Corruption In Zenger's Essay 'Cato'

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Subject: Zenger discusses the corruption of British government officials in New England, particularly the royal governors. He talks about how they take bribes, of how they cover up deaths of slaves in slave revolts. Zenger speaks of the climb for power in the government, about how many officials will sink to low standards in order to reach the statuses they so dearly covet. On many occasions, Zenger quotes ‘Cato.’ Cato is in fact a pseudonym for two men, John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon, who have written a series of essays exploiting corrupt government officials and essentially calling many of them out in their papers. The essays were published as a series of articles called “Catos’s Letters,” as publishing the essays under the men’s true names would have put them and their families in potential danger; being a whistleblower was dangerous, even back then. Zenger uses Cato as a source for his accusations against government officials, having them back up the points that he had already brought to light on certain fraudulent British officials. Occasion: During this time, the colonies were still under British control. As such, Britain had…show more content…
As a whistleblower, he took it upon himself to write what was the truth, not just how it was meant to be perceived. The meaning in this is that what the people of the colonies were supposed to accept was that while many royal governors and judges were corrupt, the people of the land were not supposed to comment on that. They were supposed to simply accept this, regardless of whether it did them harm or not. John P. Zenger would have none of that. He saw these unethical men for what they were, and acted to expose them. Not only did his articles sell well, they sold widely. People of the colonies looked to his newspapers to both find out about the corruption in the royal government on their land, and confirm what they may have already
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