The Monkey Trial

Have you ever heard of the “Monkey Trial”? In 1925 in the state of Tennessee the Butler Law was passed forbidding the teaching of Darwin’s theory of evolution in any public school or university. As ushistory.org continues, it states that, “in the spring of 1925, John T. Scopes walked into his classroom and read, from Dayton’s Tennessee-approved textbook Hunter’s Civic Biology, part of a chapter on the evolution of humankind and Darwin’s theory of natural selection. His arrest soon followed”.

History.com states that, “ the law, which had been passed in March, made it a misdemeanor punishable by fine 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’. Scopes enlisted the aid of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to organize a defense”. While Scopes was found guilty, and ordered to pay the minimum $100 fine (as History.com continues to describe), he called the Defense attorney to the stand, and humiliated him. Five days after the verdict, the defense attorney laid down for a nap, and never woke up.

Two years after the trial, “the Tennessee Supreme Court overturned the Monkey Trial verdict on a technicality, but left the constitutional issues unresolved until 1968, when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a similar Arkansas law on the grounds that it violated the First Amendment”.

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