47) John Peter Zenger

Courtesy of Not Even Past

47) John Peter Zenger

Free Speech for Me Please, Thank You

Born: 26 October 1697, Holy Roman Empire (Present-day Impflingen, Germany)

Died: 28 July 1746, Manhattan, the Colony of New York (Present Day New York State in the United States of America)

Journalist and newspaper editor remembered today for his winning case in a landmark libel suit that set the precedent for not only Freedom of the Press in the American Colonies but later in the United States itself.

He came to America at the age of thirteen and spent the next eight years as an indentured servant before opening his own printing business in 1726.

Peter managed to scrape by for a year of publishing rude “attacks” on the Colonial Governor before being sued for libel in 1734. He spent ten months in prison before being brought to trial and then acquitted by the jury because they deemed his scathing remarks were in fact—fact.

To Learn More about Peter Zenger and the History of the First Amendment in General I highly recommend watching the masterclass on YouTube I’ve linked in this article.

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