Texas National News

Scopes Monkey Trial

John Scopes

In Dayton, Tennessee, the so-called “Monkey Trial” begins with John Thomas Scopes, a young high school science teacher, accused of teaching evolution in violation of a Tennessee state law.The law, which had been passed in March, made it a misdemeanor punishable by fine to “teach 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.” He was trailed guilty and fined a $100.

Clarence Darrow

Clarence Darrow was a lawyer who worked as defense counsel in many dramatic criminal trials. He was also a public speaker, debater, and miscellaneous writer. Lawyer Clarence Darrow moved to Chicago in 1887 and attempted to free the anarchists charged in the Haymarket Riot. In 1894 he defended Eugene V. Debs, arrested on a federal charge arising from the Pullman Strike. He also secured the acquittal of labor leader William D. Haywood for assassination charges, saved Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold from the death penalty, and defended John T. Scopes. He was general attorney for Chicago within 5 years. He had an unconditional way in court.

William Jennings Bryan

He starred at the 1896 Democratic convention with his Cross of Gold speech that favored free silver, but was defeated in his bid to become U.S. president by William McKinley. Bryan lost his subsequent bids for the presidency in 1900 and 1908, using the years between to run a newspaper and tour as a public speaker. In his later years, Bryan campaigned for peace, prohibition and suffrage, and increasingly criticized the teaching of evolution.Bryan worked for peace, prohibition, and woman suffrage, and he increasingly criticized the teaching of evolution. In 1925, he joined the prosecution in the trial of John Scopes, a Tennessee schoolteacher charged with violating state law by teaching evolution. In a famous exchange, Clarence Darrow, defending Scopes, put Bryan on the witness stand and revealed his shallowness and ignorance of science and archaeology.

The Total Outcome Of the Trail.

Darrow expected a guilty verdict and stood ready to appeal the decision to a higher court. The jury did not disappoint him. Scopes was found guilty and fined $100 (almost $1,300 in today’s money). The Tennessee Supreme Court later upheld the constitutionality of the statute but overturned Scopes’ conviction on a technicality.