The Scopes Monkey Trial

The Scopes Monkey Trial

The 1925 case against high school coach and science teacher John Scopes, arrested for teaching evolution in defiance of a Tennessee state law, was America’s original “Trial of the Century.” The proceedings began as a publicity stunt but grew into a landmark event in the nation’s history. The trial featured three-time presidential candidate and fundamentalist leader William Jennings Bryan, who argued on behalf of the prosecution, and famed agnostic attorney Clarence Darrow, who helped defend Scopes. Although the Scopes case produced no legal precedent, the trial has been analyzed by historians, praised and vilified by politicians and preachers, cited in countless legal, political, and theological skirmishes, and retold in plays, movies, museum exhibits, and television documentaries. Images of America: The Scopes Monkey Trial examines the events that captured the attention of the world and still have much to teach us today.

The Scopes Monkey Trial

The Scopes Monkey Trial

After the passage of the Butler Act, which made it unlawful for a state-funded school in Tennessee to teach that humans evolved from lower organisms, 24-year-old high school teacher John Scopes intentionally violated the law. Arrested and charged on May 5, 1925, Scopes became the centerpiece in a trial that pitted two of the finest legal minds of the time against one another. Prosecutor William Jennings Bryan's participation in the trial served as the capstone to his prior unsuccessful advocacy to cut off funds to schools that taught evolution. Prominent trial attorney Clarence Darrow, an agnostic, spoke for the defense. This case, which was the first to be broadcast via radio, was a critical turning point in the creation vs. evolution controversy that continues today. The Scopes Monkey Trial has since been fictionalized in a play, a film, and three television films, all called Inherit the Wind. The Scopes Monkey Trial: Debate over Evolution explains how this pivotal court case shaped the way evolution and creationism are approached in classrooms.

The Scopes "Monkey" Trial

The Scopes

Looks at the historic 1925 trial in which a Tennessee high school biology teacher was accused of violating state law by teaching Darwin's theory of evolution, and discusses the impact on America.

The Scopes Monkey Trial

The History of 20th Century America's Most Famous Court Case

The Scopes Monkey Trial

*Includes pictures *Includes accounts of the trial and excerpts from it *Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading *Includes a table of contents "I never had any idea my bill would make a fuss. I just thought it would become a law, and that everybody would abide by it and that we wouldn't hear any more of evolution in Tennessee." - John Washington Butler In the early 20th century, Darwin's theory of evolution was still a relative novelty, but it had spurred some Americans to react by preventing it from being taught in schools, including in Tennessee, which passed the Butler Act to prohibit teaching the theory in a state-funded school. This set the stage for proponents of the theory to challenge the law by having a teacher bring up Darwin's theory in a classroom, which is how a little known substitute teacher named John Scopes had his name attached to one of the most famous cases in American history. Although it is best known as the Scopes Trial or Scopes Monkey Trial even 90 years later, the case was intentionally created as a test case, and from the beginning it was meant to draw attention not just to the issue but to the small town of Dayton, Tennessee itself. In that, it succeeded, not simply because the case was important but because it brought William Jennings Bryan, one of America's most famous politicians, to participate. Bryan would square off against renowned lawyer Clarence Darrow, who would represent Scopes in the proceedings. While the case was technically challenging a law and proceeded like a normal trial, including an appeal to Tennessee's Supreme Court, the Scopes Monkey Trial was essentially a national debate on theology, science, and each one's place in the classroom. The trial is best known not necessarily for the results but for the rhetorical arguments that were made on each side, and for the manner in which Darrow and Bryan squared off. In perhaps the most famous scene of the entire affair, Darrow actually cross-examined Bryan himself. Naturally, the case was politically charged on all sides, and even the judge was conspicuously biased against Scopes' defense, but Scopes successfully appealed the fine at the Tennessee Supreme Court. Still, the issue remained heated even after, especially when Bryan died shortly after the trial. The Scopes Monkey Trial: The History of 20th Century America's Most Famous Court Case analyzes the background and proceedings of the case. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about the Scopes Monkey Trial like never before.

The Transcript of the Scopes Monkey Trial

Complete and Unabridged

The Transcript of the Scopes Monkey Trial

The Scopes Monkey Trial was a watershed moment in American history and effectively ensured that henceforth, only Darwinism would be taught in America's schools. This is ironic, since Scopes actually lost. However, the publicity and propaganda victory, enhanced by later treatments such as "Inherit the Wind," turned the tide.

