In Search of History: The Monkey Trial [DVD] [1997]

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Synopsis

In Search of History: The Monkey Trial
The 1925 trial that ignited the historical battle between Darwinism and creationism that still divides our country today serves as the subject of this documentary. It was summertime in Dayton, Tennessee, and a young high-school math and gym teacher named John Scopes was serving as a substitute biology teacher when he decided to give his wide-eyed students a brief crash course in Darwinism. Unfortunately for Scopes, the "Butler Law" strictly forbade the teaching evolution in public schools. The fledgling American Civil Liberties Union saw this as the perfect opportunity to challenge the law's constitutionality, and when two powerful lawyers arrived to face-off in court, the once quiet procedural erupted into an all out media circus. Arguing for the prosecution was famed orator, three-time presidential candidate, and self-proclaimed Bible expert William Jennings Brian; defending Scopes was celebrated lawyer and acknowledged agnostic Clarence Darrow. Suddenly, this tiny Bible-belt town was flooded with lawyers from across the nation. And though the jury initially convicted Snopes, that conviction was soon overruled on a technicality by an appeals court, disappointing the defending attorney who had hoped to challenge the constitutionality of the "Butler Law" before the Supreme Court. Take a trip back in time to revisit the first chapter of an ongoing struggle that serves as the centerpiece of many heated debates to this very day with this documentary that originally aired on the History Channel series In Search of History. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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