Home eBooks The Zenger Trial and Freedom of the Press

The Zenger Trial and Freedom of the Press
  • Format
  • Authored by: David F. Fasulo
  • From the Series: Issues & Controversies in American History: Civil Liberties
  • Trim Size:
  • ISBN-10: 1438164165
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-4381-6416-8
  • Status: In Stock
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  • Imprint: Facts On File
  • Published: 07/01/2015
  • Dewey Number:
  • Reading Level: Grades 9 and up


In 1733, The New-York Weekly Journal printed articles criticizing the governor of the colony of New York. A year later, John Peter Zenger, the publisher of the newspaper, was arrested and charged with the crime of being "a frequent printer and publisher of false news and seditious libels" against both King George II of Great Britain and the "Province of New York." At Zenger's trial in 1735, prosecutors argued that criticizing the government could provoke dissent, endanger society, and incite violence. Lawyers for Zenger argued that he had printed nothing false or malicious and that the press had the right to publish material critical of the government. Should the jury find Zenger guilty or not guilty? Should the government be able to stop printers from publishing what they want, or is freedom of the press an essential right?

This eBook examines the Zenger trial and delves into the pro and con arguments that surrounded it. It includes a timeline, primary sources, a bibliography, a "Learn More About" chapter with more information on the topic, and a "What If?" chapter speculating on what might have happened had the jury decided differently.



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