Scopes Monkey Trial

The 1920s was a time of industrial and urban concentration and shifting moral values. People began exploring and accepting new ideas, such as the theory of evolution. Evolution contradicted the belief that God created the world in six days and made man in his own image. Instead the theory of evolution claimed that men evolved from animals of a lower order then humans and this outraged fundamentalists. In the eyes of the fundamentalists evolution was an attack against God and Christianity, which is why they "mounted an all-out campaign against Darwinism," (Oates 190).
It all began outside of Doc Robinson's drugstore in Dayton, Tennessee. On a hot May afternoon in 1925 John T. Scopes, a local high-school football coach and science teacher who was a local at the small town's gathering spot, was approached by George Rappelyea. Rappelyea, an outspoken businessman, asked Scopes if he could teach Biology without including the theory of evolution. Not really, was Scopes' response. Scopes then picked up a copy of George Hunter's Civic Biology on a nearby shelf of the drugstore. Scopes opened to a page in the book showing a chart of the evolution of man, which also explained Darwinism, and showed it to Rappelyea. When Rappelyea asked Scopes if he used this book in his class Scopes answered, yes. Scopes had broken the law, Doc Robinson said (Kraft 24-25). The law that Scopes had violated was the Butler Act, a fundamentalist law banning the teaching of evolution.
In 1924, on his forty-ninth birthday, John Washington Butler, a member of the Tennessee state legislature wrote the Butler Act. Butler wrote the anti-evolution act for he felt it was unfair that the state schools, which were funded by fundamentalist taxpayers, to teach something to the children of these taxpayers that contradicted their church's dogma. The Act's preamble began with, " 'AN ACT prohibiting the teaching of evolution theor…


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