*Party division totals are based on election day results.
/tiles/non-collection/C/CongressionalPugilists_2004_089_000.xmlCollection of the U.S. House of Representatives About this objectThis 1798 cartoon depicts the infamous fight of Connecticut's Roger Griswold and Vermont's Matthew Lyon.
France resented America’s 1795 Jay Treaty with England and broke off diplomatic relations with the young country, sparking an undeclared naval war which dominated the 5th Congress (1797–1799). Connecticut’s Roger Griswold and Vermont’s Matthew Lyon brawled on the House Floor after President John Adams recommended that Congress prepare the military while renewing negotiation efforts. When French demands for bribes ended negotiations, Congress established the Navy Department to oversee the fleet, the U.S. Marine Corps, and the draconian Alien and Sedition Acts. As the Congress ended, President Adams announced another round of negotiations with France.
In one of the first tests of freedom of speech, the House passed the Sedition Act, permitting the deportation, fine, or imprisonment of anyone deemed a threat or publishing “false, scandalous, or malicious …