By Tom Head
[I]f any person shall write, print, utter or publish, or shall cause or procure to be written, printed, uttered or published, or shall knowingly and willingly assist or aid in writing, printing, uttering or publishing any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the governments of the United States, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States, with intent to defame the said government, or either house of said Congress, or the said President, or to bring them, or either of them, into contempt or disrepute; or to excite against them, or either or any of them, the hatred of the good people of the United States, or to stir up sedition within the United States, or to excite any unlawful combinations therein, for opposing or resisting any law of the United States, or any act of the President of the United States, done in pursuance of any such law, or of the powers in him vested by the constitution of the United States, or to resist, oppose, or defeat any such law or act … shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars, and by imprisonment not exceeding two years.The law failed as a political strategy—Thomas Jefferson defeated Adams in the 1800 elections—and expired two years later.
All good and loyal citizens of Chicago, who favor free speech and freedom of the Press, as guaranteed to us by the Constitution we love and uphold, are invited to assemble in mass meeting in front of the Chicago Times office, on Wednesday evening, June 3 at 8 o'clock, to take counsel together in regard to the recent infamous and tyrannical order of Maj.-Gen. AMBROSE.E. BURNSIDE, suppressing newspapers always Democratic, and consequently, always loyal.The Illinois House of Representatives also voted 47-13 to condemn Burnside's actions, passing this resolution:
That in view of the monstrous consequences which must inevitably flow from such action, if justified by the General Government, we respectfully yet firmly request the withdrawal of the order in question, and the disavowal thereof by those in power, as the only course which can be pursued to reassure our people that constitutional freedom, so dear to their hearts, has not ceased to be. The attention of the Government is called to this infringement of popular rights, and the invasion of the sovereignty of the State of Illinois.When it became clear that Burnside had no intention of respecting the First Amendment, President Abraham Lincoln revoked his order and allowed the Chicago Times to resume publication.