Sedition Act of 1798

In 1798, the U.S. Congress passed four laws known collectively as the Alien and Sedition Acts regulating immigration, citizenship, and the rights of aliens, or noncitizens, in the United States, and setting legal limits on political speech. The Sedition Act forbade citizens from writing or speaking critically about the president and the Congress in a defamatory way. It was seen as an effort by the Federalist Party, headed by John Adams and Alexander Hamilton, to muzzle its opponents, the Democratic-Republican Party headed by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, and a violation of the freedom of speech enshrined in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

This entry first describes the political concerns and unrest in the years leading up to the Alien and Sedition Acts, as ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles