The Scopes Monkey Trial

2:   Inherit the Wind - It Wasn't

On this page:

A Legal Opinion

Another Time - Another Place

Word for Word?

A Quote is a Quote is a Quote - Or Is It?

Have You Read ...?

A Word from the Authors

Compare the Play, the Movie and the Scopes Trial

He Who Stirreth Up Trouble...

Darwin?  Darwin Who?

Did You Know...?

For play script, movie script and court transcript click here








Myth:  The play/film Inherit the Wind presents a realistic, albeit abridged, account of the "Scopes Monkey Trial"of 1925

Script and Transcript

Much of the misunderstanding and misinformation surrounding the trial of John T. Scopes is undoubtedly due to a fifty-year old stage play, and perhaps even more importantly, the film and the made-for-TV movies it has spawned.

I'm referring, of course, to the play, film and two made-for-TV movies which share the title: Inherit the Wind - and the widespread belief that the events depicted in Inherit the Wind (the play and the films) are in some way an accurate depiction of the events which occurred in Dayton, Tennessee in July, 1925.

In fact, whilst the play/movies use the Scopes "monkey" trial as a starting point, for all practical purposes there is no substantive similarity between the play/film scripts and the historical events.  Which makes it a sad reflection on standards in education that either the play or, more especially, the film version of Inherit the Wind are still considered to be valid tools for teaching students about the series of historical events known as the Scopes "Monkey" Trial.
For example, I have statement from Professor Gary Nash (a full professor of History at UCLA since 1974, and Director of the National Center for History in the Schools since 1994) which states:

In the first edition of the Natl Hist Stds, viewing Inherit the Wind was one of the classroom activities supporting an understanding of the Scopes trial.  Not in the stds themselves.
(E-mail communication, 25 July, 2005)

That a play/film. authored at least 25 years after the event (35 years in the case of the original film) as a protest against McCarthyism, which clearly deviates from the historical facts in almost every scene and whose two central figures bear only a passing resemblance to the real life participants William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow, has been promoted - by academics and others - as useful tool for "supporting an understanding of the Scopes trial" simply beggars belief.

Notes:   For a detailed comparison of the play, the film (1960) and the real life trial see Part 16.

A Legal Opinion

As reported on the website of the UMKC (University of Missouri, Kansas City) School of Law:

"Playwrights Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee wrote Inherit the Wind as a response to the threat to intellectual freedom presented by the anti-communist hysteria of the McCarthy era.  Lawrence and Lee used the Scopes Trial, then safely a generation in the past, as a vehicle for exploring a climate of anxiety and anti-intellectualism that existed in 1950.

    "Inherit the Wind does not purport to be a historically accurate depiction of the Scopes trial.  The stage directions set the time as 'Not long ago.'  Place names and names of trial participants have been changed.  Lawrence and Lee created several fictional characters, including a fundamentalist preacher and his daughter, who in the play is the fiancé of John Scopes.  Henry Drummond is less cynical and biting than the Darrow of Dayton that the Drummond character was based upon.  Scopes, a relatively minor figure in the real drama at Dayton, becomes Bertram Cates, a central figure in the play, who is arrested while teaching class, thrown in jail, burned in effigy, and taunted by a fire-snorting preacher.  William Jennings Bryan, Matthew Harrison Brady in the play, is portrayed as an almost comical fanatic who dramatically dies of a heart attack while attempting to deliver his summation in a chaotic courtroom.  The townspeople of fictional Hillsboro are far more frenzied, mean-spirited, and ignorant than were the real denizens of Dayton.

    "Nonetheless, Lawrence and Lee did draw heavily from the Scopes trial.  A powerful condemnation of anti-intellectualism, an exchange between Darrow and Judge Raulston that earned Darrow a contempt citation, and portions of the Darrow examination of Bryan are lifted nearly verbatim from the actual trial transcript."

    Nathan Douglas and Harold Smith wrote the play into a screen script in 1960.  The Douglas and Smith screenplay differs from the stage version in several respects, most notably perhaps in its downplaying of some academic and theological points, and its playing up of the trial's circus atmosphere.

  A made-for-TV rewrite of the 1960 Stanley Kramer movie ran on NBC in 1988. ... The TV rewrite departed in only minor respects from the plot of the earlier Hollywood version.".

