Jul 24, 2017

The Monkey Trial

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The Monkey Trial


During the postwar 1920s, a "new" America emerged. Largely urban, secular, and focused on the future, the "modern" culture challenged the traditional values and familiar way of life of many Americans, especially those living in rural areas. Intense cultural conflict characterized the decade. Those who saw in modern culture numerous threats to the moral fabric of the nation increasingly turned to their faith for stability and comfort. The popularity of Protestant fundamentalism, which held to a literal interpretation of the Bible, increased dramatically during this period, particularly in the South. According to fundamentalists, one of the key modernist attacks on traditional religious beliefs came from the realm of science.

Advancements in science in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries fueled modernization, and Americans increasingly placed their faith in the authority of science and progress. There was growing acceptance of Charles Darwin`s theory of evolution, which demonstrated that plants and animals—including humans—evolved from lower life forms by a process of natural selection. By the 1920s, discussion of evolution theory had entered public school classrooms. Though many Americans could reconcile a belief in evolution with their religious beliefs, fundamentalists thought the theory of evolution contradicted the Biblical story of creation and was therefore blasphemous—particularly the notion that humans evolved from a lower primate form. Fundamentalists led a charge against evolution, particularly against its teaching in the schools, and several southern states turned to

legislation to keep the scientific theory out of the classroom.

Such a law was introduced in Tennessee by John W. Butler, a state representative. The statute passed both houses of the Tennessee legislature by a large majority and was signed into law by the governor in March 1925. The Butler Act, as it became known, made it unlawful for a teacher in state-supported schools "to teach any theory that denies the story of Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals." Violating the law was designated a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $100 to $500 for each offense.

In response to the Butler Act, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) advertised for teachers in Tennessee willing to challenge the new law in court. Civic boosters in Dayton, eager to draw attention to their small town in eastern Tennessee, persuaded John Scopes, a science teacher and assistant football coach in Dayton, to accept the ACLU offer. Scopes was a logical choice. He opposed the antievolution law on philosophical grounds, and he had little to lose personally, being twenty-four and single and with no particular desire to remain in Dayton. Furthermore, he was a likable young man, popular around town and with otherwise conventional views, and so wouldn`t muddy the legal waters by provoking the judge or jury unnecessarily. Scopes admitted that anyone teaching from the state`s approved biology textbook, Hunter`s Civic Biology, which included sections on evolution of animals and humans, would be breaking the new law. Scopes had used the text as a substitute biology teacher. He agreed to be arrested to test the law in court.
From the start, Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes was about far more than Scopes. Supporters and opponents of the antievolution law converged on Dayton from around the country. The law`s supporters brought in the renowned orator William Jennings Bryan, a three-time Democratic nominee for president, former secretary of state, and fervent Christian fundamentalist, to assist the prosecution, headed by chief prosecutor A. Thomas Stewart, attorney general of Tennessee. Since the early 1920s Bryan had led the charge against the theories of Charles Darwin and the teaching of evolution in the schools; his syndicated newspaper column, "Weekly Bible Talks," frequently hammered Darwinism and what Bryan considered excessive faith in science.

The ACLU summoned counsel for the defense and Clarence Darrow, one of the most celebrated trial lawyers in America in the 1920s, volunteered his services as the chief defense attorney. He delighted in defending unpopular causes, including labor activists (he had defended socialist leader Eugene V. Debs in the Pullman strike of 1894), political radicals, and murder suspects. He was also an outspoken agnostic, doubting the existence of God, and a vocal critic of Christian fundamentalists, including Bryan.


-Use direct quotation in each source I provided at lease twice. -The first source is the textbook which I will provide a copy of the page needed as an attachment to this file. -The other two sources you can get from the ink provided. - summary of each source is also need (paraphrase) at least twice. - Each time you use a source please site it in the paragraph the same way it is written in sources provided; for example (feature essay) - I need a summary of each source and perhaps an opinion if it based on a fact but the opinion is not required just the summary. Sources - No work cited page is needed in this essay. sources -Law and Society “The Scopes “Monkey” Trial: Contesting Cultural Differences” America: Past and Present, p.608; Cite as (Law & Society) This source is included as an attachment. -“Mencken Likens Trial to a Religious Orgy,” HL Mencken (1925) http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/menck02.htm Cite as (Mencken) -“State v. Scopes: Trial Excerpts; Day 7 – Darrow Examines Bryan” (1925) http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/scopes/day7.htm Cite as (Excerpts) Thanks

Name:Instructor:Course:Date:The Monkey TrialAccording to the article “The Scopes “Monkey” Trial: Contesting Cultural Differences” (Law and Society 608), there was a fierce debate that came from the evolution versus the creation affair. In the 1920s, there was a new development in the society where most of the people and organs of the society challenged the traditional ways of life with modern cultures. At the heart of the transition, there was the development of the Darwinian theory of evolution. As the field of science developed even further in the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth century, more people turned to science for answers rather than religion. This led to the belief that humans evolved from the lower life forms other than having been created by a deity. This theory spread from the research circles to the classrooms. John. W. Butler, a state representative, came up with a bill that restricted all teachers in the state of Tennessee from teaching children about evolution due to the contradiction that existed with respect to the creation theory. Those found to teach about evolution in class would be fined between $100 and $500 depending on the number of offences. In response, the American civil liberties union called for teachers to volunteer to challenge the law in court. A young man called Scope came up and volunteered to take part in the trial, while a renowned Clarence Darrow was part of the defense team and Bryan; a strong Christian fundamentalist joined the state of Tennessee. In their argument, the defense felt that the state violated the constitution by infringing on the freedom of speech, joining the state and religion all of which violated the fourteenth amendment ...

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