The Trial of John Peter Zenger. On April 16th, 1735, the New York Supreme Court met in the second floor courtroom of New York City Hall. After attorneys James Alexander and William Smith, who were also Popular Party members, had attempted to represent John Peter Zenger at his trial, the Court decided to disbar both of them. The court did this because it was known that …
The trial of John Peter Zenger (1697–1746) was one of the most important events in shaping American thinking toward freedom of speech prior to and after the adoption of the First Amendment. Zenger was indicted for seditious libel for criticizing the governor. Zenger, born in Germany, immigrated to America at a young age.
John Chambers, a young, newly-admitted attorney and Cosby loyalist, was assigned to conduct Zenger’s defense. Contrary to expectations, Chambers acquitted himself well in his defense of Zenger — twice, he challenged the lists from which the jury was to be chosen and in doing so, he ensured that the jury empaneled to hear the case was not biased against Zenger.
The most famous trial lawyer in the American colonies, Andrew Hamilton addressed the court. He was defending publisher Peter Zenger against the criminal charge of …
Andrew HamiltonJames Alexander was Zenger's first counsel, but the court found him in contempt and disbarred him, removing him from the case. After more than eight months in prison, Zenger went to trial, defended by the Philadelphia lawyer Andrew Hamilton and the New York lawyer William Smith, Sr.
Zenger's case established that truth cannot be libelous Croswell (N.Y. 1804) when defending Harry Croswell against charges of criminal libel for accusations that he had made about President Thomas Jefferson. The concept was later incorporated into the law of New York and other states.
A resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he was no relation to Alexander Hamilton and was born in Scotland in 1656. Hamilton was the Attorney General of Pennsylvania from 1717 through 1726 and became Recorder of Philadelphia in 1727. Later, he would go on to become the Speaker of the Assembly from 1729 to 1739.Feb 26, 2015
John Peter Zenger, (born 1697, Germany—died July 28, 1746, New York City), New York printer and journalist whose famous acquittal in a libel suit (1735) established the first important victory for freedom of the press in the English colonies of North America.Jan 1, 2022
Rather, he argued, “abuse of power” caused governments to fall. Hamilton concluded by telling the jurors that if Zenger printed the truth, no libel had taken place, and they should find him not guilty. “Truth ought to govern the whole affair of libels,” he said.
When the trial began and Zenger's new attorney began his defense, a stir fluttered through the courtroom. The most famous lawyer in the colonies, Andrew Hamilton of Philadelphia, stepped up to defend Zenger. Hamilton admitted that Zenger printed the charges and demanded the prosecution to prove them false.
Hamilton argued that controversial articles printed in Zenger's New-York Weekly Journal were true and therefore could not be considered libelous. He also argued that, despite existing judicial procedures, the jury, not the judges, should determine the truth of the articles.Jan 1, 2022
Andrew Hamilton became the 16th president of New York University on January 1, 2016. Under President Hamilton's leadership, NYU has made significant advances. ... Hamilton served as provost (2004–08) of Yale University; he had previously been Yale's deputy provost for science and technology.
She was the spouse of Alexander Hamilton, famous in the early American government following the Declaration of Independence and considered one of the founders of our American republic. She had eight children with Hamilton during their rather short marriage of 24 years.
Though the odds were against him, Zenger told the truth. He boldly admitted that he knew publishing articles critical of the British government was against the law, but he said he did it anyway because he thought the law itself was just one more example of the corruption of the current government.
Why did Andrew Hamilton defend John Peter Zenger and free speech? He believed that free speech was a basic right. People need to hear both sides to every story, the press is able to freely speak on any issue (offensive or not) but it must be the truth.
No. Zenger News does not publish opinion of any kind, ever. What's more, we believe that political endorsements undermine the public's trust in news. Finally, we do not follow any party, programme or platform of any political entity or philosophy anywhere in the world.
Chief Justice James Delancy disbarred James Alexander and William Smith who stood ready to defend Zenger at his April 1735 trial after they questioned Delancy’s authority to preside. After John Chambers, a court-appointed attorney, presented the opening argument, Andrew Hamilton, a noted Philadelphia attorney (and designer of the building that is today known as Independence Hall), intervened on Zenger’s behalf.
