The Scopes Trial, formally known as The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes and informally known as the Scopes Monkey Trial, was a landmark American legal case in 1925 in which high school science teacher, John Scopes, was accused of violating Tennessee's Butler Act, which made it unlawful to teach evolution in any state-funded school.
Scopes was found guilty, but the verdict was overturned on a technicality and he went free. The trial drew intense national publicity, as national reporters flocked to the small town of Dayton, Tennessee, to cover the big-name lawyers representing each side. William Jennings Bryan, three-time presidential candidate for the Democrats, argued for the prosecution, while Clarence Darrow, the famed defense attorney, spoke for Scopes. The trial set modernists, who said evolution was consistent with religion, against fundamentalists who said the word of God as revealed in the Bible took priority over all human knowledge. The trial was thus both a theological contest, and a trial on the veracity of modern science regarding the creation-evolution controversy. The teaching of evolution expanded, as fundamentalist efforts to use state laws to reverse the trend had failed in the court of public opinion.