SAT Subject US History Practice Question 801: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 801

62. Peter Zenger's trial in 1734 was significant in that it

A. laid the groundwork for freedom of the press in the future United States.
B. exposed corruption in the Church of England.
C. led to reforms within the British government concerning rule of the colonies.
D. involved a jury composed of British officials.
E. resulted in the execution of Peter Zenger.

Correct Answer: A

Explanation:

The colonial jury supported Zenger's freedom to print the truth. The jurors acquitted him of seditious libel (writing, printing, or speaking untruths against a public official) in 1734 because they decided that Zenger's claims about the royal governor of New York were true and, therefore, could not be libelous. Zenger exposed the corruption of the British government in North America, not the Church of England (B). The British crown did not implement any reforms (C) as a result of this trial. It was a colonial jury (D) that tried Zenger. Zenger was acquitted, not executed (E).

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