The Alien and Sedition Act

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Describe the Alien and Sedition Act

The Alien and Sedition Acts consist of four bills, proposed by the Federalists and signed by the US President J. Adams in 1798. The adoption of Acts was determined by the foreign affairs of United States. At the end of the 18th century, the USA prepared for undeclared war with France. The purpose of the Acts was to reinforce national security of the country. However, a number of historians argue that the aim of the Alien and Sedition Acts was to eliminate the influence of the representatives of opposition to the Federalist Party, including Democrat-Republican party (Watkins 28). In general, the provisions of both acts increased the requirements for residency and provided an opportunity to arrest or deport people, who were “dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States”.

One of the four bills was entitled the Naturalization Act. According to the provisions of the Act, the residency requirements for foreigners were increased from five to fourteen years. In addition, the foreigners had to declare the intention to get the US citizenship five years before it could be issued. The aim of the Act was to prevent people from the enemy nations from getting naturalization. As a result, the national security of the United States could be increased.

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The subsequent Alien Friends Act and Alien Enemy Act provided the US President with a right to control the aliens on the territory of the United States. In addition, both bills created obstacles for the immigrants who had an intention to receive the US citizenship. The Alien Friends Act covered the problem of the French immigrants in the United States. According to the provisions of the Act, the US President received an authority to arrest and deport foreigners who represented a threat to the national security (Hodge and Nolan 21). The Alien Enemies Act provided the US President with the power to seize and send out a foreigner from any country that was in a state of war with the USA. As a result, any man could be deported from the United States. After the adoption of the Alien Act, a lot of noncitizens moved from the United States because of the fear that they could be arrested and deported. Thus, the Republican Party lost a significant source of political support.

However, the key principles of the Federalist policies were kept in the Sedition Act. The Act determined and prescribed the measurements of punishment. An opposition to the US government was prohibited. The Sedition Act itself represented a direct violation of the First Amendment. The Act also determined the ways of punishment that included fines and imprisonments. In addition, the Act forbade publishing the writings against the US government. Under this provision was any kind of “false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either House of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States” (Sedition Act). As a result, a number of editors were fined or imprisoned for printing the critical materials.

The Alien and Sedition Acts met opposition among the US politicians. As a result, the Federalists did not get enough support during the elections of 1800. The necessity to cancel both acts was proven. The Alien and Sedition Acts expired during 1800-1801. However, some provisions of the Alien Enemies Act were adopted after the World War II. The law was used in order to deport or confiscate the property of the Axis nations’ citizens.

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What Was Monroe Trying to Achieve with Monroe Doctrine?

On December 2, 1823, at the annual message to Congress, President Monroe declared the Doctrine that determined the US foreign policy. According to the Monroe Doctrine, the European states were warned not to interfere into the affairs of the countries of the Western Hemisphere.

Monroe was trying to prevent the European states from interference into the US affairs. According to Monroe, the nations of West “are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers” (Burgan 29). Thus, the USA tried to prevent the European nations from the interference into the Latin American countries and the territories of the United States of America.

The Monroe Doctrine has become one of the longest tenets of the American foreign policy. In order to achieve the aim of isolationist policy, Monroe adopted three main concepts. The Doctrine foresaw the establishment of separate spheres of influence for the European and American nations, introduced the principles of non-colonization, and non-intervention. As a result, Monroe tried to achieve the break between the New World autocratic Europe. In addition, Monroe Doctrine was aimed at increasing the influence of the United States in the region of Latin America. At the same time, Monroe objected the European colonies in the New World. The US government expressed concerns that the European nations, such as Britain, Spain, and France, could create obstacles to the economic expansion of the United States by establishing colonialism in the Latin America.

Another key principle of the Monroe Doctrine addressed the issue of the European “allied powers”. According to the Doctrine, the United States did not interfere into the relations of the European states and their colonies in Americas. However, Monroe aimed at preventing the appearance of the new colonies among newly independent states of the Latin America. According to the Doctrine, “with the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power we have not interfered and shall not interfere. But with the Governments who have declared their independence and maintained it,… we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, … by any European power” (The Monroe Doctrine). As a result, the United States received an opportunity to become an “international police power” (Burgan 36) and prevent intervention of the European states into the Western Hemisphere.

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Monroe also divided two separate spheres of influence. There were European and American spheres. The independent counties of the New World were under the influence of the United States. At the same time, the United States tried to avoid the involvement into the European affairs. Thus, the USA did not interfere into the relations of the existing European colonies in the New World or ongoing struggles in Europe. Thus, the Monroe Doctrine provided a basis for the future expansion of the United States on the American continents. Later, the principles of the Doctrine were used to justify the intervention of the United States into the affairs of the Latin American nations.


As a result, Monroe pursued the US Secretary of State Adams’ advice and established the independence course for the United States. Monroe pursued four major points. Firstly, the United States could not be involved into the European affairs. Secondly, the United States could not pursue any relations with the European colonies in the Western Hemisphere. Thirdly, other nations could not establish new colonies in the Western Hemisphere. Finally, any attempt to interfere into the Western Hemisphere is considered to be a hostile act. However, Monroe pursued a wide goal of establishing the US spheres of influence over the American continents.

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