John Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Acts during June and July 1798, but it was only with the gravest misgivings that he did so, for the acts asserted the power of the central government to an unprecedented extent.
The first, and least controversial, act was the Alien Enemies Act.
In November and December 1798, shortly after the passage of the acts, both Kentucky and Virginia endorsed manifestos on states' rights, written anonymously by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, respectively.
These resolutions stated that state legislatures maintained the power of interposition, which allowed them to judge the constitutionality of acts of Congress.
The Alien Enemies Act was not called into use until the War of 1812.
The second Act, the Alien Friends Act, was effective during peacetime, and allowed the president to deport any citizen of any foreign nation who he decided posed a threat to the nation while inside its borders.The Democratic-Republicans, with whom Thomas Jefferson was numbered were heavily fearful of a strong central government.HE was willing to allow the law to be used to his political advantage.The federal act reduced the oppressiveness of procedures in prosecuting such offenses but provided for federal enforcement.Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions, which the other state legislatures either ignored or denounced as subversive.Frenchmen plunder female "America," while five figures (lower right) representing other European countries look on.John Bull (England) sits laughing on "Shakespeare's Cliff."The three alien laws, passed in June and July, were aimed at French and Irish immigrants, who were mostly pro-French.Hamilton had said that those who help the French were not Americans but fool, ...Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.The law allowed the president to expel citizens without proof of guilt, claiming that spies would be adept at destroying evidence and able to easily fool many authorities.The statute was only enforceable until June 25, 1800, before the end of Adams' term and the 1800 congressional elections. The Naturalization Act revised the procedures by which an immigrant could become a citizen of the United States.