Scopes Trial

Scopes Trial

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The roaring 20's, a definitive time for change in the world. An introducing to new technologies and philosophies is sweeping the country and with it a change that is met with opposition. A notable event that affects everyone, is the infamous “Monkey Trials.” The lasting effect of a mockingly laughable monkey trial, was felt in many areas of everybody’s lives. Specifically the impact felt was seen through media, changes in personal intellect and the transition from traditional to modern values.

     “Not only was the trial heavily covered; it changed its nature to accommodate the coverage.” This case drastically altered the scale and the hype of any media until that time. The presiding judge, allowed radio lines into the courtroom, paused proceedings to allow photographers time to snap a shot, and even moved the entire trial outside to allow every person a chance to view it. The fact that this “media event” was probably the most heavily covered hype of it’s time, but that the hype became more important than the trial itself. “The real trial, it was agreed, was taking place in the newspapers. The things the jury never got exposed to got the heaviest emphasis around the nation.” Newspapers and magazines carried innumerable articles and cartoons on the case, and telegraph operators wired stories to Europe and Australia. For the first time news of an American trial was nationally broadcast by radio, while thousands of people came to Dayton itself to take in what became a virtual carnival, complete with sideshows.

     “Modern life had become too complex for ordinary householders to get along with the help of experts.” During the trial, Clarence Darrow saw his defense as a “vehicle for affecting the public,” one that which had little opportunity of winning, but in due course tooks it’s affect among those who heard his argument. Mr. Darrow, in a risky move, brought in outside experts to testify which, “was not only an affront to local pride but a relatively risky new procedure in law.” The times changing, with technology and scientology among other things, saw the need for the everyday person to have his/her life explained to them by an expert. The case changed a lot of the purpose of a normal person being able to consider complex thoughts and discriminate logical possibilities without a broken down explanation.

     “Consequently, the primary importance of family, home, church, and local community began to recede in national life.

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