Guide The opposition press of the Federalist period

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This meant that the burden of proof was on him.

Lyon had to prove the words in question were true rather than the prosecutor having to prove them false. Lyon also argued that he was only expressing his political opinions, which should not be subject to the truth test. The jury found Lyon guilty of expressing seditious words with "bad intent. Lyon ran for re-election to Congress from his jail cell and won. Vermont supporters petitioned President Adams to release and pardon him, but Adams refused.

When Lyon was released from jail, he was welcomed as a hero in his Vermont hometown.


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He was cheered along the route he took when he journeyed to Congress. Once Lyon returned to Congress, the Federalists tried to expel him as a convicted criminal, but this effort failed. Thirteen more indictments were brought under the Sedition Act, mostly against editors and publishers of Republican newspapers. Some Republican newspapers were forced to close down, and many others were too intimidated to criticize the government.

One Republican was convicted of sedition for publishing a pro-Jefferson campaign pamphlet that accused President Adams of appointing corrupt judges and ambassadors. Two men were found guilty of raising a "liberty pole" and putting a sign on it that said, "downfall to the Tyrants of America. In the most bizarre case, the Federalists in the U.

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Senate formed a special committee to investigate a Republican editor, William Duane. Republicans had leaked to him a Federalist proposal to change how presidential electoral votes were counted. Duane had printed the law and written editorials denouncing it. When summoned to the Senate to face charges of writing "false, scandalous, defamatory, and malicious assertions," he went into hiding and secretly continued writing for his newspaper.

US History: Adams Avoids War With France, Signs Alien and Sedition Acts

The Alien and Sedition Acts provoked a debate between Republican and Federalist state legislatures over freedom of speech and the press. In a resolution he wrote for the Virginia legislature, James Madison argued that the Sedition Act attacked the "right of freely examining public characters and measures, and of free communication among the people. The Federalists in Congress issued a report accepting the old English common law definition of free speech and press.

It argued that the First Amendment only stopped the government from censoring beforehand any speeches or writings. The government, argued the Federalists, should be able to protect itself from false and malicious words.

He asserted that Americans must have a free flow of information to elect leaders and to judge them once they were in office. Nichols asked why government, which should be critically examined for its policies and decisions, should have the power to punish speakers and the press for informing the voters. In the end, the people settled this debate in by electing Thomas Jefferson president and a Republican majority to Congress. In his inaugural address, Jefferson confirmed the new definition of free speech and press as the right of Americans "to think freely and to speak and write what they think.

Austin, Aleine. Supreme Court never decided whether the Alien and Sedition Acts were constitutional. In fact, it was not until the 20th century that the Supreme Court grappled with significant free speech and free press issues. In this activity, students look up some of these important Supreme Court decisions and report back to the class. Find, read, and discuss the case. The Internet has each of the cases try www. Write a summary of the case.

Federalist Era

It should include the facts of the case, the main issue, the decision of the court, the court's reasoning, and what the dissenting justices said. Prepare to report on the case to the class. Include in your presentation how each of you think the case should have been decided and why. Schenck v. Congress passed laws during World War I against distributing material that would interfere with the war effort. Charles Schenck, general secretary of the American Socialist Party, was convicted under this law for distributing leaflets urging draft-age men not "submit to intimidation" but to "petition for repeal" of the draft law.

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Sullivan During the civil rights era, the New York Times printed an ad asking for donations to help peaceful protesters at Alabama State College. Within a few years, the Bucktails had forty-nine journals in their camp. In the chaotic race to succeed President James Monroe in , all five major hopefuls banked on newspaper support. Secretary of War John C. Secretary of the Treasury William Crawford had the Washington Gazette in his camp, in addition to several of the most widely read papers in other regions, including the New York National Advocate and Thomas Ritchie's Richmond Enquirer, the "national" newspaper of the South.

Speaker of the House Henry Clay tried to start his own Washington paper but failed, relying instead on a network of papers back home in the Ohio Valley and the partial support of the National Intelligencer, the major organ of the Jefferson and Madison administrations. If there was ever a media-made president, it had to be Andrew Jackson.


