Scopes Trial

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Education is an important part of being an American and is one of the greatest parts of our country. We also have the freedom of religion, letting us have our own beliefs and ways of living. The freedom of religion allows many people to worship their own god or to believe in a completely different way, that man was formed. The ways of creation and the theory of evolution are the main beliefs among individuals. These two ways have caused lots of controversy over the years but was first brought into the light with the Scopes trial. Many people were very religious and did not want their children to be taught creation any other way except from the bible.

On March 13, 1925 an act was passed by the state of Tennessee stating, “That it shall be unlawful for any teacher in any of the Universities, Normals and all other public schools of the State which are supported in whole or in part by the public school funds of the State, to teach any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.” This act written by Rep. John Washington Butler, calling for a ban of the teaching of evolution, was written after Butler read a speech by ex-Secretary of State and leader in the anti-evolution movement William Jennings Bryan titled “Is the Bible true?”.

A few months later a newspaper ran an article by the American Civil Liberties Union that said “The ACLU is looking for a Tennessee teacher who is willing to accept our services in testing this law in the courts. Our lawyers think a friendly test case can be arranged without costing a teacher his or her job... All we need now is a willing client." The article was read by a few townspeople of Dayton, Tennessee and they asked John Thomas Scopes, a high school biology teacher and football coach, if he would be willing to be indicted. He agreed and on May 25, 1925 Scopes was indicted by a grand jury for violating Tennessee's anti-evolution law.

John Thomas Scopes was indicted because he taught a part out of George William Hunter's A Civic Biology book, that describes evolution as "the belief that simple forms of life on the earth slowly and gradually gave rise to those more complex and that thus ultimately the most complex forms came into existence.
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