The national press descended on Dayton, Tennessee in the summer of 1925 to watch the prosecution of John Scopes for teaching the theory of evolution to students in the local public school, violating the Butler Act. The trial became a major flashpoint in a national debate over science and religion that is still going on nearly 100 years later. The national press reporting on the Scopes Trial raises many questions. How did the press report? Did it provide one view or many? What kind of public spheres (that is, a space of rational-critical debate) did they provide? This I.S. answers these questions through a close reading of a dozen newspapers from across the country. Altogether, this research shows the array of responses to the events at Dayton, I show that different newspapers reported similar but also distinct views. Newspapers from different corners of the United States, I argue, created multiple public spheres in which the issues of the trial were presented and debated. In chapter one of my I.S. I examine several examples of the national urban press and show the variety of coverage that newspapers reported. In my second chapter, I look at several representatives of the African-American press and their views on the trial and different perspectives they had regarding race, class, the South, and science and religion. In the third chapter, I investigate three regional newspapers from Ohio and the differences in coverage of the trial.


Shaya, Greg



Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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