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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The First Amendment and NYC


A man with long white hair and a beard leans back against the steps reaching up to Federal Hall on 26 Wall Street. He plays the national anthem on his flute. Like the mild summer air coming off the Atlantic, the anthem ubiquitously floats around the Financial District reminding our small group where it all started.

This site was New York City’s 18th-centry City Hall where you could say the First Amendment was born. It’s no wonder newspaperman John Peter Zenger won his fight to print government corruption in his publication—the United States was born out of an intolerance for authoritarian, monarchial governments. Zenger’s acquittal marked a most important founding moment in our history—the freedom to expose injustices is no small potatoes. After all, the press is considered the fourth branch of the U.S. government, and essential part of the checks and balances system.

It was a great surprise to stumble onto this site during my latest NYC trip. 

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