Why was the Zenger trial important? 

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Zenger Trial was a very important court case.  This court case established the concept of freedom of the press. John Peter Zenger was jailed for writing critical articles about the actions of the British government in the colonies.  In his trial, Andrew Hamilton, who argued that it is acceptable to write a critical article as long as the facts were true, defended Zenger.  The jury agreed and Zenger was freed.

This freedom was eventually added to the Bill of Rights after we wrote the Constitution.  It is part of the first amendment to the Constitution.  This concept is something that is strongly defended by journalists and the media today.  If a person writes a critical article that is true, they can’t be sent to jail for doing so.