Cause and Effect: Zenger’s Case
The most immediate cause of Zenger’s trial came from his newspaper, the New York Weekly Journal. The trial/arrest was sparked when Zenger began publishing the Journal, where he and his fellow writers would criticize the Governor of New York, William Cosby. After a couple months of newspaper issues, Governor Cosby, decided to take action against the Journal. He offered a reward for the name of the authors (whose names were not published), and also took his anger to a Grand Jury. Since the authors of the paper could not be determined, the jurors decided not to indict. In order to go around the Grand Jury’s decision, Cosby, told his own attorney general to file a case against Zenger (the only name showed in published issues of the Journal). 2+3.
The division in the political life in the Colony of New York was another but more indirect cause to the Zenger’s case. Governor Cosby, and James Delancey (Chief Justice), were at the front of the Court Party. While, Lewis Morris and Rip Van Dam led the Popular Party. Cosby had demanded that Rip Van Dam, who served as the president of the New York Council, split his salary with him. As a response Van Dam refuted that Cosby should split the money he had earned back in England. Cosby then designated the Supreme Court as a Court of equity (handles different types of cases then a court of law). As a result, Lewis Morris, Chief of Justice, ruled in a case against Cosby; Morris stated that Cosby did not have the power to designate the Supreme Court against Van Dam. To counter Morris’s actions, Cosby removed him as Chief Justice. The Populist Party was enraged; Cosby had corruptly sued Van Dam, he had removed Morris as Chief Justice, and he had rigged an election against a Populist Party candidate. Consequently, the Populist Party with the help of James Alexander asked Peter Zenger to publish a paper that would criticize Governor Cosby and his corrupted policies. A bit more of 3.
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