Sedition Act Of 1798 Expires

1801

Congress lets the Sedition Act expire, and President Thomas Jefferson pardons all who were convicted under the law. Jefferson, in his inaugural speech, speaks of “the right of Americans to think freely and to speak and write what they think.” The only journalists prosecuted under the Sedition Act were editors of Democratic-Republican newspapers, critics of the Federalists, who controlled Congress. Strong criticism of the Alien and Sedition Acts helped lead to the Federalists’ defeat in the 1800 elections.