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Alien and Sedition Acts

The Alien And Sedition Acts Of 1798, Sedition Act Of 1918

In 1798, the Federalist-controlled Congress passed four acts to empower the president of the United States to expel dangerous ALIENS from the country; to give the president authority to arrest, detain, and deport resident aliens hailing from enemy countries during times of war; to lengthen the period of naturalization for immigrants, and to silence Republican criticism of the FEDERALIST PARTY. Also an act passed by Congress in 1918 during WORLD WAR I that made it a crime to disrupt military recruiting or enlistments, to encourage support for Germany and its allies or disrespect for American war efforts, or to otherwise bring the U.S. government, its leaders, or its symbols into disrepute.

FURTHER READINGS

Miller, John Chester. 1951. Crisis in Freedom: The Alien and Sedition Acts. Boston: Little, Brown.

Moore, Wayne D. 1994. "Reconceiving Interpretive Autonomy: Insights from the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions." Constitutional Commentary 11 (fall).

Smith, James Morton. 1956. Freedom's Fetters: The Alien and Sedition Laws and American Civil Liberties. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Univ. Press.

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