American Realities 8:II-8: Modernity Versus Tradition: The Scopes Trial and the American Character
Why was America so fascinated by the “Great Monkey Trial?”Its carnival atmosphere and its famed protagonists. The trial was one of those episodes in which America attempts to define itself. It dramatized several important conflicts: urban versus rural values, progress versus tradition, and modernism versus fundamentalism.
Give some examples of material progress between 1900 and 1925.Families replaced their horse and buggy with an automobile. Electric power was available throughout the nation. People could hear music and news on radios in their own homes. New buildings called skyscrapers had changed the profiles of big cities. Airplanes carried people into the hitherto impregnable skies.
Who organization, who claimed to protect white Anglo-Saxon Protestant America from threats to traditional morality, met in white robes and hoods, burned crosses, beat up gamblers and prostitutes, and lynched blacks?Ku Klux Klan (KKK)
What did the fundamentalist movement and the KKK have in common?Both emphasized Scripture, the American heritage, rural life, and the common man, while fearing intellectuals and change.
Why was the truth of Scripture so important to Fundamentalism?These beliefs, such as the biblical view of Creation, the Virgin Birth, and the Resurrection were the underpinning of personal morality. If people doubted the sacredness of their history, they would behave like beasts. They identified the Darwinian theory of evolution as their foremost enemy.
How did Charles Darwin explain human life in his book On the Origin of Species?That human life had evolved over millions of years from more primitive forms of life. His theory did not necessarily undermine the belief in God, because evolution could be seen as Gods way of peopling the earth.
Christians who accepted evolutionary theory were called…?modernists
How did Tennessee join the anti-evolution crusade in 1925?John Washington Butler, a Macon County farmer, introduced a bill in the state house of representatives making it illegal in a state-supported school to “teach any theory that denies the story of divine creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.” No significant opposition confronted the measure and the Butler Act was passed.
What organization announced that it would provide legal and financial assistance to any teacher who wanted to test the Butler Act?American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
How did John Thomas Scopes become the teacher to challenge the law?Two local attorneys who supported the law and a mining engineer who opposed it discussed evolution while relaxing at the soda fountain in Robinsons drugstore. The men suggested that Dayton stage a test case. The men liked the idea putting Dayton on the map. Any biology teacher in Tennessee could be a defendant, for the state-required biology textbook included material on evolution. The men decided to ask Scopes. He was an intelligent, modest, and popular young man, known to the townspeople as “Professor.”
A leading spokesman for the fundamentalist movement, who was the obvious choice to lead the prosecution?William Jennings Bryan was a logical choice.
What office in President Wilsons administration did Bryan step down from and why?Secretary of State, Bryan threw all his influence behind neutrality and objected to any act that might draw the United States into WWI. When Woodrow Wilson insisted on sending two harsh notes to Germany after its submarine sank the British ocean liner Lusitania, Bryan resigned rather than sign the second one.
How did Bryan justify the restrictions on intellectual freedom?The individual, he said, will remain free to study evolution, but only as a private citizen. In the schoolroom one must accept the limitations set by school board and legislature. Quite simply the people, who pay the taxes that support the schools, have a right to determine what is taught. It is a simple matter of majority rule.
Who volunteered to defend Scopes, throughout his legal career he had defended the underdog and thought of himself as a representative of the people against all forms of oppression?Clarence Darrow
What are some examples of how Dayton had remained a small town?It was a hub of an agricultural county whose chief products were peaches, tomatoes, and strawberries. It was a stable, conservative community where, as in most small towns, blacks “knew their place” and women were excluded from public affairs. The town had no saloons, gambling, or whiskey.
In defending Scopes, Darrow had the assistance of __________________, a fashionable divorce lawyer; _________________, perhaps the brightest attorney at the trial; and _______________, a law school dean and proponent of academic freedom.Dudley Field Malone, Arthur Garfield Hayes, John Randolph Neal
Bryan would work with a battery of local attorneys including __________________, who had initially invited him to Dayton; and his son ____________________, a thirty-six-year-old Los Angeles attorney.Sue Hicks, William Jennings Bryan Jr.
How did Darrow surprise the court on opening day of the trial?He moved for the indictment be quashed declaring the evolution law was a “foolish, mischievous, and wicked act, as brazen and bold an attempt to destroy liberty as was ever seen in the Middle Ages.” He objected to the customary prayer that opened the day. In forty years of practice he had never seen such a ceremony.
What biblical hero did Bryan use when complaining that George Hunters Civil Biology puts man as an indistinguishable mammal?Daniel in the lions den
According to Bryan without the divine creation, the essential link between God and man, there could be no ___________________.moral standards
Who said, “We are ready. “We feel we stand with progress. We feel we stand with science. We feel we stand with intelligence. We feel we stand with fundamental freedom in America. We are not afraid. Where is the fear? We meet it! Where is the fear? We defy it! “Dudley Field Malone
When Judge Raulston ruled that the testimony of expert witnesses could “shed no light” on the questions before the jury and should therefore be excluded, who did the defense put on the stand?Bryan
Why is this phrase so important to the Scopes Trail: “No, sir; I am not afraid now that you will show me any—I have all the information I want to live by and to die by.”No phrase in Bryans testimony more aptly summarized his view of science and religion. Darrow had proved that even Bryan could not defend a consistently literal interpretation of Genesis. Bryan had seemed a fumbling and ignorant defender of an embattled creed. He knew nothing about the scientific theories that he so glibly rejected, and even his support for the Bible was full of inconsistencies.
What was the verdict and what happened to Scopes?In eight minutes John Thomas Scopes was found guilty. He lost his job and had to pay a $100 fine for disobeying the law, but a committee was formed to raise money to send him to the University of Chicago. There he would study geology and embark on a new profession.
Who narrated a full-length film on the subject of evolution, entitled The Mystery of Life?Darrow
Give some examples of how Bryan and Darrow were alike?Each saw himself as a defender of the oppressed. Each represented a major cultural force in the 1920s. At Dayton each presented a program for American development. But where Bryan identified truth with tradition, the Bible, and rural America, Darrow embraced a creed of intellectual and social emancipation.