The trial of John Peter Zenger (1697–1746) was one of the most important events in shaping American thinking toward freedom of speech prior to and after the adoption of the First Amendment.
John Vile is a professor of political science and dean of the Honors College at Middle Tennessee State University. He is co-editor of the Encyclopedia of the First Amendment. This article was originally published in 2009. Send Feedback on this article.
The Zenger case demonstrated the growing independence of the professional Bar and reinforced the role of the jury as a curb on executive power. As Gouverneur Morris said, the Zenger case was, “the germ of American freedom, the morning star of that liberty which subsequently revolutionized America!” 8.
1) This proved not to be the case. Zenger’s wife, Anna, and his apprentices continued printing the paper. Only one issue was missed. The continued publication of the newspaper built support for Zenger cause.
Although it was written from Zenger’s perspective, it is generally believed that it was written by his attorney James Alexander. The Trial of John Peter Zenger. PDF.
Seditious libel was defined as the intentional publication, without lawful excuse or justification, of written blame of any public man or of the law, or any institution established by the law. 2 Two separate grand juries were empaneled, one in Spring, 1734, and the other in the Fall of that year.
William Smith, Judge of the Supreme Court of the Province of New York. Reprinted from”The Magazine of American History,” of April and June, 1881. 8) Statesman, founding father and grandson of Chief Judge Lewis Morris.
The trial of John Peter Zenger, a New York printer, was an important step toward this most precious freedom for American colonists. John Peter Zenger was a German immigrant who printed a publication called The New York Weekly Journal.
Newspapers and pamphlets allow for the exchange of ideas and for the voicing of dissent. When a corrupt government holds power, the press becomes a critical weapon. It organizes opposition and can help revolutionary ideas spread. The trial of John Peter Zenger, a New York printer, was an important step toward this most precious freedom ...
After more than eight months in prison, Zenger went to trial, defended by the Philadelphia lawyer Andrew Hamilton and the New York lawyer William Smith, Sr. The case was now a cause célèbre, with public interest at fever-pitch.
John Peter Zenger (October 26, 1697 – July 28, 1746) was a German printer and journalist in New York City. Zenger printed The New York Weekly Journal. He was accused of libel in 1734 by William Cosby, the royal governor of New York, but the jury acquitted Zenger, who became a symbol for freedom of the press. In 1733, Zenger began printing The New ...
John Peter Zenger (October 26, 1697 – July 28, 1746) was a German printer and journalist in New York City. Zenger printed The New York Weekly Journal. He was accused of libel in 1734 by William Cosby, the royal governor of New York, but the jury acquitted Zenger, who became a symbol for freedom of the press.
In 1733, Zenger began printing The New York Weekly Journal, which voiced opi…
Peter Zenger was born in 1697, in Rumbach, German Palatinate. Most of the details of his early life are obscure. He was a son of Nicolaus Eberhard Zenger and his wife Johanna. His father was a school teacher in Impflingen in 1701. The Zenger family had other children baptised in Rumbach in 1697 and in 1703 and in Waldfischbach in 1706. The Zenger family immigrated to New York in 1710 as part of a large group of German Palatines, and Nicolaus Zenger was one of those who di…
Zenger died in New York on July 28, 1746, with his wife continuing his printing business.
During World War II, the Liberty ship SS Peter Zenger was named in his honor.
• Early American publishers and printers
• Federal Hall
• Freedom of the press
• Freedom of speech in the United States
• Copeland, David. "The Zenger Trial." Media Studies Journal 14#2 (2000): 2-7.
• Covert, Cathy. "‘Passion Is Ye Prevailing Motive’: The Feud Behind the Zenger Case." Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly (1973) 50#1 pp: 3-10.
• Eldridge, Larry D. "Before Zenger: Truth and Seditious Speech in Colonial America, 1607-1700." American Journal of Legal History (1995): 337-358. in JSTOR
• Levy, Leonard W. (January 1960). "Did the Zenger Case Really Matter? Freedom of the Press in Colonial New York". The William and Mary Quarterly. Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture. 17 (1): 35–60. JSTOR 1943478.