John Peter Zenger Flashcards, test questions and answers
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What is John Peter Zenger?
John Peter Zenger is a figure of great historical importance for the United States. He was an early printer in New York City and was also involved in the fight against government censorship. As a result of his actions, he became an early American folk hero and symbol of freedom of speech. Zenger was born in Germany and immigrated to America with his family as a child. In 1733, he started a newspaper called The New-York Weekly Journal which quickly became popular among members of the public. However, this popularity soon caused him trouble with the Royal Governor William Cosby who wanted to control what could be said about him or other British officials in public discourse. In 1734, Zenger was arrested on charges of seditious libel for publishing articles critical of Cosby’s administration that were deemed seditious by authorities at the time. Despite having no legal background himself, Zenger decided to represent himself in court with help from prominent lawyer Andrew Hamilton who provided moral support during his trial. After months of trial proceedings, Zenger was eventually acquitted by jurors who found that truth is a defense against accusations of seditious libel. This landmark decision meant that criticism towards political figures or institutions was allowed without fear of punishment or retribution from authorities – an important victory for press freedom and free speech rights in America today. The legacy left behind by John Peter Zenger continues to remain relevant even today; it serves as reminder that people have both legal and moral right to express their opinions without fear or reprisal from those in power, even if those opinions are seen as controversial or unpopular by some sections society at large. His story stands as proof that when citizens are willing to stand up for their beliefs they can make history and bring about real change – something we should all continue strive towards today.