The Trial of the Century: A Resource Guide to the State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes
63 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2007
Date Written: April 24, 2007
Before O.J. Simpson, before Sam Sheppard and the Boston Strangler, and before the Lindbergh kidnapping, there was the first "Trial of the Century" in Dayton, Tennessee in 1925.
It featured the greatest lawyers and orators of the day; Clarence Darrow - the "Big City" agnostic advocate of the ACLU vs. William Jennings Bryan - the "Great Commoner" of American populism.
There were the deeply held and socially divisive issues of modern evolutionary science vs. "old-time" religious fundamentalism.
And there was the courtroom presided over by the self-proclaimed "mountaineer judge" Raulston vs. the media event presided over in the public eye by newspaper reporter H. L. Mencken of Baltimore, and the first ever real-time radio transmission of courtroom proceedings.
But ultimately, it was the State of Tennessee prosecuting John Thomas Scopes for teaching a science that was unpopular with religious fundamentalists who, from that day on have viewed public education with suspicion and the classroom as a battlefield in their cause.
Keywords: evolution, fundamentalism, religion, public school, Bible, science, Darrow, Clarence Darrow, Scopes, "monkey trial", "intelligent design"
JEL Classification: K10, K14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation