Alien and Sedition Essay

468 WordsOct 21, 20132 Pages
andar U.s AP U.S History 9-14-13 Controversy over the Alien and Sedition Acts On the brink of war with France, the United States adopted the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 in an effort to eliminate French influence and to strengthen the government by suppressing political opposition, mainly Jefferson’s Republicans. Consisting of four controversial laws, the first law required a fourteen year residency period for foreigners to become citizens. The second law gave the President power to deport aliens that he thought were dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States. The third law allowed aliens to be arrested and deported during war with a hostile nation. The last law declared that an opposition against the government may be punished. Because of these laws, the Alien and Sedition Acts faced much controversy because of the violation of people’s and the constitution. Leading the Federalists, Alexander Hamilton’s statement in The Warning, “The man who … shall be apologist of France, and (who attacks) his own government, is not an American. The choice for him lies between being deemed a fool, a madman, or a traitor” (Document I), is an example of a one-sided view. Because of Hamilton’s controversial statement, punishment for political opposition is encouraged. In Document R, Federalist congressman John Allen of Connecticut agrees with Hamilton’s statement saying the peace and safety is improved. The peace and safety actually becomes corrupted because there will be a distrustful relationship between the government and the citizens. This is a step closer to an absolute monarchy or a dictatorial leadership. President John Adams verbal attack on the French and refusal to apologize for his anti-French remarks were one of his chief motives to pass the Alien and Sedition acts. Adam’s had passed the acts and can be seen as absolute monarchy for

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