Blood of Patriots: Learning From History...The Sedition Act by Debbie Lewis
Northbrook, IL June 6, 2011
- A hero to many, Federalist John Adam was considered a significant Founding Father and was also the new country's second President. Having fought for our freedoms and participated in the forming of our new nation, a few of the things he did after taking office should significantly offend all liberty loving Americans.
Brought to light in the newly released film, Blood of Patriots, in 1798, just seven years after the ratification of the Bill of Rights, Adams signed into law the egregious Alien and Sedition Acts. For some, this set of laws was seen as protection from people living in the US from countries with which the US was possibly heading to war. For others, it was a stab at the very freedoms they held so dear. "It is unfathomable that only seven years after the Bill of Rights was ratified, a President of the United States would act in such an irrational manner," states Gary Franchi, the film's associate Producer.
The Jeffersonians saw the Sedition Act was an attempt to keep people from opposing the government. The "Act for the punishment of certain crimes against the Untied States," prohibited speaking out, in any form, "with intent to defame," to bring the US government, the President and/or either house of Congress "into contempt or disrepute" OR to cause the population to hate or to "stir up sedition" for opposing or resisting any law of the United States...any act of the President...or to resist, oppose or defeat any such law or act..." It seems hardly possible after the debates surrounding the vital role of our freedom of speech and press.
Thomas Jefferson, who defeated the one-term Adams for the presidency in 1800, said the Sedition Act violated not only the 1st Amendment, but the 10th Amendment, as well, making the Sedition Act, "altogether void." The laws prompted Jefferson to draft the Kentucky Resolution and aided James Madison in the writing of the Virginia Resolution. Simply put, Jefferson's Kentucky Resolution states that "the several states...are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government" and that the states had every right, as individual governing bodies, to abstain from following "undelegated powers" by the central government if they were not found in the Constitution.
"Thomas Jefferson understood the Constitution and acted promptly to call out Adams on his deplorable behavior," says filmmaker William Lewis. This early example of the attempt to usurp protected freedoms of the new population and the determination of the men dedicated to preserving our liberties is a clear sign that We-the-People must stay vigilant to protect our rights and freedoms. Blood of Patriots concludes by re-asserts all the rights given to the population in the Bill of Rights.
For more information on Blood of Patriots, please visit http://BloodofPatriotsFilm.com
Text of the "Sedition Act" An Act for the punishment of certain crimes against the Untied States http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llsl&fileName=001/llsl001.db&recNum=719
Another version of same text: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/United_States_Statutes_at_Large/Volum...
Virginia Resolution http://www.constitution.org/cons/virg1798.htm
Kentucky Resolution as passed by the state http://www.constitution.org/cons/kent1798.htm