The Scopes “Monkey Trial” is widely regarded as the greatest American trial of the Twentieth Century. The issues (evolution versus creation in the public schools), the politics (individual liberty versus populist democracy), the actors (William Jennings Bryan, Clarence Darrow, and H.L. Mencken, among others), and the setting (a small, struggling town in southeastern Tennessee with the ingenuity and confidence to host such a national event), all culminated in twelve remarkable days in the sweltering summer of 1925.
Shortly after the trial, the National Book Company published The World’s Greatest Court Trial© (Cincinnati, Ohio, 1925), careful to use the word “Court” in the title so as not to offend Christian readers who would consider the trials of Jesus Christ to be the “world’s greatest” by any important measure. This electronic version of the Scopes trial transcript is a faithful replication of that volume including the original pagination (with page numbers in brackets), the written testimony of experts who did not testify at the trial but who submitted the statements included herein, and the final speech to the jury by William Jennings Bryan which was never actually delivered but which was published separately after the trial.
The transcript is a fascinating document despite the many typographical errors which plagued the original version (and which are replicated in this electronic version).
In the following pages are some of the most memorable speeches, twists, and turns ever witnessed in American jurisprudential history.
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