Darrow in 1922
Clarence Darrow in 1902
The Rhea County courthouse is home of the famous "Monkey Trial".
Darrow in 1913
Downtown Dayton, 1925
Clarence Darrow c. 1925
Henry Drummond (left), a fictionalized version of Clarence Darrow, as portrayed by Spencer Tracy in Inherit the Wind.

The participants included William Jennings Bryan in the role of prosecutor and Clarence Darrow as the principal defense counsel.

- Dayton, Tennessee

A statue of Darrow stands outside the Rhea County Courthouse in Dayton, Tennessee, site of the 1925 Scopes Trial. The statue was erected on July 14, 2017, and stands just a few feet away from a statue of Darrow's Scopes Trial opponent, William Jennings Bryan, erected in 2005.

- Clarence Darrow
Darrow in 1922

4 related topics

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John Scopes

Scopes Trial

American legal case from July 10 to July 21, 1925 in which a high school teacher, John T. Scopes, was accused of violating Tennessee's Butler Act, which had made it unlawful to teach human evolution in any state-funded school.

American legal case from July 10 to July 21, 1925 in which a high school teacher, John T. Scopes, was accused of violating Tennessee's Butler Act, which had made it unlawful to teach human evolution in any state-funded school.

John Scopes
Clarence Darrow in 1925, during the trial
H. L. Mencken in 1928
William Jennings Bryan in 1925
Darrow (left) and Bryan (right) during the trial
The Rhea County Courthouse is a National Historic Landmark.
Cartoonist Rollin Kirby depicts fundamentalist education in Tennessee taken to an extreme
Spencer Tracy (left) as Darrow surrogate Henry Drummond, and Fredric March (right) as Bryan surrogate Matthew Harrison Brady in the trailer for the film Inherit the Wind; Harry Morgan (in the background) plays the judge.

The trial was deliberately staged in order to attract publicity to the small town of Dayton, Tennessee, where it was held.

William Jennings Bryan, three-time presidential candidate and former Secretary of State, argued for the prosecution, while Clarence Darrow served as the defense attorney for Scopes.

Butler Act

1925 Tennessee law prohibiting public school teachers from denying the Biblical account of mankind's origin.

1925 Tennessee law prohibiting public school teachers from denying the Biblical account of mankind's origin.

The law was challenged later that year in a famous trial in Dayton, Tennessee called the Scopes Trial which included a raucous confrontation between prosecution attorney and fundamentalist religious leader, William Jennings Bryan, and noted defense attorney and religious agnostic, Clarence Darrow.

William Jennings Bryan

American lawyer, orator and politician.

American lawyer, orator and politician.

Bryan's birthplace in Salem, Illinois
Attorney Mary Baird Bryan, the wife of William Jennings Bryan
A young Bryan
"UNITED SNAKES OF AMERICA" "IN BRYAN WE TRUST" political satire token of 1896, known as "Bryan Money"
Bryan campaigning for president, October 1896
1896 electoral vote results
The United States and its colonial possessions after the Spanish–American War
Conservatives in 1900 ridiculed Bryan's eclectic platform.
1900 electoral vote results
William J Bryan in 1906 as Moses with new 10 commandments; Puck 19 sept 1906 by Joseph Keppler. Tablet reads: l-Thou shalt have no other leaders before me. II—Thou shalt not make unto thyself any high Protective Tariff. Ill—Eight hours, and no more, shalt thou labor and do all thy work. IV—Thou shalt not graft. V—Thou shalt not elect thy Senators save by Popular Vote. VI—Thou shalt not grant rebates unto thy neighbor. VII—Thou shalt not make combinations in restraint of trade. VIII—Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's income, but shall make him pay a tax upon it. IX—There shall be no more government by injunction. X—Remember Election Day to vote it early. P.S.— When in doubt, ask Me.
Bryan speaking at the 1908 Democratic National Convention
Presidential Campaign button for Bryan
1908 electoral vote results
Bryan attending the 1912 Democratic National Convention
Bryan served as Secretary of State under President Woodrow Wilson
Cartoon of Secretary of State Bryan reading war news in 1914
Villa Serena, Bryan's home built in 1913 at Miami, Florida
Charles W. and William J. Bryan
At the Scopes Trial, William Jennings Bryan (seated, left) being questioned by Clarence Darrow (standing, right).
Statue of Bryan on the lawn of the Rhea County courthouse in Dayton, Tennessee

The defendant, John T. Scopes, had violated the Butler Act while serving as a substitute biology teacher in Dayton, Tennessee.

His defense was funded by the American Civil Liberties Union and led in court by famed lawyer Clarence Darrow.

Scopes in 1925

John T. Scopes

Scopes in 1925
c. 1925

John Thomas Scopes (August 3, 1900 – October 21, 1970) was a teacher in Dayton, Tennessee, who was charged on May 5, 1925 with violating Tennessee's Butler Act, which prohibited the teaching of human evolution in Tennessee schools.

By the time the trial had begun, the defense team included Clarence Darrow, Dudley Field Malone, John Neal, Arthur Garfield Hays and Frank McElwee.