"The debate over the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 revealed bitter controversies on a number of issues. Discuss the issues and explain why these controversies developed."
Under the threat of war with France, Congress in 1798 passed four laws in an effort to strengthen the Federal government, known collectively as the Alien and Sedition Acts. It produced a way for the Federalists to revolt against Democratic-Republican opposition and to increase power for themselves.These acts did not permit anyone to criticize the government at all, through writing, or any other shape, form, or fashion.It also extended the time to become an American citizen, since the Federalists believed that most of the foreigners would become Democratic-Republicans. These two political parties centered around domestic and foreign policy differences, reached their highest point of disagreement upon the passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1978, in purpose that one party would remain in control by limiting the power and growth of the other party.
In 1789, the Minister to France, Thomas Jefferson, to Francis Hopkinson of Pennsylvania, protested that "I am not of the party of the Federalists. But I am much farther from that of the Anti-federalists" (Document C).However, the situation was so controversial that he could not help but to chose a side. In 1795, Jefferson wrote to a congressman from Virginia, William Giles, that he "held it honorable to take a firm and decided part" (Document F). The group he sided with was the Democratic-Republicans, who favored a strict interpretation. Thomas Jefferson, the Democratic-Republican's leader, argued that all powers not covered by the Constitution belonged to the States. The basis for his argument was the old English "Compact theory." This theory stated that various individuals, in this case the states, join together in a formal agreement of government. Since the stat…