Mr. Justice Story and Federal Power

Lead: One of the important issues left for future resolution by those who crafted the U.S. Constitution in 1787 was the balance of power within the federal scheme. Mr. Justice Joseph Story helped clear up that issue.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Joseph Story was perhaps the most brilliant legal mind of his generation. He grew up in Massachusetts, studied at Harvard, read for the law, and worked his way up the ladder of Commonwealth politics while gaining the reputation as a Jeffersonian Republican. Some of his political colleagues, Jefferson included, suspected that Story was really a closeted federalist, whose sentiments, once released on the federal level, would resolve the hanging question of sovereignty against the states. It turned out they were correct.

The Alien and Sedition Acts – III

Lead: Attempting to damage their political enemies, Thomas Jefferson’s Republicans, in 1798 the Federalist majority in Congress put the final nail in their own political coffin.


                Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts


                Content: Anger against France was in the air. War seemed imminent. The people were aroused and the Federalists in Congress, alarmed at the growing power of republican followers of Thomas Jefferson, decided to settle some political scores. They passed and pressed an allegedly reluctant President John Adams to sign, the Alien Acts and the Sedition Act, three of the most reprehensible pieces of legislation in U.S. history. The Alien Acts more than doubled the time immigrants had to live in the U.S. before achieving citizenship and, in addition, allowed the President to unilaterally deport foreigners he considered dangerous. The Sedition Act provided penalties for those convicted of criticizing the U.S., the Congress or the President.

The Alien and Sedition Acts – II

                Lead: With war with France imminent and political emotions at a fever pitch, in 1798 the Federalist majority in Congress went after Thomas Jefferson’s Republicans. They passed the reprehensible Alien and Sedition Acts.


                Intro. : A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.


                Content: When war threatens a democracy, one of the first casualties washed away by the people’s anger and fear is rational thought. In World War II perfectly patriotic Japanese Americans were tossed into concentration camps all over the Western United States in careless disregard for their constitutional rights simply to address the irrational fears of the American public. This is a regularly occurring theme in U.S. History.

Alien and Sedition Acts – I

                Lead: During the 1790s, partly in response to war fever, but also as an assault on their political enemies the Republicans, the Federalist majority in Congress passed three of the most reprehensible laws in U.S. History, the Alien Acts and Sedition Act.


                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.


                Content: In the history of the United States there are probably only two periods during which the Republic’s survival was seriously threatened. The most obvious time of peril was in the 1860s. There were armies, Southern armies, in the field engaged in open and mutinous rebellion. With Abraham Lincoln determined to prevent a dissolution of the Union and willing to commit arms to that enterprise, the nation decided on the battlefield and with the blood of its children the two great issues of state sovereignty and slavery.