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A Recount

It attracted over 200 journalists, turned a town into a carnival, and was covered around the world. When the young teacher John Scopes was charged in Dayton, Tennessee under the Butler Act for teaching "any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible," the case became the trial of the century.

Byran and Darrow
Scopes was brought into the case by the ACLU. As attempt to increase the population of the the town, which had halfed in the previous twenty years, the town officals agreed to a challenge by the ACLU hoping it would bring Dayton some publicity. Scopes agreed to be the defendant. Prosecuting the case would be William Jennings Bryan, three Democratic time presidential candidate. Charles Darrow defended Scopes.

The trial was stacked against Scopes from the beginning. Ten of the twelve men picked for the jury were regular church goers. During the weekend the trial was adjourned, Byran gave a sermon in the town's methodist church. One of the listeners was John Raulston, judge in the case.

The verdict was only a formality. Scopes was fined $100. The Supreme Court did overturn the decision, but did so on a technicality instead of constitutional basis.


The Scopes Monkey Trial was just one example of the clash between the generations of the 1920's. Traditionalists, the older Victorians, were afraid of losing their standards and ideals to a generation no longer so preoccupied with the approval of society.

At the same time this was an example of the atmosphere that created the Lost Generation during the decade. Intolerance for intellectuals drove writers such as Ernest Hemmingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald out of the nation; it was the same intolerance convicted John Scopes.

Cited Works

"An introduction to the John Scopes (Monkey) Trial" UMKC Law
      17 May 1998.

"Monkeying with the Scopes 'Monkey' Trial" Essays on Origins
      17 May 1998.