How was the Scopes trial more complicated than a simple debate between evolutionists and creationists? (Read each source below, then answer the questions in the notebook. Ask your teacher for an inquiry organizer worksheet to help you think about the ways that the sources support and contradict each other.)


READ: American Federation of Teachers' Statement

Head Note: The American Federation of Teachers released a statement in support of John Scopes. As you read, think about their reasons for supporting him.

The American Federation of Teachers is deeply concerned about the effect of the Tennessee anti-evolution law. . . .

Teaching . . . has been menaced . . . by misguided legislative authority that fears to trust the intelligence, the public spirit and the devotion . . . of [teachers]. . . .

As teachers we especially fear the effect of the present wave of intolerance in education on the task of providing the schools with enlightened teachers. Without freedom in the intellectual life, and without the inspiration of uncensored discovery and discussion, there could ultimately be no scholarship, no schools at all and no education.

Source: Excerpt from resolution adopted by the American Federation of Teachers on July 18, 1925.

USE THE NOTEBOOK (instructions):


These definitions should help with reading comprehension.

  • menaced: threatened
  • enlightened: free of ignorance, prejudice, or superstition; open-minded

Historian Think Aloud

Professor Joy Williamson is examining the American Federation of Teachers' statement about the Scopes trial.

Using the Think Aloud

Listen to educator Daisy Martin explain how to use the Think Aloud in analyzing the document.

High Schools

Listen to Historian Mike O'Malley explain the importance of high schools in American education during the 1920s.

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