Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia

Alien and Sedition Acts

Photograph of Congress Hall

Photograph of the original seat of the U.S. Congress.

Built to be the County Courthouse for Philadelphia, the building in the foreground was occupied by the U.S. Congress while Philadelphia was the Capital of the United States between 1790 and 1800. (Library of Congress)

Library of Congress

Built by the County of Philadelphia between 1787 and 1789 to serve as the County Courthouse, the building in the foreground was occupied by Congress from 1790 to 1800, when Philadelphia was the nation’s capital. This was the building where the Alien and Sedition Acts were approved. These acts were viciously opposed and caused political controversy throughout Philadelphia. Tensions had risen to the point where Benjamin Franklin Bache, a relative of Benjamin Franklin and a local printer, was arrested under the acts.

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