The Scopes Monkey Trial

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Ever since science began to explain the previously unexplainable, it has caused conflicts with religion. The Scopes “Monkey” Trial of Dayton, Tennessee was one of the most talked about trials in history because it was one of the first and most publicized times that this conflict occurred. The trial showed the schism between the faithful fundamentalists and the newly formed group of evolutionists. Although the jury was reminded that they only had to decide if Scopes had broken the law, the verdict was seen as much more than that. For one of the first times in history, it seemed as if the jury had to choose either religion or evolution. For the time being, there could not be both. The Scopes “Monkey” Trial revealed the ongoing conflict with faith and science and set a precedent for decades of conflict to come.

The “Roaring Twenties” was a time period known for its innovation. Skirts got shorter, teens got bolder, and Prohibition was in full swing. These changes also gave way to a time period full of religious conflict. “In [religious] minds, Prohibition had always been about more than alcohol. It represented an effort to defend traditional American values against the growing influence of an urban, cosmopolitan culture” (Gillon 152). Charles Darwin had published his book, The Evolution of Species, in 1859 and The Descent of Man in 1871, detailing the evolution of man from ape-like creatures. When A Civic Biology, a biology textbook containing information on evolution, was published in 1914, teachers around the country began using it in their courses. By the twenties, these books had sparked all sorts of new ideas regarding the origin of man as well as opposition due to the creature from which he claimed we evolved and to the disagr...

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...: Remembering the Scopes Monkey Trial : NPR." NPR : National Public Radio : News & Analysis, World, US, Music & Arts : NPR. Web. 20 May 2010. .

France, Mary. ""A Year of Monkey War": The Anti-Evolution Campaign and the Florida Legislature." The Florida Historical Quarterly 54.2 (1975): 156-77. JSTOR. Web. 19 May 2010.

Gillon, Steven M. "Scopes: The Battle Over America's Soul." Ten Days That Unexpectedly Changed America. New York: Three Rivers, 2006. Print.

Scopes, John. "Reflections on the Scopes Trial by John Thomas Scopes." UMKC School of Law. Web. 19 May 2010. .

"The Scopes Trial: Clarence Darrow." UMKC School of Law. Web. 20 May 2010. .
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