The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XVI. Early National Literature, Part II; Later National Literature, Part I.

XXI. Newspapers, 1775–1860

§ 7. Alien and Sedition Laws

The most obvious example of that Federalist lack of common sense was the passage of the Alien and Sedition laws in 1797 to protect the government and its chief officers from the libels of politicians and editors. The result was a dozen convictions and a storm of outraged public opinion that threw the party from power and gave the radical Republican press renewed confidence and the material benefit of patronage when the anti-Federalists took control of the government. The passing of the Federalist party made a radical change in journalistic supremacy, but for a third of a century the newspapers were to continue primarily party organs; the tone remained strongly partisan, though it gradually gained poise and attained a degree of literary excellence and professional dignity.