Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Could This Act Make A Comeback...?
I found a little bit of history that I'll admit I was totally ignorant about! Guess I'm not as smart as I thought!
The really bad thing? It was signed into law by a man that I thought was such a good example of someone who was "for the people"!
See what you think...!
John Adams: The nation's second president has been getting a well-deserved reappraisal, thanks to David McCullough's magisterial biography. But Adams' signing of the Alien and Sedition acts during the threat of war -- effectively outlawing anti-government dissent and curtailing freedom of speech and freedom of the press -- was a radically anti-democratic action and a black mark on this Founding Father's otherwise honorable service to our nation.
There were actually four separate laws making up what is commonly referred to as the "Alien and Sedition Acts"
1. The Naturalization Act (officially An Act to Establish a Uniform Rule of Naturalization; ch. 54, 1 Stat. 566) extended the duration of residence required for aliens to become citizens to 14 years. Enacted June 18, 1798, with no expiration date, it was repealed in 1802.
2. The Alien Friends Act (officially An Act Concerning Aliens; ch. 58, 1 Stat. 570) authorized the president to deport any resident alien considered "dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States." It was activated June 25, 1798, with a two year expiration date.
3. The Alien Enemies Act (officially An Act Respecting Alien Enemies; ch. 66, 1 Stat. 577) authorized the president to apprehend and deport resident aliens if their home countries were at war with the United States of America. Enacted July 6, 1798, and providing no sunset provision, the act remains intact today as 50 U.S.C. § 21–24. At the time, war was considered likely between the U.S. and France.
4. The Sedition Act (officially An Act for the Punishment of Certain Crimes against the United States; ch. 74, 1 Stat. 596) made it a crime to publish "false, scandalous, and malicious writing" against the government or its officials. It was enacted July 14, 1798, with an expiration date of March 3, 1801 (the day before Adams' presidential term was to end).
This whole thing is very disturbing to me, and I don't kid myself about the possibility of some of the folks in power trying to bring it back in some fashion.
Thomas Jefferson even voiced his opinion about the constitutionality of this act!
While Jefferson did denounce the Sedition Act as invalid and a violation of the First Amendment of the United States Bill of Rights, which protected the right of free speech, his main argument on its unconstitutionality was that it violated the Tenth Amendment: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Jefferson more strongly argued the Federal Government had overstepped its limits in the Alien and Sedition Acts by attempting to exercise unjust powers
I'm sorry to say that I don't believe all of the folks in power would hesitate to use this, if it were reinstated. And we could be even closer than we think to another version of this act becoming law!
I hate it when I find out about something like this, but because I was not wise enough to find it on my own!
C'mon...let's get some fresh coffee and sit outside for a bit. I can really use it today!