Scopes Monkey Trial

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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. ... ... middle of paper ... ...”? The reason why the trial was called the “Monkey Trial” was because evolution suggested that humans evolved from apes. It was almost a comical situation around the courthouse and town. Vendors sold sandwiches, drinks called the ‘monkey fizz’, toy monkeys, and other monkey souvenirs. One butcher shop had a sign to say that “We handle all kinds of meat except monkey.” This would be a comic relief from a situation that was heated and intense. The Scopes Monkey Trial was a beginning of independent thought throughout the country. After the trial, it stayed on the books until a 1967 Supreme Court Case overturned the Butler Act and declared it unconstitutional. In the end, evolution can finally be taught; students can examine the research that Charles Darwin did and understand why Darwin came to his belief in evolution. People can study this and decide for themselves.

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