Zenger, John Peter

Zenger, John Peter
born 1697, Germany
died July 28, 1746, New York, N.Y.

German-born U.S. printer and journalist.

He immigrated to New York at age 13 and was indentured to a printer before starting his own printing business (1726). In 1733 he began publishing the New York Weekly Journal. Arrested for libel in 1734 for his attacks on the policies of the colonial governor, he was acquitted on the grounds that his charges were based on fact (a key consideration in libel cases since that time). It was the first important victory for freedom of the press in Britain's North American colonies.

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▪ American printer
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.

      Emigrating to New York City at 13, Zenger was indentured for eight years as an apprentice to William Bradford, pioneer printer of the middle colonies, and established his own printing business in 1726.

      On Nov. 5, 1733, Zenger published his first issue of the New York Weekly Journal—the political organ of a group of residents who opposed the policies of the colonial governor William Cosby. Although many of the articles were contributed by his more learned colleagues, Zenger was still legally responsible for their content as publisher. For a year the paper continued its scathing attacks on Cosby until, on Nov. 17, 1734, Zenger was arrested for libel. Remaining in prison for nearly 10 months, he was finally brought to trial in August of the following year. Disregarding the judge's admonition, his brilliant Philadelphia defense attorney, Andrew Hamilton, argued that the jury itself was competent to decide the truth of Zenger's printed statements. To the acclaim of the general public and the spectators, the colonial jury acquitted Zenger on the ground that his charges were based on fact—a key consideration in libel cases since that time.

      Zenger subsequently served as public printer in both New York and New Jersey. His account of the trial was published in 1736 in the Journal and was widely circulated in both the United States and England.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Zenger,John Peter — Zeng·er (zĕngʹgər, ər), John Peter. 1697 1746. German born colonial printer and journalist whose acquittal (1735) of libel charges in New York City established a legal precedent for freedom of the press. * * * …   Universalium

  • Zenger, John Peter — (1697, Alemania–28 jul. 1746, Nueva York, N.Y., EE.UU.). Editor y periodista estadounidense de origen alemán. Emigró a Nueva York a los 13 años y trabajó como aprendiz de impresor antes de instalar su propio taller de impresión en 1726. En 1733… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • John Peter Zenger — (October 26, 1697 – July 28, 1746) was a German born American printer, publisher, editor and journalist in New York City. His indictment, trial and acquittal on sedition and libel charges against the Governor William Cosby of the New York Colony… …   Wikipedia

  • John Peter Zenger — (1697 1746) était un imprimeur, éditeur et journaliste new yorkais du XVIIIe siècle. Un tribunal lui a rendu un acquittement lors d’un procès en diffamation intenté par le gouverneur de la Colonie de New York William Cosby en 1734, ce qui en …   Wikipédia en Français

  • John Peter Zenger — Johann „John“ Peter Zenger (* 26. Oktober 1697; † 28. Juli 1746 in New York) war ein deutsch amerikanischer Publizist und Verleger. Sein Freispruch vom Vorwurf der Verleumdung im Jahre 1735 trug wesentlich zur Begründung der Pressefreiheit in den …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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