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Paper Topic:

THE SCOPES TRIAL AND ITS EFFECTS ON 20TH CENTURY AMERICA

Introduction

The purpose of this essay is to prove that the Scopes trial in the late 1920`s , like the stock market crash in 1929 , changed the landscape of America , with its impact still being felt to this day . America to this point had been guided by traditional religious precepts rather than high minded academic thought , Victorian traditions rather than rational intellect . But Victorian life in America was changing , agriculture gave way to manufacturing , electricity became the nation 's new firelight , and automobiles , radios , and jazz all helped usher in a time of

reason over religion , entertainment over a moral conscience . The Scopes trial was a clap in the night , awakening religious controversy among not just a certain class of intellectuals , but of common men and women some of whom experienced a kind of intellectual awakening , though some still dared not wake in this new world without a heaven . And unlike the initial reactions of Darwin publishing Origin of Species , which was not enormously controversial at the time of its publication among mainstream America , the Scopes trial sparked an evolution of its own that 's still at work today . The provides a brief historiographic account of the Scopes trial altogether with the outline of the litigation argument , and analyzes a briefcase of original public reactions to the event under research . Concluding section summarizes the effects of the Scopes trial in regard to the American minds

Context

In 1925 , John Thomas Scopes , a high school science teacher and athletic coach at Rhea Central High School of Dayton , Tennessee , was charged for teaching Darwinian theories of evolution to a public school biology class . The context of the trial , which was nicknamed as the Monkey Trial ' was formed by several factors , including the reaction of the American society to the Darwinian theories , the general cultural background , and the prohibition legislation in regard to public education . By the 1920s , the American society had been acquainted with the Darwinian evolutionary theories through the news accounts of the Piltdown fossil skull discovery and examination (Dawson /Woodward in 1909-1912 . Larson (1997 ) observed the Americans began to take notice ' having been impressed by an increasingly persuasive body of evidence ' from the Darwinian camp . However , the standard biology textbooks - for example , George William Hunter 's A Civic Biology , the one that John T . Scopes used - had never changed since 1909 . Hunter 's course book provided only rudimentary s ' of Darwinism . By the time of the Scopes trial in 1925 , John Washington Butler , the member of the Tennessee House of Representatives and the head of a legislative committee on the public school system , had lobbied a bill , later known as the Butler Act , or the Monkey Law (passed the Senate on March 13 1925 , and was signed into law by Governor Austin Peay on March 21 1925 . The adoption of that anti-evolution statute put Tennessee in a row with Oklahoma and Florida . The Tennessee Butler Act classified every attempt to teach any law that denies the story of the Divine...

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