Another Time - Another Place

What most definitely did NOT come from the Scopes trial was the anti-climactic closing moments of Act 2, Scene 1 of the play where Matthew Harrison Brady apoplectically punchs the air and rants and raves whilst even his closest supporters turn away in embarrassment.  In real life, there were no such theatrics from anyone involved in the trial of John Scopes.

AND YET, the scene does stick very closely to a genuine historical event that occurred nearly 30 years after the Scopes trial.  For it was Senator Joseph McCarthy who, on the 17th of June, 1954, stood in the committee room of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations when the hearings were brought to a premature end.  And it was Senator Joseph McCarthy who yelled impotent threats and accusations, though no one was listening any more - "shouting to be heard above the din of the departing senators and spectators," as one commentator put it.
It was a scene that many American movie goers in 1960 would still remember seeing on their televisions just a few years earlier.  (An estimated 20 million viewers watched the 'Army-McCarthy Hearings' on TV between March and June, 1954.)
Indeed, when we understand what the play is really about, the title suddenly makes a whole lot more sense, for it is taken from the book of Proverbs 11:29, and describes the fate that follows a certain type of behaviour:

"He that troubleth his own house [in this case a US politician stirring up trouble in the US government and across the country] shall inherit the wind"
(Material in square brackets added for clarification.)
(Note:  Although the original version of the play was written in 1950, its Broadway opening didn't happen until January 10th, 1955, just 7 days after the 84th Congress was inaugurated, and McCarthy's committee was finally "laid to rest".)

Playwrights Lawrence and Lee put their debt to the real-life trial in a somewhat different perspective.  In the Preface to the published version of the play script they wrote:

"Inherit the Wind is not history. . . . Only a handful of phrases have been taken from the actual transcript of the famous Scopes Trial.  Some of the characters of the play are related to the colorful figures in that battle of giants; but they have life and language of their own - and, therefore, names of their own. . . . Inherit the Wind does not pretend to be journalism.  It is theatre."

And presumably they should know.  (Further setails of Lawrence and Lee's views on the play can be found in the next section on this page.)


Word for Word?

In order to test the competing claims I compared a section of the stage play script with a section of the court transcript, in each case starting at the point where Bryan/Brady is called as a witness and ending where the judge adjourns for the day.  I deleted anything in the play script that wasn't in the court record (with the exception of the names).
Although several commentators have suggested that this is the part of the play that sticks most closesly to the actual events (see Linder's comments, above, for example), having started with 3,859 words in the play script (including character names and stage directions), I ended up with just under 400 words that tallied with the court record.  And even then, in most cases I had to settle for close approximations.

By way of qualification, it must be said that a number of references are made to topics which came up at one time or another during the real life trial.  But they are not "lifted verbatim"(i.e. they aren't copied "word-for-word"), or anything like verbatim, thus justifying Lee and Lawrence's claim that they had borrowed very little material straight from the transcript.
Indeed, careful examination of Edward Larson's book, Summer for the Gods, demonstrates that the confrontation between Drummond and Brady is based as much as anything on F.L. Allen's fairly brief, and essentially fictionalised, account of America in the 1920s - Only Yesterday.

It was Allen who first invented the idea that the confrontation between Darrow and Bryan marked the end of Fundamentalism in America (see Part 13: What Americans Believe Now for some recent statisatics on this point.).
It was Allen who re-wrote the trial transcript so that Bryan claimed that the world was created in 4004 B.C.and that The Flood occurred in 2348 B.C., even though the trial transcript shows that Bryan actually pointed out that both dates were "the calculations of men" which he did not think were accurate.
And it was Allen who invented the myth that Bryan was called as a witness as a "spur of the moment" decision.

In short, Allen looks like a far more credible "parent" to Inherit the Wind than does the trial itself, as can be seen if we review the different versions of how Bryan came to be called as a witness, for example.

