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Colonial newspaper printer John Peter Zenger was accused of seditious libel, was found innocent of the charges brought against him, and printed comments accusing the royal governor of corruption. The jury's decision in the case of John Peter Zenger, a newspaper printer, was significant because it pointed the way to open public discussion.
One political principle that colonial Americans came to cherish above most others was self-taxation through representation. By 1775, most governors of American colonies were appointed by the king. Colonial legislatures were often able to bend the power of the governors to their will because colonial legislatures controlled taxes and expenditures that paid the governors' salaries. In colonial elections, the right to vote was reserved for property holders. By the mid-eighteenth century, North American colonies shared the following similarities: same degree of ethnic and religious toleration, basically English in language, Protestant in religion, and opportunity for social mobility. By 1775, population growth in the American colonies was causing the population to double about every twenty-five years, and was attributable more to reproduction than to immigration. In 1775, most of the population in the American colonies, lived east of the Allegheny Mountains, lived in rural areas, was under twenty-five years of age, and was of predominantly English stock. The rebelliousness and inclination toward violence of the Scots-Irish was demonstrated by the Paxton Boys in Philadelphia, and the Regulator movement in North Carolina. Trends that sapped the spiritual vitality from many early eighteenth-century churches included clerical intellectualism, and lay liberalism. Leaders of the Great Awakening endorsed the concepts of divine omnipotence, and predestination. Generally, in the eighteenth-century American colonies most people had sufficient food to stay healthy, lotteries were a usual source of funds used for civic purposes, and labor was heavy and constant. By the mid-eighteenth century, Britain's North American colonies were similar in the following ways: opportunities for social mobility, basically Protestant in religion, some measure of self-government, and basically English in language and custom.