The Scopes Trial



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The Scopes Trial
In March, 1925, the state of Tennessee passed a law banning the teaching of evolution in its public schools. John T. Scopes, a high school biology teacher, decided to purposely break this law in order to test it in court. He presented the theory of evolution to his students. He was promptly arrested.
The Scopes trial, nicknamed the “monkey trial”, began in July, 1925. The small courtroom in Dayton, Tennessee was packed with reporters and tourists who had come to see the famous lawyers. Clarence Darrow, the nation’s top criminal defense attorney, defended Scopes. The state of Tennessee was represented by William Jennings Bryan, a minister and three time presidential candidate. The trial was broadcast over WGN radio in Chicago, Illinois. It marked the first time a radio broadcast was made from a remote location.


Arguments that Scopes is guilty and evolution should be banned in Tennessee Schools

Arguments that Scopes is not guilty and evolution should be taught in Tennessee schools

1. Scopes willfully broke the law by teaching evolution. The majority of the people in Tennessee don’t want their children to be taught this theory.

1. The Tennessee state constitution states that science is to be “cherished” or highly respected. Therefore, a teacher has the right to teach evolution since it is a scientific theory. The law against teaching evolution is unconstitutional.

2. Tennessee is legally responsible for education in its public schools. The State has the right to decide what is taught – and what is NOT taught – in its schools.

2. Students have the right to learn all scientific theories. This right is protected in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

3. The Bible doesn’t mention evolution. It explains the creation of the world quite differently. It states that God created the world in 7 days with man as His supreme creation. We accept that explanation as fact.

3. The Bible is NOT a scientific textbook. It is a Book on religion and morals. Therefore, a person should not look to the Bible for scientific information.

4. If you reject the Bible’s view of the creation, then you also reject its standards of right and wrong. Society will suffer as a result.

4. The Bible and evolution can both be believed. Religion and science are separate.




Based on the facts and arguments presented in the case, I believe that John T. Scopes is:

____ guilty _____ not guilty



Also based on the facts and arguments presented in the case, I believe that in the state of Tennessee the theory evolution should:
____ be taught _____not be taught


The reasons for my decision in this case are:

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