8 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2007
Date Written: 2001
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.
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
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation