Alien and Sedition Acts

series of Acts of Congress

The Alien and Sedition Acts were acts of Congress signed by United States president John Adams in 1798, during a naval (sea) conflict against France.

There were four acts.

The first 3 acts were about immigration. They set required time for an immigrant to become a citizen, and allowed the president to send illegal immigrants back to their home country if their home country is at war with the United States or they are considered to be dangerous to the US. The fourth act made it a crime to publish bad things about the government.

The acts were very controversial. Many people did not like them because they felt that they violated the First Amendment.

The acts made many people dislike John Adams. For that reason, Thomas Jefferson and the Democratic-Republican Party were able to defeat John Adams and the Federalist Party in the elections of 1800. Three of the acts were repealed. The Alien Enemies Act, however, is still United States law.