At the trial in Dayton the defense team decided to call Bryan as a witness at least two or three days before the actual event, and Darrow spent several hours during that weekend (July 18th-July 19th) rehearsing what he would say during his examination of Bryan with the help of Harvard Professor of Geology, Kirtley Mather, standing in for Bryan.  Compare this with F.L. Allen's account:

"The climax ... came on the afternoon of July 20th, when on the spur of the moment Hays asked that the defense be permitted to put Bryan on the stand ..."
(Only Yesterday, Harper & Row Perennial Library edition, p.170.  Italics added for emphasis)

and the relevant section of the play script of Inherit the Wind when the judge tells Drummond he may not present any expert testimony on Darwin's books Origin of Species and The Descent of Man:

"(Drummond is flabbergasted.  He strides angrily to his table and starts to pack his briefcase.  As he crosses, spectators whisper excitedly at the turn of events.  Drummond suddenly stops packing.)
DRUMMOND. (There's the glint of an idea in his eye.)  Would the court accept expert testimony regarding a book known as the Holy Bible?
JUDGE.   (Hesitates, turns to Brady.)  Any objection, Colonel Brady?
BRADY,   If the counsel can advance the case of the defendent through the use of the Holy Scripture, the prosecution will take no exception!
DRUMMOND.   Good!  (With relish.)  I call to the stand one of the world's foremost experts on the Bible and its teachings - (Brady and all turn, trying to see who Drummond's "surprise witness" may be.)  Matthew Harrison Brady!  (There is uproar in the courtroom.  The Judge raps for order.  Brady is stunned.)
(Act 2, Scene 1.  Italics as in the original).

In the 1960 film, Drummond gets his idea in his hotel room whilst talking to Hornbeck, the day before he calls Brady to be a witness.

And here's what happened at the Scopes trial:

Firstly, the idea to call Bryan as a witness goes back at least two days (to the previous Saturday) and may even have been devised by Darrow when he decided to offer his services to the Defense team.  Either way, we know that Darrow role played his interrogation of Bryan over the week-end, with Kirtley Mather playing the part of Bryan.
On the Monday, after the reading of the "expert" testimony, what became known as the Duel in the Shade began like this:

Hays: The defense desires to call Mr. Bryan as a witness, and, of course, the only question here is whether Mr. Scopes taught what these children said he taught, we recognize what Mr. Bryan says as a witness would not be very valuable.  We think there are other questions involved, and we should want to take Mr. Bryan's testimony for the purposes of our record, even if Your Honor thinks it is not admissible in general, so we wish to call him now.
[Notice the complete absence of any mention of any reaction from the spectators, even though items such as laughter, applause, etc. are mentioned numerous times throughout the transcript.  No doubt there was widespread surprise at Hays' request, but if no "uproar" or gavel rapping is mentioned it's a pretty safe bet that they didn't happen.]
The Court:
(Judge Raulston)
Do you think you have a right to his testimony or evidence like you did these others?
B. G. McKenzie: I don't think it is necessary to call him, calling a lawyer who represents a client.
The Court: If you ask him about any confidential matter, I will protect him, of course.
Mr. Darrow: I do not intend to do that.
The Court: On scientific matters, Col. Bryan can speak for himself.
Mr. Bryan: If Your Honor please, I insist that Mr. Darrow can be put on the stand, and Mr. Malone and Mr. Hays.
The Court: Call anybody you desire.  Ask them any questions you wish.
Mr. Bryan: Then, we will call all three of them.
Mr. Darrow: Not at once?
Mr. Bryan: Where do you want me to sit?
The Court: Mr. Bryan, you are not objecting to going on the stand?
Mr. Bryan: Not at all.

Apart from the basic fact that the defense called a prosecution team lawyer as a witness there is clearly little or no similarity between the three accounts.  And why would there be?  If the play had featured many verbatim quotes it would have been both long and tedious.  The claim by Lawrence and Lee that they borrowed very little from the trial transcript seems to be both upheld and explained.

A Quote is a Quote is a Quote - Or Is It?

One other thing to remember about the use of quotes is that even if the words quoted are correct, editing (selective deleting), or just removing the words from their original context, can change the apparent meaning of a quote.  Elsewhere on this site you will find two clear examples of how to highly respected academics have independently created highly selective versions of parts of the exchange between Darrow and Bryan, on the afternoon of July 20th, so as to make it look as though Bryan was overwhelmed by a hail of questions from Darrow, when in reality Darrow's questions were for the most part nonsensical, repetitive and based on ignorance.

