Andrew Hamilton and Free Speech

In Andrew Hamilton's summation of his precedent-setting trial on Free Speech,
he stated that the press has "a liberty both of exposing and opposing tyrannical
power by speaking and writing truth." This was forty years before the American
Revolution, and shock waves reverberated across the nation to London.

By the time Hamilton agreed to defend newspaper publisher John Peter
Zenger in 1735 pro bono, he had already been Attorney General in Pennsylvania,
and served in the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly for two decades.
As one of the state's most successful lawyers, Hamilton's victory in the Zenger
Trial gave rise to the expression "Philadelphia lawyer."

Although his portrait adorns the walls of law firms across the nation, much of Scotish-born Andrew Hamilton's personal history, his political acumen, and his other seminal contributions to the formation of America's legal system have gone virtually unnoticed for the past 275 years.

In the coming months, American INSIGHT Interns will explore these topics further.


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