The Trial of John Peter Zenger: An Account

Douglas Linder

University of Missouri at Kansas City - School of Law


No country values free expression more highly than does the United States, and no case in American history stands as a greater landmark on the road to protection for freedom of the press than the trial of a German immigrant printer named John Peter Zenger. On August 5, 1735, twelve New York jurors, inspired by the eloquence of the best lawyer of the period, Andrew Hamilton, ignored the instructions of the Governor's hand-picked judges and returned a verdict of Not Guilty on the charge of publishing seditious libels. The Zenger trial is a remarkable story of a divided Colony, the beginnings of a free press, and the stubborn independence of American jurors.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 8

Keywords: Famous Trials, Trial, Zenger, John Peter Zenger, John Zenger, Free expression, Freedom of the press, Free press, Sedition, Seditious, Libel, Libelous, Weekly Journal, Jury nullification, Bill of Rights

JEL Classification: K10, K40, K41, K42

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Date posted: October 16, 2007  

Suggested Citation

Linder, Douglas, The Trial of John Peter Zenger: An Account (2001). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1021258 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1021258

Contact Information

Douglas Linder (Contact Author)
University of Missouri at Kansas City - School of Law ( email )
5100 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110-2499
United States
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