Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 5

Andrew Hamilton

assembly speech philadelphia served

Lawyer and legislator, probably born in Scotland, UK. He emigrated to Virginia c.1700, and after serving as the steward of an estate he married the widow of its owner. She seems to have backed him in buying a large property in Maryland, where he took up the practice of law and served in the assembly. After visiting England (1712–13), he returned to settle in Philadelphia, where he became attorney general, did valuable work for the colony's proprietors, and served in its general assembly (1727–39). A man of many talents, he helped design Province House in Philadelphia (now known as Independence Hall). His greatest moment came in 1735 when he was invited to New York City to defend John Peter Zenger against the charge of seditious libel. Hamilton's legal techniques and eloquent speech won this landmark case in the history of the freedom of speech.

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