Compare And Contrast The Alien And Sedition Acts Of 1977 Dbq

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There were two sides to the Great Debate: the Federalist who wanted to ratify the Constitution and the Anti-Federalist who opposed the ratification of the Constitution. Although the Constitution was eventually ratified and made effective in 1789 it did not end the debate between these two parties. The Anti-Federalist party was short-lived following the founding of the new government. However, it served as the precursor of the Jeffersonian Republican party which is also known as the Democratic-Republican Party. In the next quarter century, political tension would be between the deep-rooted Federalists and the emerging Jeffersonian Republicans. The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 passed by the Federalist majority were fervently opposed by the …show more content…

The Federalist feared that war with France was inevitable given “rumors spread about a possible French invasion of America, one that allegedly would be supported by American traitors and a large number of French emigres that had grown to more than 20,000” (Gragg 1998, para. 4). These rumors were not completely unfounded given the sharp increase in the immigrant population. They were anxious that these immigrants including “60,000 Irish newcomers, some who had been exiled for plotting against British rule” along with British radical and the aforementioned French emigres would “mobilize the destitute” against the young nation (Gragg 1998, para. 5). In response to these fears, the Federalist sought to control immigration and limit individual liberties in order to protect the nation’s …show more content…

The Naturalization Act “raised the residence requirement for citizenship from 5 to 14 years” (Nash 2017, 189). Immigrants were drawn to the Democratic-Republican Party so by extending the time required to earn their citizenship it would slow the growth of the party. This is because these immigrants could not vote against the Federalists until they were naturalized citizens. Likewise, the Alien Enemies Act which permitted the president to “arrest, imprison, or banish” individuals who hailed from the same nation the United States was at war with “without specifying charges against them or providing opportunity for appeal” (Nash 2017, 189). If the rumored war with France broke out the more than 20,000 French emigres living in the United States would be deported. This would further reduce the number of individuals involved in the Democratic-Republican Party. The larger their membership the greater their voice would be in not only local elections, but also in Congress. Similarly, the Alien Friends Act empowered the president during peacetime to deport aliens whom he considered dangerous (Gragg 1998, para. 9). This act opened the gate for the president to expel any and all immigrants he pleased no matter which nation they hailed from. Once again this would be a costly blow to a party trying to press their political agenda. However, this is not the only reason why Jeffersonian

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