On July 10, 1925, the trial of John Scopes began in Dayton, Tennessee. Scopes was a substitute teacher who included information about evolution and natural selection in his high-school biology class. At the time, teaching evolution was against the law in Tennessee, because it challenged the Biblical story of creation.The Scopes trial featured the two most well-known attorneys in the United States. Former Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan prosecuted the case, while legendary lawyer Clarence Darrow and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) represented Scopes.Bryan and his supporters simply rejected the science of evolution, and especially the common misunderstanding that human beings evolved from monkeys—“not even from American monkeys, but from Old World Monkeys,” said Bryan. The trial was quickly nicknamed the “Scopes Monkey Trial.”Both sides had carefully prepared for the trial. Tennessee had only recently passed the law forbidding the teaching of any challenge to the Bible. In fact, the textbooks the state required teachers to use still explained and endorsed the science of evolution. By using the textbook, defense lawyers pointed out that the state was requiring teachers to break the law. Bryan responded by saying that teachers could use other materials, and if Scopes had taught what was in the textbook, he was breaking the law.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry appeal Noun
review of a legal decision by a higher court.
holy book of the Christian religion.
study of living things.
person who believes the theory that all things were created as they now exist, by an omnipotent creator, and did not evolve or change over time.
change in heritable traits of a population over time.
to develop new characteristics based on adaptation and natural selection.
to disallow or prohibit.
famous, heroic, or celebrated.
natural selection Noun
process by which organisms that are better -adapted to their environments produce more offspring to transmit their genetic characteristics.
to accuse and carry out legal action against a person or organization.
available to an entire community, not limited to paying members.
to refuse or throw away.
to stand for a person, community, or idea.
petty, formal issue arising from the strict interpretation of a rule.
judgement of a person or organization's responsibility for a crime or misdemeanor.