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  • A popular biography and song "The Hunters of Kentucky" about his war exploits first brought Jackson to prominence, and Pennsylvania newspaper editors John McFarland and Stephen Simpson invented Jackson as a serious presidential candidate in When Adams won the election of over Jackson through an alleged corrupt bargain in Congress, Jackson supporters mounted a newspaper campaign that surpassed even what had been done for Jefferson.

    By every major city and town had a Jacksonian paper, and many new journals appeared, even in obscure places like Easton, Pennsylvania, and Vevay, Indiana, especially for the campaign. Jackson's presidency marked a major turning point in the history of media politics. Understanding exactly the role that newspaper editors played in his campaigns, Jackson publicly expressed his gratitude to the newspapers that supported him by appointing at least seventy journalists to federal offices and allowing several key editors to play crucial roles in his administration.

    Among the leading members of Jackson's Kitchen Cabinet , the group of unofficial advisers that some historians have called the first White House staff, were three newspaper editors, including Kentucky editor Amos Kendall , who wrote many of Jackson's speeches and later became postmaster general, and Francis Preston Blair, a Kentuckian brought in to edit a new administration paper, the Washington Globe, when the Telegraph 's loyalty came into question. Blair became one of nineteenth-century Washington's preeminent political figures, spanning decades and administrations much like the lawyer-lobbyist-fixers of the twentieth century.

    After Jackson, more and more newspapers became involved in each succeeding campaign, and more and more editors in each succeeding administration, with similar trends occurring in most states. By the s, journalists were starting to run for office in their own right. Hundreds would serve in Congress, and thousands more in positions from postmaster and state legislator to the highest posts in the land. This convergence of parties and the press was most evident between the turn of the nineteenth century and the Civil War , but it remained strong in many rural locations until the twentieth century.

    Though always remaining close, the media-politics relationship nevertheless changed a great deal over that period.

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    Like everything else in American life, newspaper politics was severely affected by the industrial and corporate revolution that began during the s and s and reached its peak at the turn of the twentieth century. Vast amounts of money flowed into the political system as campaigning expanded and businessmen sought the myriad benefits that government had to offer. Banks, real estate speculators, and transportation companies especially railroads led the way, seeking land grants, financial aid, lenient laws, and favorable decisions on their interests. The new campaign money flowed especially into the newspaper business.

    It became increasingly common for local party leaders to publish special newspapers that were wholly devoted to politics and existed only for the duration of the campaign, typically from the early summer to November of a presidential election year. The practice began in with a few pro- and anti-Jackson papers, including Truth's Advocate and Monthly Anti-Jackson Expositor, which spread the tale of Jackson's allegedly bigamous marriage that the president believed killed his wife. The trend exploded during the infamous " Log Cabin Campaign" of , when the new Whig Party, armed with generous funds from the business interests that tended to favor it over the Democrats, created nearly one hundred campaign newspapers across the country as part of their effort to give their candidate, Virginia-born aristocrat William Henry Harrison , the image of a hard-drinking, hard-fighting frontier Indian fighter like Andrew Jackson.

    Despite their focus on news reporting, the new mass-circulation papers that emerged in the s—the so-called penny press—were just as partisan as the party journals, and often much more so because their financial independence from party politics relieved their publishers of any real accountability for their editorial policies. These new journals were sold on the street rather than only by subscription, at a much lower price point that allowed sales of hundreds of thousands copies.

    The Opposition Press of the Federalist Period - Donald Henderson Stewart - Google книги

    Print runs of this magnitude were made possible only by new steam-driven presses. Outrageous political rhetoric became one more way to entertain readers and boost circulation, and the political independence that penny press lords like James Gordon Bennett of the New York Herald preened themselves over often amounted only to the ability to support violently a president or policy one week and then turn around and bash it just as hard the next.

    The New York penny press also spawned a crop of millionaire celebrity editors who were considerably better known than most of the high-ranking political officeholders of the day. The new mass-circulation papers bragged that they had opened up newspaper reading to the masses for the first time and made the press a greater force for political and cultural democracy than ever before.