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On this day in history Scopes Monkey Trial begins

July 10, 1925: In Dayton, Tennessee, the so-called Scopes Monkey Trial begins with John Thomas Scopes, a young high school science teacher, accused of teaching evolution in violation of a Tennessee state law.

The law, which had been passed in March, made it a misdemeanor punishable by fine to “teach any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.” With local businessman George Rappleyea, Scopes had conspired to get charged with this violation, and after his arrest the pair enlisted the aid of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to organize a defense. Hearing of this coordinated attack on Christian fundamentalism, William Jennings Bryan, the three-time Democratic presidential candidate and a fundamentalist hero, volunteered to assist the prosecution. Soon after, the great attorney Clarence Darrow agreed to join the ACLU in the defense, and the stage was set for one of the most famous trials in U.S. history.


1850 – Millard Fillmore sworn in as 13th U.S. president

1987 – Dam collapses in Switzerland, kills 70

1940 – The Battle of Britain beginsWWII

1943 – Allies land on Sicily WWII

1962 – U.S. patent issued for three-point seatbelt

1992 – The Exxon Valdez captain’s conviction is overturned

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