On this day. 1798: President John Adams signed the Naturalization Act, part of the Alien and Sedition Acts aimed at foreign nationals in the United States. The Naturalization Act said aliens had to live in the U.S. for 14 years before applying for citizenship; an earlier law required only five years.
The Alien and Sedition Acts give more authority to deal with "suspicious persons," especially foreign nationals who immigrated to the U.S. Political opposition to the Alien and Sedition Acts undermined the Adams administration, helping Thomas Jefferson win the presidency in 1800.
On this day. 1812: President James Madison signed a Congressional declaration of war against Great Britain — and the War of 1812 was on. The war began after Britain blockaded France, inducted U.S. sailors into the Royal Navy against their will, and backed hostile Indian tribes. During the war of 1812, the British burned the White House and Capitol, retaliation for U.S. troops burning British buildings in Canada.
Quote of the day
"I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress." -John Adams
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