Word of the Day – 1798 Alien and Sedition Acts

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Do you know the definition for the New Word of the Day which is “1798 Alien and Sedition Acts?”

Pronounced:  [ˈā-lē-ən] [ən(d] [si-ˈdi-shən] [akts]

First we will take a look at the individual definitions and then the cumulative definition. The definition for the word ‘alien’ is foreign. The definition for the word ‘sedition’ is incitement of resistance to or insurrection against lawful authority. The definition for the word ‘acts’ is laws.

The Alien and Sedition Acts were a series of four laws passed by the U.S. Congress in 1798 amid widespread fear that war with France was imminent. Foreigners from France were seen as a threat to American security. Freedom of speech rights were threatened. These acts were signed into law by President Adams. What happened next?

  • These laws made it easier to deport foreigners during wartime
  • These laws increased the residency requirement for American citizenship from five to fourteen years
  • These laws made it a crime for American citizens to speak or write critically about the President, Congress, Federal government, or federal laws
  • Sentiment against most of these laws helped defeat President Adams in the election against Thomas Jefferson
  • The Alien and Sedition Acts expired in 1801
  • Many parts of the original Espionage Act (reinforced by the Sedition Act) remained in force
  • The Alien Enemies Act remains in effect today as Title 50 of the United States Code

So, Homeschoolers: sketch an illustration and describe the ‘1798 Alien and Sedition Acts’.



About Martha Quinn

Book author, licensed teacher, master's degree (Reading K-12, Social Studies 7-12). Former homeschooler. Happily married Christian with two terrific children. Loves animals, swimming, music, fishing, gardening, cooking, traveling, exciting movies, good books, and the great outdoors.

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