Here is another fine article from our friends at Pundit Press by guest Dr. Robert Owens;
In 1798, a mere ten years after the ratification of the Constitution war with France seemed imminent. In reaction to opposition regarding the policies of the government John Adams, hero of the Revolution, co–author of the Declaration of Independence, one of the Framers of the Constitution, and only the second President of the United States Congress passed the Alien and Sedition Acts
Congress eventually passed four of these laws in an effort to strengthen the Federal government against internal dissent. The former supporters of the Constitution, now known as Federalists sponsored the legislation meant to silence political opposition which was coming mainly from the Democratic Republicans and their leader Thomas Jefferson.
First Congress passed the Naturalization Act which required people to be residents of the United States for fourteen years instead of five years before becoming eligible for U.S. citizenship.
Then they passed the Alien Act which authorized the President to deport aliens who the government determined to be dangerous or a threat to the peace and/or safety of the United States. It must be remembered that while many believed America was under a threat of war this law was passed and enforced during peacetime.
Seeking to extend the power of the central government even further Congress next passed the Alien Enemies Act. This third act allowed the arrest, imprisonment, and deportation of aliens who were from to an enemy country.
Finally Congress added the Sedition Act, aimed at any action deemed by the government to be treason. This included the publication of any material judged to be false, scandalous, or malicious. No matter what the Bill of Rights said the government declared these activities to be a severe misdemeanor that was punishable by both fine and imprisonment. Read more here>