As a simple example of what can happen when writers start editing the text they are quoting, here's a snippet from the dialogue quoted in the previous section, with two lines missing.  Just see what a difference it makes:

Hays: The defense desires to call Mr. Bryan as a witness, and, of course, the only question here is whether Mr. Scopes taught what these children said he taught, we recognize what Mr. Bryan says as a witness would not be very valuable.  We think there are other questions involved, and we should want to take Mr. Bryan's testimony for the purposes of our record, even if Your Honor thinks it is not admissible in general, so we wish to call him now.
The Court:
(Judge Raulston)
Do you think you have a right to his testimony or evidence like you did these others?
Mr. Darrow: I do not intend to do that.

By excluding these two lines:
B. G. McKenzie: I don't think it is necessary to call him, calling a lawyer who represents a client.
The Court: If you ask him about any confidential matter, I will protect him, of course.

we make Darrow say that he won't treat Bryan as he has treated other witnesses, where he actually said that he wouldn't ask Bryan about any "confidential" matters.
But unless a reader has a copy of the original transcript on hand, how are they to know what we've done?

So even where Lawrence and Lee (who wrote the play), or Douglas and Smith (who wrote the original film script) have genuinely quoted from the court transcript, this does not automatically mean that they are giving an accurate account of what happened during the Scopes Trial in 1925.

Have You Read ...?

Another ironic, and decisive blow to the idea that Inherit the Wind is a dramatization of the Scopes trial focuses around Charles Darwin's book The Origin of Species.
In the play the following exchange takes place early on in the confrontation between Drummond and Brady, and is clearly designed to have a pivotal effect on how the audience will view the rest of the interaction:

Drummond: (Brandishing a bright orange book)   I don't suppose you've memorized many passages from The Origin of Species?
Brady: I am not the least interested in the pagan hypotheses of that book.
Darrow: Never read it?
Brady: And I never will.
Drummond: Then how in perdition do you have the gall to whoop up this holy war against something you don't know anything about?  How can you be so cocksure that the body of scientific knowledge systematized in the writings of Charles Darwin is, in any way, irreconcilable with the spirit of the Book of Genesis?

BUT consider this: 
In real life it was William Jennings Bryan who had read The Origin of Species, and also Darwin's The Descent of Man, and was able to quote from the latter to show that Darwin had indeed believed that men were descended from "old world" monkeys.

In real life it was Clarence Darrow who was ill-informed on Darwin's ideas.  He had tried to read The Origin of Species, but was unable to get beyond page 50 because he found it such hard going!
The real question, then, was how could Darrow claim that Darwin's theory of evolution didn't clash with the Genesis account when he wasn't able to read through the whole of Darwin's seminal work?

It is true (in my opinion) that Darwin's book really isn't the sort of thing you'd read for fun, but to call other people "ignoramuses" when you haven't been able to get through more than 50 pages of The Origin of Species does seem to be slightly lacking in honest self-perception.

A Word from the Authors

But we don't have to rely simply on a belated interpretation of the play script in order to conclude that it was really about McCarthyism.  The following quote comes from a Science Friday program broadcast over National Public Radio on July 21st, 2000.  Professor Edward Larson, author of Summer for the Gods, was being interviewed by Ira Flatow regarding his book and its subject - the Scopes Trial:

Flatow: So you think people have gotten the wrong impression about [the Scopes] trial from that movie [Inherit the Wind]?
Larson: Well, they get a different impression from the movie.  I had the good fortune to be able to meet and work with both Jerome Lawrence and Bob Lee, the writers of the play, in preparing my book.  And as they were always very candid from the beginning, they weren't writing a play about the Scopes Trial; they were writing a play about McCarthyism.  They were writing during the period of the blacklisting of authors and playwrights; indeed, actually, some blacklisted playwrights helped in writing it.  And they were just projecting back ... to another event, and then making a play about, trying to expose, really, how awful McCarthyism was.  And so it's a wonderful play, but it tells you about the '50s not the '20s.

In fact, one of the two scriptwriters listed in the credits of the 1960 film - Nathan E. Douglas - was actually Nedrick Young, a "blacklisted" victim of McCarthy's attack on Hollywood as an alleged hotbed of communists and "fellow travellers" (Communist sympathizers).

You may feel it's worth passing that information on next time you hear or see someone claiming that the play is an accurate depiction of the real life event.

He Who Stirreth Up Trouble...

