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Logan Act Violations via Foreign Policy - Essay Example

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This essay "Logan Act Violations via Foreign Policy" discusses how former Presidents of the United States who engage in foreign policy initiatives as private citizens are at risk of prosecution under the Logan Act of 1799. …
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Logan Act Violations via Foreign Policy
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Download file to see previous pages Former Presidents of the United States have been permitted to engage in foreign policy initiatives, even though technically such actions violate the 1799 Logan Act. However, the lack of successful prosecutions, or even indictments, is not in itself unusual given the legal and political convention surrounding the Act itself. For example, few non-Presidents have been charged in the two hundred years since the Logan Act was passed by Congress. As such, the Act appears to be designed more as a preventative measure, something designed to stop political or diplomatic excess by private citizens, rather than a statute with any actual teeth. Consequently, former Presidents have been allowed to engage quite freely in the diplomatic sphere without fear of prosecution. Indeed, their impact on United States foreign policy has been at times quite significant.
Within the context of U.S. foreign relations ex-presidents are essentially immune from prosecution under the Logan Act. Partly this is because the Logan Act was never designed to limit the role of former Presidents. After all, they, unlike the average U.S. citizen still retain a measure of authority.
The Logan Act was designed to stop or dissuade private citizens from interfering in the international affairs of the United States. The Act came about as a direct result of the actions of George Logan. Logan took it upon himself to attempt to negotiate a treaty with France on behalf of the United States in 1789 (Hildreth 1863). The President, John Adams, argued that such behavior was “impertinent” and should be “corrected” (Hildreth 1863). The Senate agreed, replying that individuals “without public character or authority” should not be permitted to “separate the people from their government” (Hildreth 1863). Consequently, the wording of the Act itself forbade: “any correspondence, verbal or written, with the officers of a foreign government, with intent to defeat the measures of the government of the United States, or in any controversy in which the United States were concerned, to influence the conduct of a foreign government.” (Hildreth 1863). ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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