Scope Monkey TrialAlex FairchildMr. HeidellAmerican History, Period 315 December 2017On July 10th, 1925, a substitute teacher and American Civil Liberties Union member, John Thomas Scopes was charged with violating Tennessee’s law against teaching evolution instead of the divine creation of man. The so-called “Scope Monkey Trial” started in Dayton, Tennessee. This law was passed in March of 1925 and was ruled a misdemeanor whenever someone “teaches any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals”. (Camp, et al. 254)As well as being a substitute teacher, John Thomas was apart of the American Civil Liberties Union. This union attempted to challenge a state law prohibiting the teaching of evolution. The law that Thomas violated was known as “Tennessee’s Butler Act”. This act was a law that prohibited public school teachers from teaching evolution in a way that man was created by the apes. When Scopes was teaching this to his class, he emphasized that man was created from apes through the theory of evolution. When doing so, Scopes was charged with breaking the law through the subject. On May 9th John Scopes was held on trial by the grand jury for preliminary hearing. William Jennings Bryan, an anti-evolution activist, presented the prosecution to the court and made sure that his name was attached to the issue. Clarence Darrow also got involved in the case. He was an attorney and was planning on retiring and didn’t want to get into the case. Once he found out that Bryan’s joined the case he joined. Darrow was also a member of the American Civil Liberties Union. Darrow and Bryan both started to argue over the case so the American Civil Unions tried to remove Darrow but failed to do so.The day the trial began people fled into the city from all around to witness the case. With everyone flooding into the town it began to become a carnival scene with food and games. Along with several other people from the town, student’s from Scope’s class appeared in the trial and spoke with their testimonies. Darrow’s and Bryan put their past tension toward each other behind them. When Darrow started his speech, which lasted for over two hours, he was aggressive and got straight to the point, he stated that the Butler Act only had one particular religious view. Later the night of the trial, Darrow planned to call Bryan to the stand considering him as an “expert witness” on the Bible.When Bryan was called to the stand, the Court was very shocked. Darrow then began to interrogate Bryan about being an expert on the Bible. This then caused Bryan to confess to the court that he didn’t know much about religious science within the Bible. The judge then ruled that the testimony should be taken from the record, which prevented Bryan to make his closing statement. After the trial, Bryan prepared to write his closing statement, but was never able to present it to the court due to dying in his sleep the night following the trial. After the court had decided after nine minutes and the hearing was over, Scopes was found guilty and was charged a $100 fine. After this instance took place, Tennessee schools removed the subject of evolution from all of their textbooks. Scopes was then offered a new teaching contract, but decided to leave the Tennessee area.The Scopes Monkey Trial was a very important event in American history. It affected religion, society, and education. The major effect that it had on religion was the protests and debates over evolution being taught in schools because creationism was not allowed to be taught in science classes. The major effect that the trial had on society was not that it grabbed the attention of American’s from all over, but quickly grabbed the attention of those who particularly lived in the town to witness this specific court case at the time. The trial also had a major impact on education. Schools quickly decreased the subject of evolution being taught in the classroom. School boards and publishers began to edit textbooks to modify the process of explaining evolution to science classes and some publishers even took it completely out of their textbooks. The trial also had impact on other states besides Tennessee. After the trial was complete and time went on, John Scopes was continuously haunted by the trial process and was even constantly bothered by reports for interviews and personal opinion on the trial. Scopes eventually left graduate school and worked for the Gulf Oil of South America for three years. He then later married Mildred Walker in 1930 in Venezuela. In order to make his wife happy, he transitioned his religion beliefs from agnostic to the Roman Catholic Church. Later in 1960, John helped publish a film in Hollywood called, “Inherit the Wind” where the trial eventually made its way back to the public in Dayton which Scopes hadn’t visited since 1931.All in all, focusing on the process of evolution on mainly the creation of man through the descents of apes will you get you in trouble. Evolution is no longer discussed in today’s public schools and the topic is avoided heavily. The trial was one of the biggest movements in American History that affected several aspects of religion, society, and education. The topic of evolution in public schools could lead to court hearings, fines, and a special public attention if made a big ordeal. Bibliography”The Great Monkey Trial” Camp, Sprague. Doubleday
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