Debate over the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798

Once they arrived a French spokesman demanded 32 million florins and 250,000 for talking to Talleyrand. This did not include any promise of a resolution. Furious, the American delegates left. Once they got back to America, the rest of the nation was ready for war. That undeclared war was mainly fought on the seas for two and a half years. President Adams’ Alien and Sedition Acts were proposed to punish the French but also to ruin the Republican Party. Adams knew that immigrants made up the Republican Party in large part from France, England and Ireland.

By halting the immigration of those people, Adams could slowing get rid of Jefferson’s Party. The debates for these acts were between the Federalists and the Republicans. Along with needing these immigrants to support their party, Republicans found these acts wrong. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “l am not a Federalist, because I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself.

Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. ” On the other said, the Federalists felt that they should not feel bad for France even if it is morally wrong. Alexander Hamilton said, “The man who… shall be the 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. ” The new American position on immigration violated its policy of friendly adaptation to immigrants.

Due to the Alien Act and the Alien Enemies Act immigrants were afraid to live in America fearing deportation or imprisonment. The Alien Act gave the President power to deport “all such aliens as he shall Judge dangerous to the peace and safety of the Untied States. The Alien Enemies Act allowed the restraint and removal in time of war or resident adult aliens of the hostile nation. The Sedition Act caused the most uproar among Americans. It infringed upon two freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

The freedoms, both included in the first amendment, were freedom of speech and freedom of press. The law said that anyone who spoke out against any government officials, including the president, would be imprisoned and fined. The act Jailed a number of Democratic Republican editors, publishers and politicians. Politicians looked to use the Acts to rid themselves nd the country ot political threats and those who expressed contrary views. Ultimately this was seen as a threat to freedom that Americans had fought so hard to win.

Thomas Jefferson was afraid that if they were able to remove freedom of speech and freedom of press, they would eventually take away other constitutional promises. Jefferson could not openly protest these acts because he feared prosecution. He secretly created resolutions, which Kentucky approved in 1789 and 1799. History viewed these Acts to be the biggest blunder of Adams’ presidency and could have overshadowed what was considered a highly effective tenure.