When a group of people don’t follow the rules of their society, a revolution starts. It was because they didn’t like the rules that the British made the American colonists break away from their rule.
It makes sense that the children and grandchildren of revolutionaries would be more careful when writing their own rules. That’s not right. Some politicians in the US have made laws and done things that are morally wrong, violate the rights of citizens, or try to force their own bad beliefs on the whole country.
The Worst Laws in American History
Public Law 503
Executive Order 9066, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, gave military leaders the power to detain anyone they thought would hurt the war effort. But he and his ministers knew that they would have to write it down at some point. This was the start of one of the worst times in US history: the illegal internment of more than 127,000 harmless Japanese-Americans in the 1940s.
There were internment camps in the middle of the country because of the false belief that all Japanese Americans would return to their home country if the US was attacked. This was because most Japanese Americans lived on the West Coast. Also, almost two-thirds of the people who were locked up were born and raised in the United States. A lot of them had never even been to Japan before.
Alien And Sedition Acts
People were still thinking about the Constitution and the rights it gave them not long after the American Revolution, so the president and Congress chose to stomp all over it. Were the French a threat to the US? In 1798, the government passed the Alien and Sedition Acts.
The government got new and broad powers to deport foreigners. One Congressmember explained the problem this way: “There is no need to invite hordes of Wild Irishmen, nor the turbulent and disorderly of all the world, to come here with a basic view to distract our tranquility.” That foreigners were much more likely to vote for the other party shouldn’t be a surprise.
Fugitive Slave Act Of 1850
As early as the 1830s, abolitionists in the North were finally coming together to form a stronger group, which scared slave owners in the South. There was already a law called the Fugitive Slave Act that let local governments catch slaves who were running away and give them back to their owners.
Some Southerners thought it didn’t go far enough, though. The South also thought that people in the North would help hide slaves who were trying to escape, which they couldn’t stand.
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
The Gulf Of Tonkin Resolution of 1964 has been used as a model by many US presidents who wanted to start a war, just like Sulla did when he crossed the pomoerium (city limits) of Rome with his army for the first time, which set the stage for people like Julius Caesar.
Before the United States joined the Vietnam War, North Vietnamese troops fired on two US ships for no reason. As his Republican opponent criticized him more, President Lyndon B. Johnson asked Congress to give him broad, far-reaching powers to protect US interests in the area.
Espionage Act And Sedition Act
The Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918, which was connected, were both passed soon after the US joined World War I. The Espionage Act was made as a middle ground between the US, which has a fairly liberal view of free speech, and Great Britain, which had passed a law a few years before that made it illegal to talk about state secrets. In short, the act made it illegal to send information that would hurt the war effort or help the enemy within the country.