The Scopes Trial Induced A Pivotal Point

2323 Words Apr 14th, 2016 10 Pages
The Scopes Trial induced a pivotal point in American history because it symbolizes the conflict between science and theology, faith and reason, individual liberty, and majority rule. This trial was to decide not only the fate of an evolution-teacher, but also to decide if traditionalists or modernists would rule American culture. An object of intense publicity, the trial was seen as a clash between urban sophistication and rural fundamentalism.

On January 20, 1925, a Tennessee state senator named John A. Shelton proposed a bill to make the teaching of evolution in the state’s public schools a felony, or a criminal act. Fundamentalists had been supporting and pushing the passage of laws such as this for years, because the teaching of evolution and Darwinism contradicts the religious beliefs of creation in Christianity. Popular evangelist, Billy Sunday, undertook an eighteen-day crusade in Memphis in support of the prospective bill. Night after night, Sunday’s audiences grew until more than two-hundred thousand people heard him preach against the evils of evolution. The bill, known as the Butler Act, was officially passed on March 21, 1925, just 3 months after its proposal. Just as state legislators suspected, the ink had hardly dried on the Butler Act before its first challenger emerged.

George Rappleyea, a modernist methodist who was against the new regulation, urged people to rebel against the law in order to generate publicity for the city of Dayton. John Thomas…
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