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  • The Beginning
  • Burning of Zenger’s Journals
  • Accused
  • The trial of a German printer named John Peter Zenger in August 1735 helped establish one of our most cherished constitutional rights: freedom of the press. On August 5, 1735, twelve New York jurors acquitted Zenger of seditious libel.
  • Hamilton's Defense
  • It is ordered that the sheriff for the City of New York do forthwith take and apprehend John Peter Zenger for printing and publishing several seditious libels dispersed throughout his journals or newspapers, entitled The New York Weekly Journal; as having in them many things tending to raise factions and tumults among the people of his Province, inflaming their minds with contempt of His Majesty’s government, and greatly disturbing the peace thereof.
  • Zenger's Release
  • An upon his taking the said John Peter Zenger, to commit him to the prison or common jail of the said city and county. He was thrown in jail because of his journals about how bad their government is and their laws.
  • The First Amendment
  • Hamilton was arguing to free Zenger. The loss of liberty, to a generous mind, is worse than death. And yet we know that there have been those in all ages who for the sake of preferment, or some imaginary honor, have freely lent a helping hand to oppress, nay to destroy, their country.
  • After Hamilton convinced the government to free Zenger. Hamilton said to Zenger, "Power may justly be compared to a great river. While kept within its due bounds it is both beautiful and useful. But when it overflows its banks, it is then too impetuous to be stemmed; it bears down all before it, and brings destruction and desolation wherever it comes.
  • Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
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