Power may justly be compared to a great river. While kept within its due bounds it is both beautiful and useful. But when it overflows its banks, it is then too impetuous to be stemmed; it bears down all before it, and brings destruction and desolation wherever it comes. If, then, this is the nature of power, let us at least do our duty, and like wise men who value freedom use our utmost care to support liberty, the only bulwark against lawless power, which in all ages has sacrificed to its wild lust and boundless ambition the blood of the best men that ever lived. –Andrew Hamilton
The trial of John Peter Zenger was a pivotal moment in the history of the United States both because it represents the long tradition of American belief in the importance of a free press and because it represents one of the first glimmers of the idea of American-ness as distinct from British-ness.
I’d never heard about it until yesterday, when someone wrote an aside about the trial in a post to a baseball forum.