Last updated on: 1/30/2017 | Author:

June-July 1798 – Alien and Sedition Acts Enacted; US President Given Power to Punish and Deport Immigrants; Residency Requirement for Naturalization Increases to 14 Years

“Signed into law by President John Adams in 1798, the Alien and Sedition
Acts consisted of four laws passed by the Federalist-controlled
Congress as America prepared for war with France. [An Act to Establish an Uniform Rule of Naturalization, An Act Concerning Aliens, An Act Respecting Alien Enemies, and An Act for the Punishment of Certain Crimes against the United States] These acts increased the residency requirement for American citizenship
from five to fourteen years, authorized the president to imprison or
deport aliens considered ‘dangerous to the peace and safety of the
United States’ and restricted speech critical of the government. These
laws were designed to silence and weaken the Democratic-Republican
Party. Negative reaction to the Alien and Sedition Acts helped
contribute to the Democratic-Republican victory in the 1800 elections.
Congress repealed the Naturalization Act in 1802, while the other acts
were allowed to expire.”