The Alien and Sedition Acts

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The Alien and Sedition Acts were four laws passed in 1798. The Naturalization Act raised the number of years of United States residency required for naturalization from 5 to 14. The Alien Act empowered the president to arrest and deport aliens considered dangerous. The Alien Enemies Act provided for the deportation of subjects of foreign powers at war with the United States. The Sedition Act made it illegal to publish certain statements against the government, oppose lawful acts …

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…The Alien and Sedition Acts also unified the Republican Party and secured a victory for the Republican Thomas Jefferson in 1800. They also provoked the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions. Written respectively by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, these resolutions affirmed the rights of the states to determine the validity of laws passed by the federal government. Thirty years later John C. Calhoun adopted this notion as the basis for his theory of nullification of federal laws.