Scopes Monkey Trial

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The decade of the 1920's brought about many changes in the way Americans thought

and lived. People were relieved the World War ended. New inventions were being

introduced to the public. Relaxed morals left behind the prim attitudes of earlier times.

But some things could not be easily changed. Science could not change religious beliefs.

It was in the early 1920's that they met head on. The 'war' between evolution and

religion was brought before the people.

Evolution is the study of how things are formed. It traces the life on earth through

millions of years. Charles Darwin, an English Naturalist, published The Origin of

Species in 1859. It explained his theory of evolution. Darwin's theory was based in the

premise that humans evolved from the earliest primates. American Christians were

appalled by this book.1 They believed in the exact word of the bible. 'The world was

created in six days and Adam and Eve were part.'

2 Not one United States citizen could

except both Darwin's theory and the Biblical version in Genesis. The distinct controversy

over Darwinism began.

Evolution had taken another step in the nation. In 1924, a biology textbook was

banned because it printed a picture of a monkey and a man on the same page. The

governor of North Carolina did not want his children to be taught things that he believed

were not true.3 In 1925, Tennessee was the first state to pass an anti-evolution law.

Others followed in the states footsteps.4 Some people viewed the law as a 'freak law',

with no importance at all, but others with a strong Christian belief highly praised the

law. The Butler law, as it was called, stated:

That is shall be unlawful for any teacher in any of the Universities, normals

and all other public schools...