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Seditious conspiracy (18 U.S.C. § 2384) is a crime under United States law. It is stated as follows:

If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

For a seditious conspiracy charge to be effected, a crime need only be planned, it need not be actually attempted. According to Andres Torres and Jose E. Velazquez, the accusation of seditious conspiracy is of political nature and was used almost exclusively against Puerto Rican independentistas in the twentieth century.[1] However, the act was also used in the twentieth century against communists and radicals (United Freedom Front,[2] the Provisional IRA in Massachusetts), neo-Nazis,[3] and Islamic terrorists including Omar Abdel-Rahman.[4] This is respective of the state sedition laws, used to persecute hundreds of communists, socialists and labor leaders.[5]



Since World War I, the federal government has won numerous seditious conspiracy cases against Puerto Rican independentistas, communists and others on the left.[6]

Notable casesEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The Puerto Rican movement: voices from the diaspora. Andrés Torres and Jose E. Velazquez. Temple University Press. 1998. p. 238. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
  2. ^ AP (1989-01-12). "After 9 Months of Delays, U.S. Tries 3 for Sedition". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-10-28. 
  3. ^ "Louis Beam" at Anti-Defamation League (ADL) website.
  4. ^ Perez, Richard (2 October 1995). "A Gamble Pays Off as the Prosecution Uses an Obscure 19th-Century Law". New York Times. Retrieved 8 April 2010. 
  5. ^ State Sedition Laws: Their Scope and Misapplication (1956) "State Sedition Laws: Their Scope and Misapplication," Indiana Law Journal: Vol. 31: Iss. 2, Article 6. Available at:
  6. ^ Leonard Zeskind. Blood and Politics: The History of the White Nationalist Movement from the Margins to the Mainstream. pp. 144−171. Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2009.
  7. ^ ProLIBERTAD: ProLIBERTAD Campaign for the Freedom of Puerto Rican Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War: Arm the Spirit 30 October 1995. May 29, 2013.
  8. ^ Richard Perez, "The Terror Conspiracy—The Charges—A Gamble Pays Off as the Prosecution Uses an Obscure 19th-Century Law", The New York Times, October 2, 1995.
  9. ^ "Nine Members of a Militia Group Charged with Seditious Conspiracy and Related Offenses", press release, United States Department of Justice, March 29, 2010.


  • Avrich, Paul, Sacco and Vanzetti: The Anarchist Background (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991)

External linksEdit