with the intent to protect the United States from the alien citizens of enemy powers and to stop seditious attacks from weakening the government. Political opponents considered the laws unconstitutional and claimed they stifled administrative criticisms. President Thomas Jefferson ultimately repealed the laws in 1802. The Alien Enemies Law, however, is still in force today.

REmnant Trust Description

The proceedings of the House of Representatives of the United States, with respect to the petitions praying for a repeal of the Alien and Sedition Laws. John Nocholas, Virginia Congressman and strict-construction Jeffersonian and his brothers Wilson Cary and George were outspoken opponents of the Alien and Sedition Act, and each sought its repeal in vain during this session of Congress. This document leads with the House Report, refusing to repeal the Act despite claims of its unconstitutional limitation on free speech and the absence of Congressional power to remove aliens. The committee concludes that the First Amendment guarantees only the rights to publish without prior government restraint, the author remaining answerable to the public and individuals, for any abuse. Moreover, liberty of the press has never been protected “the publication of false, scandalous and malicious writings against government, written or published with intent to do mischief.”