The Federal Government, though restrained by the Constitution, with reference to the definition of treason, has the general power to define and punish as it sees fit all acts against its existence or undisturbed operation. Thus it has by statute defined and provided punishment for misprision of treason, inciting or engaging in rebellion or insurrections, criminal correspondence with foreign governments, seditious conspiracy, recruiting soldiers or sailors to serve against the United States, enlistment to serve against the United States, and generally, acts which interfere with the effective operations of the government.3

Government, or to displace the national laws or sovereignty therein, every overt act done with force towards the execution of such a treasonable purpose is treason against the State only. But treason may be begun against a State, and may be mixed up or merged in treason against the United States. Thus, if the treasonable purpose be to overthrow the government of the State, and forcibly to withdraw it from the Union, and thereby to prevent the exercise of the national sovereignty within the limits of the State, that would be treason against the United States. So, if the troops of the United States should be called out by the President, in pursuance of the duty enjoined by the Constitution, . . . and there should be an assembly of persons with force to resist and oppose the troops so called out by the President, that would be a levy of war against the United States although the primary intention of the insurgents may have been only the overthrow of the state government or the state laws."

For further definitions of what constitutes "adhering to their enemies," and "giving them aid and comfort," see United States v. Burr, 2 Burr's Trial, 405; United States v. Pryor, 3 Wash. 234; United States v. Greathouse, 2 Abb. C. C. 364; United States v. Greiner, 4 Phila. 396; Wharton State Trials, 102ff.

Whether, and to what extent, Congress has the power to punish seditious libels will be considered in the section dealing with Freedom of Speech and Press.4