TRUMP, JOHN ADAMS and SEDITION LAWS

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Donald Trump has joined the ranks of America’s one term presidents. 

Our first one term president was  John Adams, leader of the Federalist political party. Adams was born a wealthy aristocrat, inflicted not getting re-elected on himself, just as Trump has done.

Among the ways Adams scuttled his own re-election was ……………

 

 

…………………………………………………..  seeking to have our presidents addressed as “Your Majesty.” This did not go well with most of the other founders, like Jefferson, Franklin, Madison and Monroe, or with ordinary Americans, who had just shed blood to escape the clutches of “His Majesty King George III of Britain.

Adams also tried to force a national day of Christian prayer down the throats of Americans. This was wildly resisted, and Adams himself later said this was the major reason, he didn’t get a second term.

The really big reason that Adams was not re-elected was, because he used his Federalist party majority in both House and Senate to enact a “SEDITION LAW.”  Under Adam’s sedition law several newspaper editors and other journalists were charged, fined and imprisoned for criticizing Adams or his administration, either in print or in speech. Benjamin Franklin’s grandson, Benjamin Franklin Bache, was charged with sedition under Adam’s law, but died of yellow fever, before his trial was held.

One US Congressman, Mathew Lyon Of Vermont, was imprisoned for four months under this law, for criticizing Adams,  and fined, what at the time was a huge amount, $1000. Lyon was re-elected by his congressional constituents, while in jail for sedition.

Luther Baldwin an ordinary (poor) working man, was arrested for sedition, fined and jailed, because a fellow citizen testified that Baldwin muttered an obscene remark about Adams as Adams passed in a carriage. Baldwin became a national hero and the symbol of the gross injustice and un American nature of Adams’ sedition law. Baldwin was later pardoned and apologized to by Thomas Jefferson, after Jefferson became President. 

Adam’s sedition law came off the federal law books, when Adams left office in 1801. Sadly, in 1918, America, in a sharp turn to the right passed another sedition law, with about the same provisions as Adam’s 1797 to 1801 law. That law survived until 1920, and many Americans, among them that famous Hoosier, Eugene Debbs, were jailed for criticizing our federal government. 

As you mull all of this over, I suggest you read LIBERTY’S FIRST CRISES , and that you compare our two past sedition laws with Trump declaring our free press to be the “enemy of the people.” We know for sure, that Fascism CAN come to America, because it has already been here.

If you love America, you must keep both your eyes and your mouth open to protect what we have. 

Ron Nesler posting from New Harmony, Indiana

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