Scopes Trial of 1925


Preparations begin in Dayton for an expected onslaught of trial-related publicity.

May, 1925 - July, 1925

Bryan agrees to participate in the trial on the side of the prosecution, ensuring that the case will receive significant national interest.

May 12, 1925

Scopes is indicted by a grand jury for violating Tennessee's anti-evolution law.

May 25, 1925

The trial begins with jury selection. Judge John Raulston asks the Rev. Lemuel M. Cartright to open the proceedings with a prayer.

July 10, 1925

In an effort to have the Butler law declared unconstitutional, defense attorney Clarence Darrow delivers a long, fiery speech arguing that the law violates freedom of religion.

July 13, 1925

In the third day of the trial, Darrow objects to the practice of opening the trial with a prayer.

July 14, 1925

Judge Raulston overrules the defense's motion to have the Butler law declared unconstitutional.

July 15, 1925

Judge Raulston rules in favor of a motion by prosecutors to bar expert testimony by scientists.

July 17, 1925

With the proceedings taking place outdoors due to the heat, the defense — in a highly unusual move — calls Bryan to testify as a biblical expert.

July 20, 1925

The final day of the trial opens with Judge Raulston's ruling that Bryan cannot return to the stand and that his testimony should be expunged from the record.

July 21, 1925