In the context of the play, it would have made no sense whatever to present things as they really were on this point.  The whole essence of the scene, and of the whole play, as I understand it, was to show how McCarthyism was about stirring up tension, distrust, even downright hatred, by making irrational appeals to people's deepest fears.  It is a common enough ploy, and greatly favoured by wannabe leaders who don't know a better way of drumming up support.  It is interesting to note how often, in the 20th century, the old Biblical warning came true (Stalin (Russia), Hitler (Germany), Pol Pot (Cambodia), etc., etc. - right up to the present day (2009)):

"He who stirreth up trouble in his own house shall inherit the wind"
Proverbs 11:29

But why choose that particular phrase to use as the title for the play?  Here, too, I believe, we get a clue as to the authors' true purpose in writing the play.  In the first instance because it is actually used by Brady as a gentle warning to the Reverend Jeremiah Brown who is the real "rabble-rouser" in both the play and the film.  It is Brown, not Brady, who really symbolizes the worst characteristics of the McCarthyite "witch hunters," especially during the torch-lit prayer meeting in Act 1, Scene 3:

BROWN. (Deliberately shattering the rhythm to go into a frenzied prayer, hands clasped together and lifted heavenward.)
O Lord of the Tempest and of the Thunder!  O Lord of Righteousness and Wrath!  We pray that Thou wilt make a sign unto us!  Strike down this sinner [Cates], as Thou didst Thine enemies of old, in the days of the Pharoahs!
(All lean forward, almost expecting the heavens to open with a thunderbolt.  Rachel [Brown's daughter/Cates' fiancee] is white.  Brady shifts uncomfortably in his chair, this is pretty strong stuff, even for him.)
Let him feel the terror of Thy sword!  For all eternity, let his soul writhe in anguish and damnation -

By the end of the play, Brown has totally alienated his daughter - in other words, he has literally "stirred up trouble in his own house", and as a consequence "inherits the wind" - is left with nothing when Rachel leaves home to go away with Cates.

Moreover, Brady's warning turns out to have a second, more personal meaning when, having supported an attitude of intolerance in the people of Hillsboro against evolutionist ideas, Brady first "cracks up" on the witness stand (at the end of Act 2, Scene 1), and then collapses and dies, apparently in a fit of apoplexy (Act 2, Scene 2).

Darwin?  Darwin Who?

A further irony in the trial scene in Inherit the Wind is the fact that Drummond is waving around a copy of what is presumably meant to represent the scientific world's answer to The Bible.  Yet the fact is that in 1925 Darwin was hanging on by his finger tips, and it is unlikely that anyone amongst the experts would have wanted to cite The Origin of Species as being a scientific work of the first rank.  Indeed, according to Winterton Curtis:

"Modern evolutionism dates not from Darwin's "Origin of Species," published in 1859, but from the historic Naturello of Buffen [sic], the first volume of which appeared in 1749, and from the work of the other philosopher-naturalists of the eighteenth century."

Presumably Curtis meant the Historie Naturelle by George Buffon, but no matter, he was writing from memory, in temporary lodgings, not in his study or his university office.  The important fact is that he later made the point even more strongly when he wrote:

"Of recent years this theory of the causes of evolution [natural selection] has suffered a decline.  No other hypothesis, however, has completely displaced it.  It remains the most satisfactory explanation of the origin of adaptations, although its all-sufficiency is no longer accepted.

By the mid-1930s the coming of the "modern synthesis" version of evolution had restored the concept of natural selection - originally outlined by a naturalist named Edward Blyth in the 1830s rather than Darwin in 1859 - to it's previous high standing.  But speaking specifically about 1925 and the Scopes Trial, Darwinism was certainly not the be all and end all that it seems to be in the play and the film.

Did You Know...?

And there's more.
If you ever wondered where Lawrence and Lee (who were already 10 and 7 years old respectively when the Scopes Trial took place), got the names they gave to their leading characters?  Here are some possibilities:

Their "hero," Bertram Cates shares his surname of the author of a law book which Tom Stewart, Bryan and Darrow all quoted from at one point or another during the trial.

Matthew Harrison Brady is structurally akin to the name William Jennings Bryan (three elements in each, same total number of letters (20), the lengths of the three elements are the same (7/8/5), the double letters occur in the same positions, and so on), but they are a long way short of being anagrams of each other.  In fact, if we remove all matching letters we are still left with nearly half the letters in each name - TTHHARROD (Brady) and LLIJNNING (Bryan).

