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Scopes Monkey Trial Essay

851 words - 4 pages

The 1920’s, also known as the “Roaring Twenties”, was a period of peace and prosperity that overshadowed the losses of the Great War. There were flappers, Prohibition; and widespread popularity of Jazz music. Apart from this culture, the Scopes Monkey Trial would become a widespread controversy between traditionalism and modernity. Traditionalists would have a more conservative view, while the Modernists would have a more liberal behavior.
John Scopes, a substitute biology teacher was arrested and charged with violating the Butler Act, a Tennessee law which prohibited teachers from teaching the Darwin Theory of Evolution in a science-related course. The American Civil Liberties Union created a plan to find a teacher willing to teach evolution in order to test the Butler Act, which forbade the essence that anyone teaching any theory that shunned the Biblical story of creationism. Scopes agreed to be arrested and have the case be taken to court. However, Scopes had simply reviewed the textbook chapter on evolution. The traditionalists would see this as a threat to their interests and the issue hit the country stronger than a tornado. Everyone was glued to their radios—it was the first broadcasted radio trial--except the campers and hundreds of reporters near the Dayton, Tennessee courthouse. Traditionalists would be outraged by the appearance of speakeasies, flappers, illegal boozing, popular activities of the Roaring Twenties and especially the Darwinian Theory. Their strong Christian beliefs from the Holy Bible stated how God created the world and man and woman. A traditionalist’s beliefs would not accept the idea of evolution because the Bible said that Man did not evolve but was created by God—the Divine Creation in one day.
Clarence Darrow, at age 68, decided to defend John Scopes. William Jennings Bryan would be the opposing lawyer and encourage religious expectations over science. Bryan would see religion as the all-important backbone in agrarian America-what most of the South was. Bryan, the prosecutor, felt that the case was to prove that Scopes simply broke the law when he taught evolution. He believed that the Butler Act was the law, passed by the legislature, which controlled the schools. He also believed that “Rules are rules”. Darrow’s opening argument at the trial declared that the Butler Act was unconstitutional. Darrow saw the law as a “foolish, mischievous and wicked act… as brazen and bold an attempt to destroy liberty as ever as ever was seen in the Middle Ages.” The modernists believed in Darwin’s Theory that Man...

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