American Experience - Season 14, Episode 9 - Rotten Tomatoes

Monkey Trial

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Episode Info

The Scopes Trial of 1925 was a defining moment in American political and religious history. A Tennessee school science teacher, John Scopes, volunteered to be the defendant in a test case on the legitimacy of teaching evolution in the public schools. The lines were drawn between the fundamentalists and the scientists, the former using the Bible to refute the scientific evidence produced by the latter. Each side had a powerful advocate: William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow. The two great trial lawyers sparred over the issue of evolution before a transfixed nation that received the news in a media blitz. In the end, the forces of progress won out -- a temporary victory in a war that continues to this very day. Archival film footage, photographs, radio reports, newspaper accounts, interviews, and scholarly commentary tell the story of the famous Monkey Trial.

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