Hamilton: The Cause Of Zenger's Sense Of Justice

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Hamilton equates Zenger 's defense with "the cause of liberty" in an attempt to stir the jury’s sense of justice. By stating that "a bad precedent in one government is soon set up for an authority in another," he makes it clear that what the jurors choose here today (to support freedom of speech or deny it) could impact the laws of all the states. This is further supported by Hamilton stating "it may, in its consequence, affect every freeman that lives under a British government on the main [land] of America." He also tells the jurors that should they protect Zenger 's freedoms, they would have "the love and esteem of your fellow citizens...every man who prefers freedom to a life of slavery will bless and honor you, as men who have baffled…show more content…
In reality, Hamilton 's case is not about facts, but about stirring emotions, similar to Samuel L. Jackson in the 1996 movie "A Time to Kill." Although the facts are right in front of the jury (according to the law at that time, Zenger WAS guilty of criticizing the government, without a doubt), Hamilton is able to stir enough emotion and sense of pride, and inflame the jurors’ desire to do "what is right," that they inevitably find Zenger innocent. The truth wins out; no matter how defamatory, if it can be proved true then it is not libel. Even when speaking or writing about the government. What does Hamilton seem to think is the greatest threat to liberty? Hamilton seems to think that oppression of freedom of speech and freedom of the press is the greatest threat to liberty. And history has proven him correct. When freedom of speech and freedom of the press are stifled, the ability of the people to communicate about and discuss urgent problems is stifled. This, in turn, stifles the ability of the people to correct said problems. A now classic example of the atrocities possible when these liberties are lost is Nazi Germany. Joseph Goebbels ' Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda controlled all media, suppressing anti-government information while promoting propaganda. Journalists who crossed the Propaganda Ministry were routinely imprisoned or shot as traitors, and a network of police and spies kept speech, the press, and even movies in
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