sedition

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sedition

(sĭdĭ`shən), in law, acts or words tending to upset the authority of a government. The scope of the offense was broad in early common law, which even permitted prosecution for a remark insulting to the king. Although there have been several statutes in the United States forbidding seditious utterances and writings, the protection guaranteed to speech and press by the First Amendment to the Constitution has made them difficult to enforce except during periods of great national stress. The Sedition Act of 1798 generated so much opposition (see Alien and Sedition ActsAlien and Sedition Acts,
1798, four laws enacted by the Federalist-controlled U.S. Congress, allegedly in response to the hostile actions of the French Revolutionary government on the seas and in the councils of diplomacy (see XYZ Affair), but actually designed to destroy Thomas
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) that similar statutes were not enacted until the 20th cent. During World War I the Espionage Act (1917) and the Sedition Act (1918) punished speeches and writings that interfered with the war effort or caused contempt for the government. Vaguely worded and broadly interpreted, they resulted in over 2,000 prosecutions, mostly against radicals and the radical press. The Smith Act of 1940, restricted in scope to the advocacy of violence against the government, was invoked only infrequently during World War II, though it was later used successfully to prosecute Communist party leaders, as in Dennis v. United States (1951). The libellibel and slander,
in law, types of defamation. In common law, written defamation was libel and spoken defamation was slander. Today, however, there are no such clear definitions.
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 decision of Sullivan v. New York Times (1964), by granting special protection to criticism of public officials, largely eliminated what remained of the crime of sedition in the United States.

sedition

1. an offence that tends to undermine the authority of a state
2. an incitement to public disorder
References in periodicals archive ?
8) The subplot of the seditionist movement depicted in the novel has its historical referents in the figures and events connected with "El Plan dc San Diego," written by agents of then Mexican president Venustiano Carranza in 1915.
The demonstrators waved Iranian flags and pictures of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and placards saying "Death to seditionists.
After all, we fallible creatures could just as easily be led systematically astray by sophists and seditionists.
10) Derounian never tired of conveying the central message that mainstream noninterventionists and seditionists belonged to the same sinister fascist or quasi-fascist co-conspiracy.
The terrorists there did not respect even the holy month of fasting or Eid al-Fitr, but only stepped up their crimes, killing Muslims in the name of Islam; I say they are seditionists who betrayed religion and humanity.
The Guardian Council, as in the past, can block the way for deviants and seditionists.
Most southerners, he suspects, "really just want the same thing I do: a country liberated from the tyranny of Mormons and seditionists, and the freedom to say about the other side, in all honesty and with complete accuracy, that we might be better off without 'em.
For this reason, the clergy denounces the Green Path which seeks to reform the political system, Ahmadinejad's supporters who wish to transform it from within, and the youth who desire to excise it completely as "a triangle of seditionists, deviationists, and counter-revolutionaries" who need to be "neutralized.
It was a campaign of vilification and smearmongering unprecedented in American history, one that mobilized the mass media and law enforcement to target, malign, and neutralize conservatives as "extremists," Nazis, and seditionists who didn't want merely to roll back the New Deal and keep us out of war, but to overthrow the government.
The semi-official Fars news agency called protesters "hypocrites, monarchists, ruffians and seditionists," and ridiculed them for not chanting any slogans about Egypt has they had originally promised.
In addition, the President now stands accused of providing safe haven and passage to the seditionists, to officials involved in attempted kidnap and murder of a witness, and to other law-breaking government officials -- this in brazen desecration of the victims' universal rights to justice and to protection of the law.