The Alien and Sedition Act from a different perspective
You are back in the year 1798 and the government has just passed a law saying whatever 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 the 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 moulded into whatever shapes you need it to be. Just as our nation is today, it is pliable to our society’s needs. The Alien and Sedition Act demolished this moral standard bypassing 4 acts that deny the power of people.
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The United States at this time was faced with 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 have created such debt at this point in time that is almost not comprehendible for any normal human. In order to regain a financial balance, the federalists 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 the 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, which stated that the nation would consolidate the debt at a national and state level, paying off the debt at face value, and would shift the power to the National Government. In Hamilton’s second report, he continued to set apart and distinguish between the 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 were the Democratic-Republicans, who basically had their mindset 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 Democratic-Republican.
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 overrun 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 were not unconstitutional, then the means was also constitutional.” Hamilton was just trying to create a 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 gargantuan level of instability for our colonies.
Another way our nation was suffering was a number 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 the perspective of our nation, 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 an 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 where 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 between 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.
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