Disciples of the Dragon: The R-13 factor
From the onset of history, mankind has struggled against tyranny. To speak of the past as the good old days of sensible government and our for fathers marvelous intentions is fashionable.
Knowing the truth, and still believing , is demented. From the time when Mennonites were imprisoned for refusing to fight the Indians in the Colonial era, to the high tech Fascism and seizure without trial today.
Americans and America have been in a struggle for power whether this is just human nature, a conspiracy, or the trail to Armageddon is yet to be seen.
Life in pre-revolutionary America had its own forms of repression. On May 13 1725, Massachusetts passed the New Worlds first official censorship law. It prohibited newspapers from publishing anything relative to war without government consent. When the English colonies began conscription, the Quakers and other religious pacifist where arrested for refusing to fight Indians. Roger Williams, of Massachusetts was convicted of crime and banished from that state for offense of a political nature.
'Public Occurrences' a newspaper published by Benjamin Harris was closed by the government in 1690. The Boston City council took offense at his portraying a negative image of colonial life. On independence day July 4 1797, the Senate passed three bills . These became law and would be known as the Alien and Sedition acts. The laws were composed of the Alien Friends Act. Which allowed the president to deport any alien that was judge dangerous to peace.
The Alien Enemies Act allowed deportation of any Alien from a country with whom we were at war. Aliens were never deported under these acts.
The Sedition act was seemingly enacted to thwart criticism of the pro federalist Adams administration. The act criminalized criticism of the president, but not the Vice president Thomas Jefferson a leader of the anti federalist movement. This act led to the arrest of two dozen, and seventeen prosecutions of anti federalist.
First arrested was an anti federalist congressman of Vermont, Matthew Lyons. He was fined $1,000 and sentenced to four months in Jail. While in Federal prison he ran a re-election campaign. He won by a two to one margin over his federalist opponent.
A member of the NY state assembly, Jediah Peck , was also arrested. His crime was circulating a petition asking for the repeal of the sedition act.