John Scopes Trial Essay

The play openly mocks theism, religion, the South, William Jennings Bryan, and even religious pluralism.Inherit the Wind is still being used in history, science and English classrooms all across America (and probably in some other Western nations as well).Some of the participants—the ones the historians have tended to favor—understood the events in this way, but the Scopes Trial touched so many conflicting currents in American culture as to leave any serious observer confused.

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Two trends merged in the 1920s to help create the conditions for the event.

One was that, after the scientific community had wrangled over competing views of the theory of evolution for more than half a century, the theory was now widely accepted and had become a standard part of high school biology textbooks.

This confrontation took place in a courtroom in Dayton, Tennessee, a small town in the eastern part of the state, where a young schoolteacher, John T. The trial attracted several thousand spectators and hundreds of newsmen, representing the most prestigious papers and journals in the nation.

The radio broadcast by WGN of Chicago marked the first time a trial was ever broadcast live.

Thoughtful critics of the federal invasion of our liberties draw from rich intellectual, political, and constitutional arguments.

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But few think as deeply about the cultural conditions of a free and self-reliant people.Many young people's prejudice against Christianity is being fueled and justified by this work of fiction.For decades, defenders of liberty and self-rule have been fighting what seems like a continuous battle about the power, reach, and accountability of the federal government.Movie cameras captured moments of the event, the film rushed to the big cities to show the progress of the trial in newsreels that played before the main feature.Millions of Americans (and a great many foreigners) followed closely the events in Dayton as though the misdemeanor trial was the “trial of the century”—which it was dubbed even before it began.The entrance of these two grizzled and famous liberals made the trial a sensation.Bryan, the devout Presbyterian, former Nebraska congressman, and former Secretary of State to Woodrow Wilson, was the most leftwing presidential candidate that any major political party had nominated up to this point.The wearing away of American self-rule has been subtle.Knowing more about the ways that localism and Tocqueville’s vaunted “township freedom” have made possible the American regime of liberty will help us understand the cultural sources of our habit of freedom.But did you know there is a connection between these events and the 1925 Scopes trial?The Scopes trial's significance is that it fueled the public debate over creation and evolution that has continued into the 21st century.


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