July 21 1925: Today marked the end of the Scopes “Monkey Trial” which helped pave the way for the teaching of evolution in American schools. John Thomas Scopes was a young high school teacher put on trial for teaching evolution in Tennessee. Provoking a trial in order to get the law banning the teaching of evolution overturned, he was aided by the ACLU. The trial lasted 11 days and although the judge ruled against their attempt to prove the law was unconstitutional, Scopes and the defense won over the crowds that had gathered during a blistering defense attack on William Jennings Bryan (a three-time presidential candidate) whose literal interpretation of the Bible was ridiculed when Bryan was forced to make contradictory and ignorant statements much to the amusement of the crowd.

In the end, Scopes was found guilty and fined $100 allowing the verdict to be appealed. Two years later the Tennessee Supreme Court overturned the verdict, but it would not be for another 40 years before the US Supreme Court ruled in favour of the constitutionality of the teaching of evolution.

Advertisements