How free is free speech?


Seven years after the Bill of Rights was ratified, guaranteeing freedom of speech, Congress passed the Sedition Act of 1798, prohibiting criticism of the Government. That same year, Congressman Matthew Lyon was convicted for criticizing President John Adams in a newspaper article. This document charged the U.S. Marshal for the District of Vermont to jail Lyon for four months and fine him $1,060.96. The act was allowed to expire two years later.

National Archives - Northeast Region (Boston), Records of District Courts of the United States


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