One possible source for the name of the fictional character might be Mathew (or Matthew) B. Brady.  This was a nineteenth century photographer who became famous for the pictures he and his assistants took during the American Civil War.  His New York Exhibition - The Dead of Antietam (1862) - brought the reality of battlefields littered with dead bodies home to a civilian population who had previously only seen such scenes in carefully arranged "artists' impressions".  Did Lawrence or Lee perhaps remember hearing about Brady in a school history lesson?

The use of the name Henry Drummond seems to have been a far more obvious choice.
Scottish born Henry Drummond (1851-1897), would probably be best remembered in America as an popular preacher who, near the end of the century, assisted Dwight L. Moody during several of his revival campaigns.
Drummond was an ordained minister, a professor of theology, and a lecturer in natural science.  He was also an evangelical, an evolutionist and a supporter of "higher criticism" who wrote several books.  One of his most successful works was Natural Law in the Spiritual World, published in 1883, which was a clear attempt to harmonise evolution and Christian beliefs.  It sold 70,000 copies in five years and made him famous.
The possible connection seems to be supported by the stage instructions for the closing moments of Inherit the Wind where we are told that Drummond should pick up a copy of the Bible and a copy of Darwin's The Origin of Species, hold them one in each hand (as though weighing them) and then put them side-by-side in his case, not placing either one on top of the other.

Another apparent in-joke in the play script is the name of Brady's assistant - Tom Davenport.  In the real world, the chief prosecuting lawyer was Tom Stewart, attorney general for the 18th judicial district (which included Dayton), not the local district attorney, as in the play and movie.
We can get the full name of this character by combining "Tom" with the surname of Charles B. Davenport, an unmitigated pseudo-scientist who had set up the Eugenics Record Office in Cold Spring Harbor, New York, in 1910 - and who contributed some fairly choice sections to Hunter's textbook Civic Biology, such as:

"Parasitism and its Cost to Society. - Hundreds of families such as those described above exist today, spreading disease, immorality, and crime to all parts of this country.  The cost to society of such families is very severe. Just as certain animals or plants become parasitic on other plants or animals, these families have become parasitic on society.  They not only do harm to others by corrupting, stealing, or spreading disease, but they are actually protected and cared for by the state out of public money.  Largely for them the poorhouse and the asylum exist. They take from society, but they give nothing in return.  They are true parasites.
"The Remedy. - If such people were lower animals, we would probably kill them off to prevent them from spreading.  Humanity will not allow this, but we do have the remedy of separating the sexes in asylums or other places and in various ways preventing intermarriage and the possibilities of perpetuating such a low and degenerate race.  Remedies of this sort have been tried successfully in Europe and are now meeting with some success in this country."
(Italics added for emphasis)

In real life one of Bryan's main reasons for opposing evolutionist ideas, apart from any religious considerations, was his belief that they supported eugenics, a form of social engineering, which he found totally abhorent.
It is interesting to note that Bryan's views on the subject owed a lot to his impressions of the German military gained during World War 1.  His worst fears were realised only a few years later when, under the Nazi regime, Germany instituted a far reaching programme of social and racial "purification" that eventually led to the extermination of more than 6 million people including the mentally sub-normal, homosexuals, Jews and anyone else Hitler and his cronies didn't approve of.

As a historical note, the "various ways" mentioned in The Remedy really meant compulsory sterilization or even "involuntary euthenasia."  Several US states had introduced sterilization for people - especially women - in certain groups considered socially undesirable as far back as 1907 (Indiana) and 1909 (Washington and California).  Rates of compulsory sterilization climbed steadily in the US after an 8-1 ruling by the US Supreme Court in favour of forced sterilization in the 1927 case of Bell vs. Buck, in Virginia.  The practice wasn't seriously challenged until 1942 when another case - Skinner vs. Oklahoma - led eventually to another Supreme Court ruling on the matter.  The 1942 decision didn't actually reverse the previous ruling, but it muddied the waters enough to deter further activity in many States (though a few retained the practice till the early 1960s).
Likewise the idea of confining 'undesirables' in asylums must be set against the widespread understanding that the inmates of such institutions, in America, had a significantly higher mortality rate than was found in the general population due to factors such as filthy conditions and the easy spread of infectious diseases, inadequate diet and poor staffing.  For many, "separating the sexes in asylums or other places" was indeed a process which was likely to "kill them off to prevent them from spreading."  It was quite literally the "Final Solution" that Charles Davenport pretended to regard as being unacceptable.

