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History of the Scopes Trial

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  1. Introduction
  2. Bryan and Darrow and the clusters of values and intellectual viewpoints of the 1920's
  3. Bryan's defense of the literal interpretation of the Bible
  4. The movie Inherit the Wind
  5. Understanding the ideology of Iannone
  6. Conclusion

In 1925, one of the most famous trials in American history took place. The question being debated was evolution, and a young teacher by the name of John Scopes was on trial for teaching it to his students. After an enormous amount of publicity, the famous William Jennings Bryan decided to prosecute the case, and Clarence Darrow took the defense for John Scopes. The controversy was deeply rooted and tensions ran high in the small, religious town of Hillsboro. The trial epitomized the war between rationalism and religion because it placed the question of faith vs. science at its center. Those who followed a rational ideology were unable to reconcile the ideas of evolution and with biblical teachings, and people who have believed in creationism all their lives were angered by the ungodliness of Darwin's theory. The Scopes Trial put the truth regarding the origin of man on trial, and after the famous case, evolution was never viewed in the same light.

[...] She found the truth, and she felt that it was her responsibility to tell Americans the reality of the Scopes Trial rather than allow Hollywood to form their opinions. The PBS documentary and the case of Edwards vs. Aguillard demonstrate that Americans are still debating the question of evolution and creationism. The case was the result of an Act in Louisiana that required teachers to teach creationism in schools along with evolution. An assistant principle by the name of Don Aguillard filed suit in 1981 and won the case in 1987. [...]

[...] After the Scopes Trial, the teaching of evolution became more acceptable and more teachers became willing to teach it, especially in the north. Many southern states still had laws that outlawed the teaching of evolution, but as time went on, many of these states became more progressive in their views. Today, the Scopes Trial is often regarded as an important turning point in American ideology. It is cited today to disprove religious ideas, and many Americans still debate the question of evolution openly. [...]

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