Image: Andrew Hamilton

Andrew Hamilton (1676-1741)

Andrew Hamilton (1676-1741), American colonial lawyer, born in Scotland. He came to America about 1700, settling first in Virginia and later in Philadelphia, where he practiced law. He was appointed attorney general of Pennsylvania in 1717, served as a member of the provincial assembly from 1727 to 1739, and was responsible for choosing the site and general design of the Pennsylvania State House, later Independence Hall. He is best known for his defense in 1734 of the American publisher John Peter Zenger against a charge of seditious libel. Hamilton delivered an eloquent oration, putting forth the view that publication of the truth does not constitute libel, and won an acquittal that established the precedent for freedom of the press.

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