Eyewitness Reports in History Scopes Monkey Trial Part 3

An eyewitness account of the famous Scopes Monkey trial in American history that pitted evolution versus creation.

The Scopes Trial

"It was on the courthouse lawn, where Judge Raulston had moved so that more persons could hear, with the Tennessee crowds whooping for their angry champion, who shook his first in the quizzical satiric face of Mr. Darrow, that Mr. Bryan was put on the stand by the defense to prove that the Bible need not be taken literally.... The youthful Attorney General Stewart, desperately trying to bring the performance within legal bounds, asked, 'What is the meaning of this harangue?'

"'To show up fundamentalism,' shouted Mr. Darrow, lifting his voice in one of the few moments of anger he showed, 'to prevent bigots and ignoramuses from controlling the educational system of the United States.'

"Mr. Bryan sprang to his feet, his face purple, and shook his fist in the lowering, gnarled face of Mr. Darrow, while he cried: 'To protect the word of God from the greatest atheist and agnostic in the United States.'

"A roar of applause broke from the crowd under the trees and Mr. Darrow, looking down at them, called out sarcastically: 'Why don't you folks cheer?'....

"And then for nearly two hours, while those below broke into laughter or applause or cried out encouragement to Mr. Bryan, Mr. Darrow goaded his opponent. In a blue shirt and suspenders he leaned against the edge of his table, Bible in hand, and asked Mr. Bryan if he really believed that the serpent had always crawled on its belly because it tempted Eve, and if he believed that Eve was made from Adam's rib....

"All those under the trees were completely absorbed in the conflict between the two men, each representing a point of view as to religion so diametrically opposed. It was as if all the voices of these two great divisions of religious thought, rationalism and faith, were debating in the persons of Mr. Darrow and Mr. Bryan.... His [Bryan's] face flushed under Mr. Darrow's searching words, and he writhed in an effort to keep himself from making heated replies. His eyes glared at his lounging opponent, who stood opposite him, glowering under his bulging brow, speculatively tapping his arm with his spectacles. No greater contrast in men could be imagined. The traps of logic fell from Mr. Darrow's lips as innocently as the words of a child, and so long as Mr. Bryan could parry them he smiled back, but when one stumped him he took refuge in his faith and either refused to answer directly or said in effect: 'The Bible states it; it must be so.'"

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