On this date in history. July 10 – Scopes 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.

Outside, Dayton took on a carnival-like atmosphere as an exhibit featuring two chimpanzees and a supposed “missing link” opened in town, and vendors sold Bibles, toy monkeys, hot dogs, and lemonade. The missing link was in fact Jo Viens of Burlington, Vermont, a 51-year-old man who was of short stature and possessed a receding forehead and a protruding jaw. One of the chimpanzees–named Joe Mendi–wore a plaid suit, a brown fedora, and white spats, and entertained Dayton’s citizens by monkeying around on the courthouse lawn.

In the courtroom, Judge Raulston destroyed the defense’s strategy by ruling that expert scientific testimony on evolution was inadmissible–on the grounds that it was Scopes who was on trial, not the law he had violated. The next day, Raulston ordered the trial moved to the courthouse lawn, fearing that the weight of the crowd inside was in danger of collapsing the floor.

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.

In 1927, the Tennessee Supreme Courtoverturned the Monkey Trial verdict on a technicality but left the constitutional issues unresolved until 1968, when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a similar Arkansas law on the grounds that it violated the First Amendment.

Via The History Channel

A sad state of affairs

Everyday we are hit by a barrage of information telling us who and what to fear and hate. It is driving us away from our compassionate and loving nature. We are told to kick out instead of welcome. Our daily lives are filled with who is wrong and who should be punished, who is dangerous and who and what is wrong. We need to concentrate on what is right and how and who we need to help and what needs fixing. If something doesn’t benefit people in a positive way then it doesn’t need fixing. We need to build people up instead of tearing them down. Instead of building walls we need to build doors. Instead of looking at people that are different than us or believe different than us or are from different countries with suspicion and hate we need to open our arms and welcome them with compassion and love. This is who we always were and we need to return this way of living,  belief and acting. We are so much better than the current state of social and political behavior.

1936 Stout Scarab the worlds first minivan

This video had many cool cars in it but most notably the 1936 Stout Scarab. It has to be one of the weirdest vehicles ever built. It is the first minivan if toy wish. It’s the only car I have ever seen that has what could be called lawn chairs in it that you can arrange any way you want. I guess flying around the inside on a sharp turn or sudden stop was considered part of the fun.  This is the flagship of weird town.

 

On this date in history. July 9 – President Taylor dies of cholera

Zachary Taylor, the 12th president of the United States, dies suddenly from an attack of cholera morbus. He was succeeded by Millard Fillmore.

Raised in Kentucky with little formal schooling, Zachary Taylor received a U.S. Army commission in 1808. He became a captain in 1810 and was promoted to major during the War of 1812 in recognition of his defense of Fort Harrison against attack by Shawnee chief Tecumseh. In 1832, he became a colonel and served in the Black Hawk War and in the campaigns against the Seminole Indians in Florida, winning the nickname of “Old Rough and Ready” for his informal attire and indifference to physical adversity.

Sent to the Southwest to command the U.S. Army at the Texas border, Taylor crossed the Rio Grande with the outbreak of the Mexican-American Warin 1846. In May, Taylor defeated the Mexicans at the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, and in September he captured the city of Monterrey. In February 1847, he achieved his crowning military victory at the Battle of Buena Vista, where his force triumphed despite being outnumbered three to one. This victory firmly established Taylor as a popular hero, and in 1848, despite his lack of a clear political platform, he was nominated the Whig presidential candidate.

Elected in November, Taylor soon fell under the influence of William H. Seward, a powerful Whig senator, and in 1849 he supported the Wilmot Proviso, which would exclude slavery from all the territory acquired as a result of the Mexican War. His inflexible responses to Southern criticisms of this policy aggravated the nation’s North-South conflict and revealed his political inexperience. Matters were at a stalemate when he died suddenly on July 9, 1850.

Via The History Channel