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Alien and Sedition Acts

A series of laws, passed during the presidency of John Adams at the end of the eighteenth century, that sought to restrict the public activities of political radicals who sympathized with the French Revolution and criticized Adams's Federalist policies. In response to the Alien and Sedition Acts, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson wrote the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions, which asserted states' rights.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.