Scopes Trial

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Coordinates: 35°29′41.74″N 85°00′45.63″W / 35.4949278°N 85.012675°W / 35.4949278; -85.012675

The Scopes Trial—formally known as The State of Tennessee v. Scopes and informally known as the Scopes Monkey Trial—was an American legal case in 1925 in which a high school biology teacher John Scopes was accused of violating the state's Butler Act that made it unlawful to teach evolution.[1]

Scopes was found guilty, but the verdict was overturned on a technicality and he was never brought back to trial. The trial drew intense national publicity, as national reporters flocked to the small town of Dayton, to cover the big-name lawyers representing each side. William Jennings Bryan, three time presidential candidate for the Democrats, argued for the prosecution, while Clarence Darrow, the famed defense attorney, spoke for Scopes. The trial saw modernists, who said religion was consistent with evolution, against fundamentalists who said the word of God as revealed in the Bible trumped all human knowledge. The trial was thus both a theological contest, and a trial on the veracity of modern science regarding the creation-evolution controversy. The teaching of science and evolution expanded, as fundamentalist efforts to use state laws to reverse the trend had failed in the court of public opinion.[2]

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