«

»

Jul 10 2010

On This Day in History: July 10

Monkey Trial Begins

In Dayton, Tennessee, the so-called “Monkey Trial” begins with John Thomas Scopes, a young high school science teacher, accused of teaching evolution in violation of a Tennessee state law.

The law, which had been passed in March, made it a misdemeanor punishable by fine to “teach any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.” With local businessman George Rappalyea, Scopes had conspired to get charged with this violation, and after his arrest the pair enlisted the aid of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to organize a defense. Hearing of this coordinated attack on Christian fundamentalism, William Jennings Bryan, the three-time Democratic presidential candidate and a fundamentalist hero, volunteered to assist the prosecution. Soon after, the great attorney Clarence Darrow agreed to join the ACLU in the defense, and the stage was set for one of the most famous trials in U.S. history.

On July 10, the Monkey Trial got underway, and within a few days hordes of spectators and reporters had descended on Dayton as preachers set up revival tents along the city’s main street to keep the faithful stirred up. Inside the Rhea County Courthouse, the defense suffered early setbacks when Judge John Raulston ruled against their attempt to prove the law unconstitutional and then refused to end his practice of opening each day’s proceeding with prayer.

snip

In front of several thousand spectators in the open air, Darrow changed his tactics and as his sole witness called Bryan in an attempt to discredit his literal interpretation of the Bible. In a searching examination, Bryan was subjected to severe ridicule and forced to make ignorant and contradictory statements to the amusement of the crowd. On July 21, in his closing speech, Darrow asked the jury to return a verdict of guilty in order that the case might be appealed. Under Tennessee law, Bryan was thereby denied the opportunity to deliver the closing speech he had been preparing for weeks. After eight minutes of deliberation, the jury returned with a guilty verdict, and Raulston ordered Scopes to pay a fine of $100, the minimum the law allowed. Although Bryan had won the case, he had been publicly humiliated and his fundamentalist beliefs had been disgraced. Five days later, on July 26, he lay down for a Sunday afternoon nap and never woke up.

 48 BC  – Battle of Dyrrhachium: Julius Caesar barely avoids a catastrophic defeat to Pompey in Macedonia.

988 – The city of Dublin is founded on the banks of the river Liffey.

1212 – The most severe of several early fires of London burns most of the city to the ground.

1460 – Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick defeats the king’s Lancastrian forces and takes King Henry VI prisoner in the Battle of Northampton.

1499 – Portuguese explorer Nicolau Coelho returns to Lisbon, after discovering the sea route to India as a companion of Vasco da Gama.

1553 – Lady Jane Grey takes the throne of England.

1584 – William I of Orange is assassinated in his home in Delft, Holland by Balthasar Gérard.

1645 – English Civil War: The Battle of Langport takes place.

1778 – American Revolution: Louis XVI of France declares war on the Kingdom of Great Britain.

1789 – Alexander Mackenzie reaches the Mackenzie River delta.

1806 – The Vellore Mutiny is the first instance of a mutiny by Indian sepoys against the British East India Company.

1821 – The United States takes possession of its newly bought territory of Florida from Spain.

1832 – U.S.President Andrew Jackson vetoes a bill that would re-charter the Second Bank of the United States.

1850 – Millard Fillmore is inaugurated as the 13th President of the United States upon the death of President Zachary Taylor, 16 months into his term.

1859 – Big Ben rings for the first time.

1890 – Wyoming is admitted as the 44th U.S. state.

1913 – Death Valley, California hits 134 °F (~56.7 °C), the highest temperature recorded in the United States.

1921 – Belfast’s Bloody Sunday: 16 people are killed and 161 houses destroyed during rioting and gun battles in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

1925 – Scopes Trial: In Dayton, Tennessee, the so-called “Monkey Trial” begins with John T. Scopes, a young high school science teacher accused of teaching evolution in violation of the Butler Act.

1938 – Howard Hughes sets a new record by completing a 91 hour airplane flight around the world.

1940 – World War II: the Vichy government is established in France.

1940 – World War II: Battle of Britain – The German Luftwaffe begins attacking British convoys in the English Channel thus starting the battle (this start date is contested, though).

1941 – Jedwabne Pogrom: the massacre of Jewish people living in and near the village of Jedwabne in Poland.

1942 – Diplomatic relations between the Netherlands and the Soviet Union are established.

1943 – World War II: The launching of Operation Husky begins the Italian Campaign.

1947 – Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah is recommended as the first Governor General of Pakistan by then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Clement Attlee.

1951 – Korean War: Armistice negotiations begin at Kaesong.

1962 – Telstar, the world’s first communications satellite, is launched into orbit.

1966 – The Chicago Freedom Movement, lead by Martin Luther King, holds a rally at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. As many as 60,000 people came to hear Dr. King as well as Mahalia Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and Peter Paul and Mary.

1973 – The Bahamas gain full independence within the Commonwealth of Nations.

1973 – National Assembly of Pakistan passes a resolution on the recognition of Bangladesh.

1971 – King Hassan II of Morocco survives an attempted coup d’etat, which lasts until June 11.

1978 – World News Tonight premieres on ABC.

1985 – Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior is bombed and sunk in Auckland, New Zealand harbor by French DGSE agents.

1991 – Boris Yeltsin begins his 5-year term as the first elected President of Russia.

1992 – In Miami, Florida, former Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega is sentenced to 40 years in prison for drug and racketeering violations.

1997 – In London scientists report the findings of the DNA analysis of a Neanderthal skeleton which support the “out of Africa theory” of human evolution placing an “African Eve” at 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.

1998 – Roman Catholic sex abuse cases: The Diocese of Dallas agrees to pay $23.4 million to nine former altar boys who claimed they were sexually abused by former priest Rudolph Kos.

2002 – At a Sotheby’s auction, Peter Paul Rubens’ painting The Massacre of the Innocents is sold for £49.5million (US$76.2 million) to Lord Thomson.

2005 – Hurricane Dennis slams into the Florida Panhandle, causing billions of dollars in damage.

2008 – Former Macedonian Interior Minister Ljube Boškoski is acquitted of all charges by a United Nations Tribunal accusing him of war crimes.