Dayton, Tennessee (July 10-17, 1925) January, 1925: Tennessee House of Representatives passes the Butler Bill making it unlawful for state-supported schools “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 any lower order of animals.”
February-March, 1925: Tennessee Senate approves the bill; Governor Austin Peay signs the bill into law (i.e., the Butler Act) on March 23.
May, 1925: John Thomas Scopes, a young high school science teacher & coach in Dayton, TN, agrees to test the constitutionality of the law. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in New York City has been soliciting for volunteers for a test case.
July, 1925: The trial begins. On the seventh day, Clarence Darrow examines William Jennings Bryan on witness stand about biblical matters. After nine minutes of deliberation, Scopes is found guilty by the jury and fined $100 by the judge. Defense attorneys want the conviction to test constitutionality of the law.
January, 1927: Tennessee Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of Butler Act, but overturns Scopes’ conviction on a technicality— thus preventing further appeals by the defense attorneys.