The Case of Peter Zenger

The Case of Peter Zenger

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  • New York Weekly Journal
  • It's about time someone posted some non-biased newspaper over this governor. 
  • The Arrest
  • Peter Zenger you are under arrest for seditious libel under Governor Cosby. You wrote very critical statements and accused Cosby of being unfit for governor. 
  • Off to Court
  • He should go to jail for saying that I am unfit as governor!
  • That paper had very harsh, critical, false, and libel information.
  • The New York Weekly Journal is the name of Peter Zenger's newspaper. This is where the article over Governor William Cosby was printed. 
  • Hamilton's Defense
  • Truth should govern the whole affair of libels. If something is true, how can it be considered libel? All men and women should have the right to speak freely, print newspapers, and say these things. The people need to know the truth.
  • After publishing the paper, Zenger was arrested for printing false and libel statements of Governor Cosby. They put him in a temporary jail cell until he could be judged by the court. 
  • Jury's Final Decision
  • The Jury has found Peter Zenger not guilty of committing seditious libel in his newspaper. Since, the statements were not false, they cannot be libel. 
  • At the courthouse, Zenger was having a very tough time. The judge was picked by Cosby, so Zenger couldn't do much to change his mind. That was until Andrew Hamilton stood up for him. 
  • Affect of this Case
  • Hamilton was a great lawyer, and he was able to convince many people that these statements couldn't be considered libel if they were true. 
  • In the end, Peter Zenger was found, not guilty. This is mainly because of Hamilton's argument. Not only did this free Peter Zenger, but it changed American's rights. 
  • This event helped pave a path of freedom for all Americans. Even the First Amendment in the U.S. Constitution is based off of giving people the freedom of speech.  "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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