– President John Adams signs the Alien and Sedition Acts, making it a crime punishable by time in prison to “oppose any measure or measures of the government of the United States” or to oppose or resist”any law of the United States, or any act of the President of the United States”. Several U.S. citizens of the opposition political party were arrested.
– Maryland state legislators, mayor of Baltimore, and Congressman Henry May are arrested to prevent these men from voting to secede. Federal troops are then placed at polling places to intimidate voters and arrest those who were “polluting the ballot box” with the wrong ballots.
– President Abraham Lincoln suspends habeas corpus. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Roger B. Taney issues his opinion that only Congress has this power, not the President. A warrant is then issued for Taney’s arrest.
– Democratic Congressman Clement Vallandigham gives a speech in Congress denouncing
“the usurpations and the infractions, one and all, of law and Constitution, by the President and those under him; their repeated and persistent arbitrary arrests, the suspension of habeas corpus, the violation of freedom of the mails, of the private house, of the press and of speech, and all the other multiplied wrongs and outrages upon public liberty and private right, which have made this country one of the worst despotisms on earth for the past twenty months…“.
In another speech, Congressman Vallandigham warns against President Lincoln’s support for “national banks, bankrupt laws, a vast and permanent public debt, high tariffs, heavy direct taxation, enormous expenditure…”. Congressman Vallandigham is subsequently arrested and deported for opposition to the ruling Party.
– President Lincoln orders General John Dix to “take possession by military force, of the printing establishments of the New York World and Journal of Commerce…and prohibit any further publication thereof…you are therefore commanded forthwith to arrest and imprison…the editors, proprietors and publishers of the aforesaid newspapers.”
– President Franklin D. Roosevelt issues Executive Order 9066, authorizing the Secretary of War to “designate, whenever he or any designated Commander deems such action necessary or desirable, to prescribe military areas in such places and of such extent as he or the appropriate Military Commander may determine, from which any or all persons may be excluded, and with respect to which, the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of War or the appropriate Military Commander may impose in his discretion.” Over 110,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were American citizens, were incarcerated for the duration of the war for no reason other than that they looked like the enemy.
– Missouri Information Analysis Center releases a report profiling as potential domestic terrorists any citizen who opposes the Federal Reserve System, supports a third-party political candidate, or associates with the Campaign for Liberty.
– Congressman Alcee Hastings introduces H.R. 645, the National Emergency Centers Establishment Act, which would direct the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of Defense to designate at least six military installations to be”capable of meeting for an extended period of time the housing, health, transportation, education, public works, humanitarian and other transition needs of a large number of individuals” supposedly for the assistance of those affected by national emergencies.
While I have every hope that current and future governments of the United States will act honorably and will not abuse their powers, history is not on our side. President Barack Obama has made no secret of his admiration of Presidents Lincoln and Roosevelt, some of the worst offenders of individual liberty in American history. When government power is expanded, the political apathy of the general public allows this power to be used in immoral and unconstitutional ways. The argument that “it can’t happen here” simply doesn’t hold true. I call on every American to oppose any further expansion of government authority—your freedom may depend on it.
President, DuPage Libertarians