The New Libertarianism and the Sedition Act of 1798
When the First Amendment was ratified in 1791 many Americans still regarded trenchant criticism of govemment, its officers, or its policies to be criminally punishable "seditious libel." Not until the bitter controversy ignited by the Sedition Act of 1798 did Americans formulate a theory of political expression in a republic that undercut arguments justifying prosecution for seditious libel. The result was a new libenarianism with regard to freedom of speech and press.
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