God—or Gorilla

Images of Evolution in the Jazz Age

God—or Gorilla

As scholars debate the most appropriate way to teach evolutionary theory, Constance Areson Clark provides an intriguing reflection on similar debates in the not-too-distant past. Set against the backdrop of the Jazz Age, God—or Gorilla explores the efforts of biologists to explain evolution to a confused and conflicted public during the 1920s. Focusing on the use of images and popularization, Clark shows how scientists and anti-evolutionists deployed schematics, cartoons, photographs, sculptures, and paintings to win the battle for public acceptance. She uses representative illustrations and popular media accounts of the struggle to reveal how concepts of evolutionary theory changed as they were presented to, and absorbed into, popular culture. Engagingly written and deftly argued, God—or Gorilla offers original insights into the role of images in communicating—and miscommunicating—scientific ideas to the lay public. -- Michael Lienesch, author of In the Beginning: Fundamentalism, the Scopes Trial, and the Antievolution Movement

The Scopes Monkey Trial

A Headline Court Case

The Scopes Monkey Trial

Discusses one of the most famous court cases in history, in which a Tennessee high school teacher was put on trial for teaching evolution.

The Scopes Monkey Trial

The Scopes Monkey Trial

One of the most famous trials in U.S. history took place in a tiny town in Tennessee in 1925. Dayton was the site of what became known as the Scopes Monkey Trial. The defendant, John T. Scopes, was accused of violating a recently passed state law. This law made it illegal to teach the theory of evolution. Under most circumstances, few people would have paid any attention to the trial. Several of Dayton’s leading citizens saw a chance to put their town on the map. They were successful. Two of the country’s top lawyers—William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow—soon became involved. Dozens of reporters poured into Dayton from all over the country. It was the first trial to receive live media coverage. Scopes was found guilty. He had to pay a small fine. But the issues about evolution that the trial raised are still debated today.

The World's Most Famous Court Trial

Tennessee Evolution Case : a Complete Stenographic Report of the Famous Court Test of the Tennessee Anti-Evolution Act, at Dayton, July 10 to 21, 1925, Including Speeches and Arguments of Attorneys

The World's Most Famous Court Trial

Darrow, Clarence and William J. Bryan. The World's Most Famous Court Trial. Tennessee Evolution Case. A Complete Stenographic Report of the Famous Court Test of the Anti-Evolution Act, at Dayton July 10 to 21, 1925, Including Speeches and Arguments of Attorneys. Cincinnati: National Book Company, [1925]. [4], 339 pp. Reprinted 1997 by The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. LCCN 97-38485. ISBN 1-886363-31-5. Cloth. $75. * Complete transcript of the celebrated "monkey trial," the case of the State of Tennessee vs. John Thomas Scopes, a 24-year old high school teacher accused of violating a recently enacted state law that banned the teaching of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Perhaps the first modern media event, the trial attracted enormous national and international attention. A star-studded cast of trial attorneys included the great orator and three time Democratic presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan and the brilliant trial lawyer and champion of the downtrodden, Clarence Darrow, among others. The climax of the trial came on the seventh day when the defense put the senior Bryan on the stand as an expert on the Bible and he was ruthlessly interrogated by Darrow. As a milestone in the American struggle between modernity and the forces of Protestant fundamentalism, and a vivid manifestation of the clash between two valid principles, academic freedom and democratic control of the public schools, the Scopes case has tremendous historical significance. This edition also includes statements by scientists entered at the defense's request, and the text of a lengthy concluding speech that Bryan prepared but never delivered.

A Religious Orgy in Tennessee

A Reporter's Account of the Scopes Monkey Trial

A Religious Orgy in Tennessee

Collected in print for the first time is Mencken's scathingly honest and fiercely intelligent coverage of the Scopes Monkey Trial, with his perceptive rendering of the courtroom drama, piercing portrayals of key figures Scopes, Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan, and his ferocious take on the fundamentalist culture surrounding the case. It also includes his withering coverage of Bryan's death just days after the trial, as well as a complete transcript of the trial's legendary exchange: Darrow's blistering cross-examination of Bryan.