Alien and Sedition Act
You are back in the year 1798, the government has just passed a law saying
what ever they do and create it will be the standard. You have no say or any
comment on it, because frankly they just don’t care. You are now placed back in
the year 2001, would it be possible to apply a law of such magnitude to our
society today? I don’t think so. Our country is based upon individual rights, we
are allowed to say what we feel, and do what we want. It is what has shaped our
country into what it is today. The saying rubber makes things perfect is one
such example. It is a pliable material and can be formed or molded into whatever
shapes you need it be. Just as our nation is today, it is pliable to our
society’s needs. The Alien and Sedition Act demolished this moral standard by
passing 4 acts that deny the power of people.
The United States at this time
was faced with such economic and political problems domestically. Such economic
problems as a trade barrier created such turmoil. In the text it is described
that Spain, England and France on conditions of trade by saying that
“Immediately following the war, Britain, France, and Spain are all restricted
from American trade with the colonial states.” Our nation was also faced with
one such problem as debt. The wars and battles our great nation has gone through
in the past has created such a debt at this point in time that is almost not
comprehendible for any normal human. In order to regain a financial balance the
federalist came up with 3 solutions. They created an executive cabinet made up
of heads of departments and they created a Judiciary Act of 1789. The Judiciary
Act allowed for laws to be declared unconstitutional and put power back at a
National level instead of state.
Hamilton came up with 3 reports to also
help out with the debt our nation was facing. His first report was upon Pubic
Credit, it stated that the nation would consolidate the debt at a national and
state level, paying off the debt in face value, and would shift the power to the
National Government. In Hamilton’s second report, he continued to set apart and
distinguish between lower class and the aristocracy of the nation. Hamilton
accomplished his separation by instating the First Bank of the United States.
The aristocracy who had established money through Revolutionary war bonds funded
the bank. They would then take the money and protect it in a vault for them,
which would relate them back to the government standing. Which then in turn gave
our nation a national currency. With this great investment the rich became
richer, and created an even larger gap between the two levels of society.
Hamilton’s proponents become known as Federalists and involved such high ranked
people as Washington and Adams. His one and only opposition was the
Democratic-Republicans, who basically had their mind set the Hamilton’s many
proposals were bombastic and would not be healthy for this nation. These two
factions caused a massive amount of turmoil throughout. Hamilton was a
federalist while his oppositions, Jefferson and Madison were both
One of the conflicting factions was on the view of
the constitution. Hamilton saw the constitution in a broad sense. Hamilton
believed that the factions must not over run common sense. He also tried
justifying his proposal by his view on the constitution and Elastic cause. He
feels that “If the end was constitutional and the means was not
unconstitutional, then the means was also constitutional.” Hamilton was just
trying to create the broad view of the constitution, which would separate his
faction and gain power for his arguments.
Jefferson was directly opposed to
Hamilton’s broad view of the constitution. He said that if the topic was not
both necessary and proper, it did not abide by the constitution. Which provided
the ground on which his arguments would thoroughly be based. Not only did he see
future problems with the bank but also he did not feel that it was necessary;
because it wasn’t necessary it would not abide by the constitution. Both of the
factions had a sense of the deterioration of liberty that was happening and that
others would thus try to destroy it while it was in such a week state of mind.
These factions created a gargantuous level of instability for our colonies.
Another way our nation was suffering was quantity of problems confronted
with their allies across the great blue. Until Pinckney
’s Treaty, Spain would
have controlled the western half of our nation due to the control of the
Mississippi river. The river would greatly increase the value and standard of
this great nation if we could acquire the western half of it. With the creation
of Pinckney’s Treaty we were allowed to navigate along the Mississippi river.
This gave our nation an economic gain to the West and South. Spain had a very
deceptive plan though to entice southerners to become Spanish. Due to the fact
that Spain would still control the area based around Florida, they were able to
control the port at New Orleans, where our goods would be stored and exported.
Spain denied us the right to gain usage of the port and would drastically affect
our merchants in the surrounding area. Many people would become Spanish, (but as
my German teacher says “Spanish ist nicht so gut.) This would create a base that
they could use the port, make money, and continue with their trade. Americans
would in turn disturb this way of life and fight back. They would eventually
settle with a treaty that reopened the port and gave them the right to store
goods and navigate the Mississippi river.
France and England were a little
more of a handful. The French went through a revolution and their problems
arouse with the three other countries that would eventually declare a state of
war upon them. It would cause our nation to choose between our allies, or the
nation we had originated from, the mother country. Many views were brought into
the view of the government. The Jay’s Treaty would eventually put our
international problems at ease. The treaty established that England would leave
the Old Northwest Territory, compensate Americans for the loss of ships and open
some trade with the British in the West Indies. From our nations perspective it
was an amazing treaty, and more than anything deflected the possibility of war
with England. Although we thought the treaty to be righteous, the French saw our
treaty as treason. Even though we had already declared ourselves neutral. This
began the Quasi-War. Hamilton would appraise the fact that we were going to war
with France, and would just create more problems with the factions. With and
increase of problems, the XYZ affair would be born. Just creating even more
turmoil throughout the nation. While some saw this as a horrible view, others
saw it as prosperity. It would thus unite our nation and bring us together as
one. The XYZ affair would eventually create another period in time were our
nation would be at stability.
Though our nation was put through a time of
instability and constant turmoil, it has helped create what we are today.
Without the Alien and Sedition Acts our nation would never be at the strength it
is today. It would demonstrate how our young nation would continue to reach new
peaks and heights unimaginable by any other nation. Without being able to
question our government’s decisiveness, and help decide from right and wrong,
our nation would never have adapted to the times it has faced. Providing a view
that would eventually prove the Alien acts completely wrong.