Honors College Theses

Publication Date



History (B.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Johnathan O'Neill


This paper analyzes two time eras in which the United States federal government created and passed two sedition acts: in 1798 with President John Adams and in 1918 with President Woodrow Wilson. Both ultimately affected American’s freedom of speech during wartime, as well as during times of peace. This analysis addresses the specific acts themselves, the overall political atmosphere in each time period, including who were considered the country’s “enemies,” in-depth consideration of one court case per era, the government and public reaction to the acts, and the overall impact that both eras had on the development of American Constitutionalism. There will be similarities and differences within each era, but the long-term effects of these wartime sedition acts on American Constitutionalism are ultimately the most significant contribution to this thesis.