Talk:Alien and Sedition Acts

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A biased reading?[edit]

Is this article about the Alien and Sedition Acts or against Jefferson? Or both?

The conclusion of the article is entirely devoted to the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions. It strongly intimates and almost explicitly asserts that Jefferson and Madison much more effectively threatened the American Constitution than the Al. & Sed. Acts. This may be true or may be false, but it seems to me irrelevant -- unless the aim is to present the Acts in a positive light against their critics. I have a sense that the most famous quote from the Sed. Act (the Sed. Act made a crime to "print, utter, or publish [...] any false, scandalous, and malicious writing" against the Government) has been omitted for the same reason.

A neutral account should surely mention the KY and VA Resolutions between the "effects" of the Acts, but it should explain what they were and how they were related to the Acts without trying to establish whether they were "actually" worse than the Acts themselves. A text along the following lines (Wikipedia's article "Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions" as on Nov. 13 2014) would do (I quote):

"The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions (or Resolves) were political statements drafted in 1798 and 1799, in which the Kentucky and Virginia legislatures took the position that the federal Alien and Sedition Acts were unconstitutional. The resolutions argued that the states had the right and the duty to declare unconstitutional any acts of Congress that were not authorized by the Constitution. In doing so, they argued for states' rights and strict constructionism of the Constitution. The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798 were written secretly by Vice President Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, respectively."

On the contrary, by producing only the quotes from Chernow and Wills, the article tends to present the KY and VA Resolutions in a way that is far too simple and partial: the article should at least hint at the complexity of the debate on this topic. Be this as it may, the question is whether a *verdict* on the KY and VA Resolutions should really be so central to our understanding of the Al. & Sed. Acts.

The final suggestion that the Civil War was the fruit of a seed planted by Jefferson is, to say the least, disputable and must be taken with extreme caution. This is a huge and very complex topic in its own right.

The site ourdocuments.gov provides a beautifully clear and unbiased introduction to the Al. & Sed. Acts, which might serve as a model for the Wiki article (http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=false&doc=16).

(AE)

Was AEA used on citizens, or was only EO 9066 used on citizens?[edit]

Our article (correctly) says "During World War II, it (the AEA) was used by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to issue presidential proclamations used to detain, deport and confiscate the property of Japanese, German, Italian, and other Axis nation citizens residing in the United States". The source says "the Alien Enemies Act was utilized by government officials to incarcerate Japanese Americans." The source makes no mention of 9066. It is possible that the AEA was incorrectly applied to citizens. Does anyone know if the source is in error, or if the AEA was misapplied to citizens, on top of EO 9066 being applied to citizens?

Copy editing[edit]

I've added a copy editing tag, due to poor style throughout, and some confusing grammar. Meesher (talk) 08:04, 22 September 2016 (UTC)

"Alien Enemy Act" or "Alien Enemies Act"?[edit]

In the lede I see both the forms "Alien Enemy act" and "Alien Enemies Act". I assume that both refer to the same Act. But everywhere else in the article the Act is only called the "Alien Enemies Act". Are both forms correct or should it be changed to "Alien Enemies Act" everywhere? Spike (talk) 09:22, 7 March 2017 (UTC)

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External links modified[edit]

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