The Scopes "Monkey" Trial Site Map

A brief description of the Scopes Trial - the original proceedings, the effective fictionalising of the event in F.L. Allen's book Only Yesterday, and the confusion surrounding the play Inherit the Wind.  Also a short biography of the author.

Part 1: Summary
A short history of the events leading up to the Scopes Trial, the trial itself, and what happened afterwards.  Includes lists of the lawyers, witnesses, jurors, etc. involved in the Scopes Trial.  Explains why it was called the "Monkey" trial.

Part 2: Inherit the Wind
Looks at the real story behind the writing of the play Inherit the Wind, and some of the key differences between the play and the actual trial.  Explains where the title came from, and what it signifies.

Part 3: A Cult of Misinformation
The Scopes Trial has been the subject of a mountain of misinformation from the time of the trial through to the present day.  The members of this "cult" include not just journalists and authors but also lawyers, university professors, the Encyclopaedia Britannica and even the Library of Congress.  This section shows why the real life events are so widely misunderstood today.

Part 4: How it Began
Discusses the Butler Act (the basis for the charge against John Scopes), the action of the ACLU, the "Drugstore Conspiracy" which led to the trial being staged in Dayton, and how the two sets of lawyers were selected - or in some cases selected themselves.  This section includes the names of all of the lawyers on both sides.

Part 5: The Experts - and Others
Details of the expert witnesses due to give evidence for the defense - and two potential witnesses, one of whom did make an appearance (Piltdown Man), and one who didn't (Nebraska Man).

Part 6: The Expert Evidence
Arthur Hays claimed that the expert witnesses would deal only in "facts."  This section discusses specific items of "expert testimony" in the light of that claim and subsequent discoveries.

Part 7: Hunter's Civic Biology
Details of the true nature of the contents of Hunter's textbook A Civic Biology.

Part 8: The Trial - Part 1     In preparation
A timeline of the main events of the trial on a day-by-day basis.

Part 9: The Trial - Part 2
A detailed evaluation of the confrontation between Darrow and Bryan on the afternoon of day 7, with numerous quotes from the trial transcript and elsewhere.

Part 10: The Appeal
Many people know that the Tennessee Supreme Court overturned the original result of the trial, but why?  Was John Scopes found "not guilty"?  What reasons did the Supreme Court give for their decision?
And what the heck is a nolle prosequi anyway?

Part 11: Was Scopes Guilty?
Another remarkable feature of the Scopes Trial was the number of lies involved - the biggest of which centers on the likelihood that the defense lawyers deliberately concealed the fact that Scopes was genuinely "not guilty."

Part 12: 80 Years of Evolution and Species
(Under Construction.  Additional material will be added.  Existing material may be subject to further editing.)
In Part 6 we looked at the kind of "evidence" offered by the expert witnesses.  In this section we look specifically at the meaning of terms such as "evolution" and "species" in 1925 and 2006.

Part 13: Education After the Scopes Trial
This section describes what happened to the teaching of evolutionary theory in American schools after the trial; and what Americans believe about the teaching of evolutionism and creationism today.
Also, the shock results of a poll in the UK.

Part 14: Clarence Darrow - Attorney for the Damned?
Whilst the ACLU triggered the Scopes Trial, and the "drugstore conspirators" brought it to Dayton, the guiding force behind the events during the trial itself was Clarence Darrow.  This section looks at what motivated Darrow to essentially hi-jack the ACLU campaign and use it for his own ends.

Part 15: The Significance of the Scopes Trial
This section considers some of the many clashes in American society in the 1920s and considers whether they were genuine clashes, and if they were, what influence the Scopes Trial had an on any of them.
It also reveals what will be, for many people, surprising new information about the role of the University of Chicago in American culture at that time discovered by Professor of the History of Science, Edward Davis.

Part 16: The Play, the Movie and the Trial
(Under Construction.  Additional material will be added.  Existing material may be subject to further editing.)
A detailed examination of the differences between the play and first film version of Inherit the Wind, and the real life Scopes Trial.

Part 20: Links and Resources
A list of websites and books related to the Scopes Trial, including the trial transcript and the script of Inherit the Wind.

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