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The Cultural Revolution of the 1920s
The 1920's were times of cultural revolution. The times were changing in many different ways. Whenever the times change, there is a clash between the "old" and the "new" generations. The 1920's were no exception.
In Dayton, Tennessee, 1925, a high school biology teacher was arrested. He was arrested because he taught the theory of evolution. The teacher, John T. Scopes, was accused of having violated the Butler Act. This was a Tennessee law that forbade the teaching of the theory of evolution in public schools. The Tennessee legislature felt that teaching evolution was wrong because it contradicted the creation theory of the Bible. The Scopes trial received worldwide publicity. The press nicknamed it the Monkey Trial because, people believed that the theory of evolution meant that humans were descended from monkeys.
Clarence Darrow was the defense lawyer. Former U.S. secretary of state William Jennings Bryan was the prosecutor. The defense argued that the Butler Act was unconstitutional. They did not deny that Scopes had broken the law. He was convicted and fined $100.
Darrow was quoted as saying, "Scopes isn't on trial, civilization is on trial." The world was changing and scientific advances made it harder to fully accept the Bible's interpretation of creation. The older generation seemed set in their ways. It would seem that a science was on trial defending itself against traditional beliefs.
The Red Scare was the result of wartime tensions. There was a growing fear of communism during the 1920's. The Red Scare became like a witch-hunt. Everyone was suspicious of each other. U. S. Attorney-General Palmer planned a round up of communists. January 2, 1920, he ordered department raids on meeting halls and homes in thirty cities nationwide to gather all suspected communists. Twenty seven hundred people were arrested without being charged with a specific crime. In all, more than 6,000 people were arrested. The raids ended after May 5th. This was due to a government ruling that mere membership in the party is not in itself a crime. Most people that were arrested were released, few of the people arrested were actually communists. The Red Scare continued when on April 1, five legitimately
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