Inherit the Wind

Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee

About the Authors

Robert E. Lee and Jerome Lawrence were in a long working partnership through the 1940's. Jerome Lawrence was an author, playwright, director, and an educator, while Robert E. Lee was a playwright as well as a lyricist. The two met in New York City in 1942, Lawrence was working for CBS radio and Lee was working in advertising. By 1948, they produced their first musical to be produced on Broadway, called Look, Ma, I'm Dancin'. It wasn't until 1955 that the two found success in the play Inherit the Wind.

Scopes monkey trials

In 1925, the butler act was passed by Tennessee legislators. It said that only the evolution of one species, mankind, was aloud to be taught in school. This came about when the mixture of religion, science and public school collided and caused many problems in the school systems. The only way of teaching how the earth and solar system were created was by theory or fact, as long as it didn't interfere with the butler act that was passed.


This courtroom drama, Inherit the Wind, takes place in the 1950's. It was originally based off the scopes monkey trials. A teacher in Dayton, Tennessee was explaining the theory of evolution, that Charles Darwin developed, was arrested for violating the law. As expected, john scopes, the guilty teacher, was also found guilty when put up against the jury. The main conflict in this play is evolution vs. creation, which is still a controversy in modern times.