Darrow Vs. Bryan: Clash Of The 20th Century

He defended teenage thrill killers Leopold and Loeb who murdered 14-year-old Robert “Bobby” Franks in 1924.

A year later he defended evolution in the Scopes Monkey Trial.

Who was he?

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Clarence Darrow.

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In 1886, Darrow obtained a pardon for the anarchists who blew up a pipe bomb in Chicago’s Haymarket Square which killed 7 policemen and injured 60 others.

In 1894, Darrow defended Patrick Eugene Prendergast, the “mentally deranged drifter” who confessed to murdering Chicago mayor Carter H. Harrison, Sr.

He defended Eugene V. Debs, the American Railway Union leader prosecuted for the Pullman Railroad Strike.

In 1906, Darrow represented the Western Federation of Miners leaders charged with the 1905 murder of former Idaho Gov. Frank Steunenberg.

In 1911, the American Federation of Labor arranged for Darrow to defend the McNamara brothers, who were charged with dynamiting the Los Angeles Times building which killed 21 employees. Implicated in bribing jurors, Darrow was banned from practicing law in California.

In 1925, Darrow defended John Scopes, a Tennessee High school biology teacher found guilty of teaching a theory of origins called “evolution.”

The Scopes Monkey Trial ended JULY 21, 1925.

The attorney defending creation was William Jennings Bryan, the Democrat Party’s three time candidate for President.

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 from Nebraska and U.S. Secretary of State under President Wilson.

Bryan edited the Omaha World Herald and founded The Commoner Newspaper.

Five days after the Scopes Trial, Bryan died.

A statue of William Jennings Bryan was placed in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall by the State of Nebraska.

Bryan gave over 600 public speeches during his Presidential campaigns, with his most famous being “The Prince of Peace,” printed in the New York Times, September 7, 1913, in which he 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…”

Bryan reasoned:

“Tolstoy…declares that the religious sentiment rests not upon a superstitious fear…but upon man’s consciousness of his finiteness amid an infinite universe…Man feels the weight of his sins and looks for One who is sinless.

Religion has been defined by Tolstoy as the relation which man fixes between himself and his God…

Religion is the foundation of morality in the individual and in the group of individuals…

A religion which teaches personal responsibility to God gives strength to morality.

There is a powerful restraining influence in the belief that an all-seeing eye scrutinizes every thought and word and act of the individual…

One needs the inner strength which comes with the conscious presence of a personal God…”

Bryan stated further:

“I passed through a period of skepticism when I was in college…

The college days cover the dangerous period in the young man’s life; he is just coming into possession of his powers, and feels stronger than he ever feels afterward—and he thinks he knows more than he ever does know.

It was at this period that I became confused by the different theories of creation.

But I examined these theories and found that they all assumed something to begin with…

A Designer back of the design—a Creator back of the creation; and no matter how long you draw out the process of creation, so long as God stands back of it you cannot shake my faith in Jehovah…

We must begin with something—we must start somewhere—and the Christian begins with God…”

Bryan continued:

“While you may trace your ancestry back to the monkey…you shall not connect me with your family tree…

The ape, according to this theory, is older than man and yet the ape is still an ape while man is the author of the marvelous civilization which we see about us…

This theory…does not explain the origin of life.

When the follower of Darwin has traced the germ of life back to the lowest form…to follow him one must exercise more faith than religion calls for…”

Bryan explained:

“Those who reject the idea of creation are divided into two schools, some believing that the first germ of life came from another planet and others holding that it was the result of spontaneous generation…

Go back as far as we may, we cannot escape from the creative act, and it is just as easy for me to believe that God created man as he is as to believe that, millions of years ago, He created a germ of life and endowed it with power to develop…”

Bryan added:

“But there is another objection.

The Darwinian theory represents man as reaching his present perfection by the operation of the law of hate—the merciless law by which the strong crowd out and kill off the weak…

I prefer to believe that love rather than hatred is the law of development…”

William Jennings Bryan concluded:

“Science has disclosed some of the machinery of the universe, but science has not yet revealed to us the great secret—the secret of life…

If the Father deigns to touch with divine power the cold and pulseless heart of the buried acorn and to make it burst forth from its prison walls, will he leave neglected in the earth the soul of man, made in the image of his Creator?…

The Gospel of the Prince of Peace gives us the only hope that the world has.”

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