How was the Scopes trial more complicated than a simple debate between evolutionists and creationists?

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Begin with a Warm-Up Activity


Begin the Inquiry

Key Events Surrounding the Scopes Trial

Darwin’s Origin of Species published, proposes theory of evolution.


The Fundamentals published, a series of pamphlets that claims the Bible as literal truth. Evolution is not a major concern.


Refounding of the Ku Klux Klan with a new anti-Jewish, anti-Catholic, anti-Communist, and anti-immigrant agenda.


United States enters World War I.

April 1917

First convention of World’s Christian Fundamentals Association, more than 6,000 people attend. Antievolutionism gains ground as a central issue for Fundamentalists.

January 1919

Ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment, establishing Prohibition.


Ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, establishing womenís right to vote.

August 1920

Marcus Garvey’s black nationalist movement holds its first international convention in New York City.

August 1920

A federal anti-lynching bill passed in the House of Representatives but was later blocked by filibuster in the United States Senate. Fifty-one black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1922.

July 1922

Passage of the Immigration Act of 1924 limiting the number of immigrants entering the United States, especially from Southern and Eastern Europe.

May 1924

Tennessee passes Butler Act, which prohibits teaching of evolution. Scopes trial begins in Dayton, Tennessee in July.

March 1925

Antievolution laws pass in Mississippi and Arkansas; antievolution bills are proposed and defeated in 19 states.


Butler Act repealed by Tennessee legislature.

May 1967

Kansas Board of Education removes evolution from state tests, and makes the teaching of evolution a “local option.” Many states require that textbooks treat evolution as a theory of creation, rather than a scientific fact.

August 1999