A Brief Narrative of the Case and Tryal of John Peter Zenger
First Edition   ©2010

A Brief Narrative of the Case and Tryal of John Peter Zenger

with Related Documents

Paul Finkelman (Albany Law School)

  • ISBN-10: 0-312-47443-1; ISBN-13: 978-0-312-47443-0; Format: Paper Text, 208 pages

A Brief Narrative of the Case and Tryal of John Peter Zenger is one of the most significant publications of colonial America and represents a major turning point in the history of freedom of the press and the political development of colonial America and the early republic. The book, published by Zenger in 1736, recounts his 1735 trial on charges of seditious libel and contains groundbreaking arguments by Zenger’s attorney, Andrew Hamilton. In this volume — which reprints the text of the Narrative as well as other contemporary documents, including excerpts from Zenger’s newspaper — Paul Finkelman provides a thorough and lively overview of the issues, events, and political intrigue surrounding the Zenger trial and offers a broad perspective on the trial’s long-term impact. Finkelman’s introduction and headnotes to the documents provide historical context and analysis, which make the documents accessible to students. Other useful pedagogical aids include a chronology, questions for consideration, and a selected bibliography.
"The introduction and document headnotes are extremely well done. The introduction lays out the complex politics of colonial New York in an accessible fashion and delves into all the major topics students would need to understand the Narrative. The volume also raises important questions about rights and democracy."
— James D. Schmidt, Northern Illinois University