Joseph Priestley House

Northumberland, Pennsylvania

Author to give talk on Thomas Cooper, Alien and Sedition laws

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Author to give talk on Thomas Cooper, Alien and Sedition laws
June 28, 2015 2:00 pm
June 28, 2015 4:00 pm
May 15, 2015

Author Charles Slack, whose new book chronicles the prosecutions of Thomas Cooper and other newspaper editors who wrote articles critical of President John Adams, will speak at Priestley House on Sunday, June 28.

Charles Slack


Titled Liberty’s First Crisis, Slack’s book examines the political issues and international conditions that led President Adams and other Federalists to enact the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. The Federalists controlled the White House, the Congress, and the Supreme Court, and they used these laws to prosecute Cooper and others whose writings they saw as undermining the authority of  the federal government.

The book describes how Cooper, a close friend of Dr. Priestley and editor of the Sunbury and Northumberland Gazette, was brought to trial in federal court in Philadelphia in April 1800. He was charged with publishing material in 1799 that libeled the president.All the while, the Federalists readily exercised their right to verbally attack their out-of-power foes, the Democratic-Republicans.

Slack’s presentation will take place in the Pond Building beginning at 2 p.m