This trial took place in Dayton, Tennessee in 1925, and the central figure was a
twenty five-year-old science teacher named John Scopes. Scopes was under the umbrella
of advancing America, and the trial was dubbed The Scopes “Monkey” Trial. In 1925,
John Scopes was encouraged to challenge the Butler Law. This law was passed in the
state of Tennessee to bar teachings contrary to those in the Bible. Teachings from an
evolutionary text, Scopes broke the law and drew the attention of the media. The focus of
the media on the Scopes trial clearly presented the difference in the ideas of a religious
town and an evolving country.
Dayton, Tennessee ...view middle of the document...
of Dayton were not interested in moving forward with the roaring twenties. William
Jennings Bryan who was the head of the prosecution was also the leader of the Butler
Law defenders. He was determined to defend as literally true every word in the Bible. In
the deepest sense, Bryan had to defend it, he wanted certainty and reassurance, and had
learned to depend on the bible since childhood for certainty and reassurance. He would
lead a people who held on to the past and religion.
The sexual revolution also progressed. “In the vanguard of the revolt was the so-
called New Woman, the model of the educated, independent feminist who repudiated the
sexual morality of the past”. ( Moran 2 ). Both flappers and movie stars dancing the
Charleston supported this advancement. America was turning into a world set free of
Victorian restraints. America was advancing in every aspect.
The first day of the trial which was Friday, July 10, 1925 quickly turned into a
media frenzy, journalist from all over the country came to cover the trial. Ministers,
fortune seekers and all sorts of people descended on the city of Dayton just because of
it. Entrepreneurs sold stuff like posters, banners, food and even the bible trying to
take advantage of the widely publicized trial. This was the first of its kind to be
broadcast over the radio and Scopes played a very minimal role in this trial which was
mainly a verbal war between defense attorney Darrow and the lead prosecutor Bryan.
“Because Judge Raulston feared that the courtroom floor could no longer support so
many people, he moved the trial outside to the sunny courthouse lawn for the afternoon
of Bryan’s testimony. There, before a crowd of three thousand, with soda vendors
weaving in and out of the masses, Bryan writhed under Darrow’s attack” ( Moran 47 ).
The defense was dealt a heavy blow when Judge Raulston refused to accept the
expert testimony supporting Darwin’s theory and Darrow decided that if he couldn’t get
Darwin’s theory validated, he would attack the bible’s literal interpretations. The high
point of the trial was when Darrow asked Bryan to take the stand and he continued to
hammer Bryan with difficult questions on his strong acceptance of the stories in the Bible
like the creation of Eve from a rib taken from Adam while he was asleep, and the story of