William Jennings Bryan: Key Figure in Scopes Monkey Trial


The Monkey Trial ended JULY 21, 1925, as John Scopes, a Tennessee High school biology teacher was fined for teaching a theory of origins called evolution. William Jennings Bryan, a three time Democrat Presidential candidate, was the prosecuting attorney arguing against evolution. Bryan objected to a tooth being presented as proof of humans evolving from apes. Later the tooth was found to be that of an extinct pig. William Jennings Bryan was a Colonel in the Spanish-American War, a U.S. Representative and Secretary of State under President Wilson. He edited the Omaha World Herald and founded The Commoner newspaper. Dying just five days after the trial, William Jennings Bryan's statue is in the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall. He gave over 600 public speeches during his Presidential campaigns, one of his favorites being "The Prince of Peace." William Jennings Bryan stated: "I am interested in the science of government but I am more interested in religion...I enjoy making a political speech...but I would rather speak on religion than on politics. I commenced speaking on the stump when I was only twenty, but I commenced speaking in the church six years earlier-and I shall be in the church even after I am out of politics."