The Begining of the Most Covered Trial of 1925

By | Jul 10, 2013

It was the summer of 1925 and in Dayton, Tennessee a trial took place that helped shaped the American culture. The trial lasted 11 days and it was on July 10 of that year that the State of Tennessee began its case against school teacher John Scopes for teaching Darwin’s Theory of Evolution to his class. Many have called this the Scopes ‘Monkey Trial’.

The trial brought together two of the best legal minds of the early 20th century. William Jennings Bryan, a three time democratic candidate for President, was on the side of the State who was banishing the theory in its schools. Working for the defense of John Scopes was Clarence Darrow who was hired by the ACLU.

The trial was covered by over 100 reporters many of them the biggest reporter of their newspaper or news agency. The Chicago Tribute even installed a radio transmitter and reported directly from the trial location. It was the first nationally broadcast of a trial in the United States.

Because of the heat of the Summer, the number of people who were crowded into the courtroom, and the emotional context of the trail, the Judge moved the trail from the courthouse outside under the shade of the large willow oaks on the north side of the courthouse.

The 12 man jury, 11 of them were regular church-goers and 10 of them were middle-aged farmers, found Scopes guilty. Scopes was fined 100 dollars.

Six days after the end of the trial Williams Jennings Bryan, who was still in Dayton Tennessee, finished a meal then went to take a nap. While he slept he died, and as Darrow replied shortly afterwards, ‘His death is a great loss to the American people.’


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1 Comment so far
  1. Bookmarks about Broadcast August 13, 2008 10:30 am

    […] – bookmarked by 2 members originally found by tiqo on 2008-07-20 The Begining of the Most Covered Trial of 1925 http://6thingstoconsider.com/2008/07/10/the-begining-of-the-most-covered-trial-of-1925/ – […]

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