Zenger Trial

Zenger Trial

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  • In 1735, John Peter Zenger was put on trial for seditious libel against the governor of New York
  • He had been printing a newspaper called the New York Weekly Journal, which was openly pointing out the governor's problems
  • One of the best lawyers in the colonies, Andrew Hamilton, traveled to New York to defend Zenger in the case of his "seditious libel"
  • When he gave his statements during the trial however, he did not appeal to the judge but the jury, saying that the only thing Zenger was guilty of was printing the newspaper, and that if he could not say what he wanted, it was taking away rights from him
  • Shortly after, the jury came back with the verdict, declaring that Zenger was not guilty
  • Because of the Zenger trial, we have the freedom of speech in America today, with no consequences to fear.
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