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The Scopes Monkey Trial 1925

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The Scopes Monkey Trial 1925
The Scopes Monkey Trial demonstrates how religious fundamentalists used the power of the state to promote their view of society. Like the Prohibition laws used to legislate morality laws against the teachings of evolution in high schools attempted to legislate thinking. The Tennessee antievolution law (the Butler Act) came to national prominence in 1925. The American civil liberty union wanted to test the law and needed a teacher willing to be arrested for breaking the law.

John T. Scopes the 24-year-old science teacher and a football coach at Dayton High School agreed to be the defendant in the case. He had thought the evolution theory at the school and had therefor broken the new law the punishment under the law was a 100$ fine under the law.

In the summer of 1925 the case was brought to the Dayton courthouse with 150 members of the press in attendance. The state prosecutor was a fundamentalist William Jennings Bryan. Farmers in the families rushed though the heat wave as they were looking forward to Brian defending their bible against the idea “Everyone’s great grand pappy was a monkey”.

Judge John. T. Raulston from Fiery Grizzard stated that the issue was not the truth of the evolution or the wisdom of the law it simply if the John T. Scopes had broken the law. Scopes agreed that he taught the theory of evolution and was fined a 100$.

Brian had won the case but it was a hollow victory as Scopes defense Clarance Darrow had made the people of Dayton the state of Tennessee the fundamentalists and Brian himself look stupid. Darrow’s cross-examination of Bryans fundamentalists beliefs his social and his rejection of science made Bryan a laughing stock in the northern states. 5 days after the trial Bryan died in his sleep aged 65.

To the fundamentalists in the southern states Bryan powerful presented their view point conservative Americans believed that such views remained imbedded in their rural society many northerners however thought that fundamentalists in the south were no more than simpletons…...

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