Free Essay On What Justifications Do The Alien AND Sedition Acts Contain For These Measures Aimed Primarily At The Press?
The Seditions Act of 1978 had a great impact on the work of the press then in the United States. The press, through its publications, was deemed to have an unequivocal influence on the public as well as the government operations. The publications could easily foster “insurrection, riot, unlawful assembly” that could ultimately cripple the governmental agenda. The press having a great influence was perceived as able to intimidate or hinder a person holding a governmental office from executing his duties effectively. The bill also sought to ensure that authors of publications could prove that they were indeed non-libellous and true. This had the sole intent of stemming out propaganda or slanderous writings from the public domain.
On what basis does the Virginia Resolution argue that these Acts are unjust?
The Virginia resolution watered down the Aliens and Sedition Acts due to their unconstitutionality. The acts overrode the bill of rights that protect freedom of speech and association. The Virginia resolution, crafted by James Madison, sought to ensure that free examination of public measures and characters prevailed. The resolution further sought to protect free communication among the public. The discourse regarding the leadership, for instance, the proponents of the resolution note was key to judge and determine the right leaders for the government offices. The criticism from the press and the public was essential in ensuring that the government of the day stick to its mandate. In short, the resolution had every intent to ensure every American had the right “to think freely, speak and write what they think.”
Finally, while our instincts tell us that such measures as the Alien and Sedition Acts cannot be justified, are there certain circumstances where you could see a need by government to limit freedom of the press in this manner?
There are a number of instances that the government can limit press freedom. The first is when the press commits defamation which is dubbed as libel. This involves disreputing an individual or an institution by publishing malicious information. There is also a limit on the extent that a reporter or the press in general goes to protect a confidential source. If the source has violated the federal laws, the press may be needed to name the source. Obscenity is another issue behind limitation of press freedom. The press must regulate its content to the community standards. Incitement is another element that makes limitation of press freedom inevitable. The press is required to publish information that is not designed to incite unlawfulness or immediate violence.