APUSH FA9: Scope Trials

APUSH FA9: Scope Trials

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  • A Tennessee farmer named John W. Butler pushed for anti-evolution legislation. In response, the Butler Act was passed by Austin Peay. The Butler Act prohibited the teaching of evolution in state-funded schools.
  • Bible
  • The American Civil Liberties Union disputed the act on the basis of the teacher's individual liberties. The ACLU found a substitute teacher named John Scopes who agreed to be tried for violating the act.
  • William Jennings Bryan was the prosecutor, Clarence Darrow was the defense attorney, and John T. Raulston was the judge. The trial was greatly publicized and soon became a theological debate.
  • VS.
  • Bible
  • Darrow made snide remarks towards the Judge since Raulston was biased towards the prosecution. Taking the focus off of individual liberties, Darrow attacked the literal interpretation of the Bible. He even called Bryan to the stand as a witness for the Bible.
  • Eventually, John Scopes was found guilty and fined by the Judge for $100. Under Tennessee Law it was illegal for a judge to fine over $50, therefore the final verdict was later revoked.
  • The Scopes Trial highlighted the controversy between religion and science. The trial also led to an anti-evolution movement. Only until after the movement died out did biology textbooks begin to include evolutionary theories once more.
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