Texas Tech University

THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES, WITH RESPECT TO THE PETITIONS PRAYING FOR A REPEAL OF THE ALIEN AND SEDITION LAWS BY CONGRESS

Publication Date: 1799

John Nicholas, Virginia Congressman and strict-construction Jeffersonian and his brothers, Wilson Cary and George, were outspoken opponents of the Alien and Sedition Acts, and each sought their repeal in vain during this session of Congress. This document leads with the House Report, refusing to repeal the Act despite claims of its unconstitutional limitation on free speech and the absence of Congressional power to remove aliens. The committee concludes that the First Amendment guarantees only the rights to publish without prior government restraint, the author remaining answerable to the public and individuals, for any abuse. Moreover, liberty of the press has never been protected "the publication of false, scandalous and malicious writings against the government, written or published with intent to do mischief."" #0002

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