Tennessee vs. John Scopes: The ‘Monkey Trial’
The Scopes ‘Monkey Trial,’ which started on July 10, 1925, was the result of a conspiracy hatched at Robinson’s Drug Store in Dayton, Tenn. John Scopes (see above), a young high-school teacher, was to become the test case on the legality of Tennessee’s anti-evolution law. An aging William Jennings Bryan was the prosecutor and Clarence Darrow was Scopes’ defense attorney. Earlier in 1925, the Tennessee State legislature had passed a law making it illegal to teach the theory of evolution in schools. Many people believed that Darwin’s theory contradicted the idea of biblical creation. The trial, complete with the spectacle of a cynical Darrow interrogating Bryan on the witness stand as ‘an expert on the Bible,’ aroused national interest and caused heated controversy over Darwin’s evolution theory. Scopes was judged guilty and fined $100, but the trial coverage dealt a blow to American anti-evolution forces. Bryan died six days later.
Photo: LIbrary of Congress