Constitution Day
ATT: Dinah Zeiger
JAMM - University of Idaho
P.O. Box 443178
Moscow, ID 83844-3178

FAX: (208) 885-6450

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Phone: 208-885-6111
Toll-free: 88-88-UIDAHO
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Moscow, ID 83844-4264


Phone: 208-334-2999
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Boise, ID 83702

Coeur d'Alene

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Idaho Falls

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IV. John Peter Zenger

A. There is a wealth of information, from engravings to songs to newspaper editorials, about this case on the website from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School’s Famous Trials compiled by Douglas O. Lindner: The Zenger Trial: An Account

Another useful site is from The Historical Society of the Courts of the State of New York, which contains additional materials related to the Zenger trial.

Article: Olson, Alison Gilbert "The Zenger Case Revisited: Satire, Sedition, and Political Debate in Eighteenth-Century America" (pdf) Early American Literature - Volume 35, Number 3, 2000, pp. 223-245

Discussion Questions

1. Summarize the Zenger case. What is the underlying issue?
2. How do the writers use the press to publicize their stands on the issues?
3. Are they effective? Why or why not?
4. Would similar violations of rights occur today? Would similar cases be brought to court today?
5. What rationale does Andrew Hamilton, Zenger’s lawyer, present to the jury?

Adapted from the National Humanities Center