The Sneakiest Part of the Sedition Act

"The Sedition Act was the most extreme manifestation of panic politics. Its unusual provision was to declare that publishing, or even verbalizing, 'scandalous and malicious' statements about the president or Congress would result in a stiff fine and imprisonment. The carefully worded statute did not, however, protect the vice president from libelous insults..." -- Madison and Jefferson, p. 334

The vice president was, of course, Jefferson, the arch-enemy of the Federalists who had passed the act.


  1. Yeah, that's a good point about how ideological Jefferson was and how inconsistently he supported free speech, recognizing that sometimes it has to give way for more practical concerns.

    1. Sorry, I had read the other passages you've been posting from that work and assumed this was being offered as evidence to claim.


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