N: 1. mid-14c., “rebellion, uprising, revolt, concerted attempt to overthrow civil authority; violent strife between factions, civil or religious disorder, riot; rebelliousness against authority,” from Old French sedicion (14c., Modern French sédition) and directly from Latin seditionem (nominative seditio) “civil disorder, dissension, strife; rebellion, mutiny,” literally “a going apart, separation,” from se- “apart” + itio “a going,” from ire “to go” (from PIE root *ei- “to go”).
Meaning “conduct or language inciting to rebellion against a lawful government” is from 1838. An Old English word for it was folcslite. Less serious than treason, as wanting an overt act, “But it is not essential to the offense of sedition that it threaten the very existence of the state or its authority in its entire extent” (Century Dictionary).
2. Political Science (General): According to Ballentine’s Law Dictionary (1969 ed.), Black’s Law Dictionary (1999 ed.), the Dictionary of English Law, by Earl Jowitt (1977 ed.), and the Oxford Companion to Law (1980 ed.), sedition is variously a commotion or the raising of a commotion in the state, not amounting to an insurrection, and may be by word, deed or writing to promote public disorder or produce riot, rebellion or civil war, inciting treason or some lesser commotion or the crime of doing acts to the same effect.
3. The federal crime of advocacy of insurrection against the government or support for an enemy of the nation during time of war, by speeches, publications and organization. Sedition usually involves actually conspiring to disrupt the legal operation of the government and is beyond expression of an opinion or protesting government policy.
4. The sedition laws date back centuries and were originally designed to protect the Crown and government from any potential uprising. The laws prohibited any acts, speech, or publications, or writing that were made with seditious intent. This intent is broadly defined as “encouraging the violent overthrow of democratic institutions.” (R v. Chief Metropolitan Stipendiary (Ex Parte Choudhury), (1991) 1 QB 429). A range of actions that could be considered seditious, if they are conducted with the intent to cause violence, are frequently listed as:
• causing hatred or contempt, or incit(ing) disaffection against the Crown, the government, constitution, either House of Parliament or the administration of justice;
• to incite subjects to unlawfully attempt to alter matters of the church or state that were established by law;
• to incite crime or disturbances of the peace; raise discontent or disaffection amongst the Crown’s subjects; or
• to promote feelings of ill will and hostility between different social classes of the Crown’s subjects.
5. Sedition is a lesser crime than “treason,” which requires actual betrayal of the government, or “espionage.” Espionage involves spying on the government, trading state secrets (particularly military) to another country (even a friendly nation), or sabotaging governmental facilities, equipment or suppliers of the government, like an aircraft factory.
6. Cultural Interrelation: We can mention the following quotes from the movie The Last of the Mohicans (1992) directed by Michael Mann.
- Jack Winthrop: “Does the rule of English law no longer govern? Has it been replaced by absolutism?”
- Hawkeye: “If English law cannot be trusted maybe these people would do better making their own peace with the French.”
- Duncan: “That is sedition!”
- Hawkeye: “That is the truth.”
- Duncan: “I’ll have you beaten from this fort!”
- Hawkeye: “Someday, I think you and I are going to have a serious disagreement.”
- Colonel Munro: “Anyone fomenting or advocating the leaving of Fort William Henry will be hung for sedition. Anyone actually CAUGHT leaving will be shot for desertion. Now my decision is final. Get out!”
S: 1. OED – https://bit.ly/2OXBmxn (last access: 24 November 2018). 2. TERMIUM PLUS – https://bit.ly/2zyyS3Z (last access: 24 November 2018). 3. DLAW – https://bit.ly/2FGvfyp (last access: 22 November 2018). 4. LOC – https://bit.ly/2zpicvm (last access: 22 November 2018). 5. DLAW – https://bit.ly/2FGvfyp (last access: 22 November 2018). 6. IMDb – https://imdb.to/2KuHQDw (last access: 24 November 2018).