This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
July 10 is the 191st day of the year (192nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 174 days remaining until the end of the year.
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.
The ACLU had originally intended to oppose the Butler Act on the grounds that it violated the teacher’s individual rights and academic freedom, and was therefore unconstitutional. Mainly because of Clarence Darrow, this strategy changed as the trial progressed, and the earliest argument proposed by the defense once the trial had begun was that there was actually no conflict between evolution and the creation account in the Bible (a viewpoint later called theistic evolution). In support of this claim, they brought in eight experts on evolution. Other than Dr. Maynard Metcalf, a zoologist from Johns Hopkins University, the judge would not allow these experts to testify in person. Instead, they were allowed to submit written statements so that their evidence could be used at the appeal. In response to this decision, Darrow made a sarcastic comment to Judge Raulston (as he often did throughout the trial) on how he had been agreeable only on the prosecution’s suggestions, for which he apologized the next day, keeping himself from being found in contempt of court.
The presiding judge John T. Raulston was accused of being biased towards the prosecution and frequently clashed with Darrow. At the outset of the trial Raulston quoted Genesis and the Butler Act. He also warned the jury not to judge the merit of the law (which would become the focus of the trial) but on the violation of the act, which he called a ‘high misdemeanor’. The jury foreman himself wasn’t convinced of the merit of the Act but acted, as did most of the jury, on the instructions of the judge.
By the later stages of the trial, Clarence Darrow had largely abandoned the ACLU’s original strategy and attacked the literal interpretation of the Bible as well as Bryan’s limited knowledge of other religions and science.
Only when the case went to appeal did the defense return to the original claim that the prosecution was invalid because the law was essentially designed to benefit a particular religious group, which would be unconstitutional.
48 BC – Battle of Dyrrhachium: Julius Caesar barely avoids a catastrophic defeat to Pompey in Macedonia.
138 – Emperor Hadrian dies after a heart failure at Baiae, he is buried at Rome in the Tomb of Hadrian beside his late wife, Vibia Sabina.
988 – Norse King Glun Iarainn recognises Máel Sechnaill II, High King of Ireland, and agrees to pay taxes and accept Brehon Law; the event is considered to be the founding of the city of Dublin.
1212 – The most severe of several early fires of London burns most of the city to the ground.
1460 – Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick defeats the king’s Lancastrian forces and takes King Henry VI prisoner in the Battle of Northampton.
1499 – Portuguese explorer Nicolau Coelho returns to Lisbon, after discovering the sea route to India as a companion of Vasco da Gama.
1553 – Lady Jane Grey takes the throne of England.
1584 – William I of Orange is assassinated in his home in Delft, Holland by Balthasar Gerard.
1645 – English Civil War: The Battle of Langport takes place.
1778 – American Revolution: Louis XVI of France declares war on the Kingdom of Great Britain.
1806 – The Vellore Mutiny is the first instance of a mutiny by Indian sepoys against the British East India Company.
1821 – The United States takes possession of its newly bought territory of Florida from Spain.
1832 – U.S.President Andrew Jackson vetoes a bill that would re-charter the Second Bank of the United States.
1850 – Millard Fillmore is inaugurated as the 13th President of the United States upon the death of President Zachary Taylor, 16 months into his term.
1877 – The then-villa of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico formally receives its city charter from the Royal Crown of Spain.
1890 – Wyoming is admitted as the 44th U.S. state.
1913 – Death Valley, California hits 134 F (56.7 C) the highest temperature recorded in the United States.
1921 – Belfast’s Bloody Sunday: 16 people are killed and 161 houses destroyed during rioting and gun battles in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
1925 – Scopes Trial: In Dayton, Tennessee, the so-called “Monkey Trial” begins with John T. Scopes, a young high school science teacher accused of teaching evolution in violation of the Butler Act.
1938 – Howard Hughes sets a new record by completing a 91 hour airplane flight around the world.
1940 – World War II: the Vichy government is established in France.
1940 – World War II: Battle of Britain – The German Luftwaffe begins attacking British convoys in the English Channel thus starting the battle (this start date is contested, though).
1941 – Jedwabne Pogrom: the massacre of Jewish people living in and near the village of Jedwabne in Poland.
1942 – Diplomatic relations between the Netherlands and the Soviet Union are established.
1946 – Hungarian hyperinflation sets a record with inflation of 348.46 percent per day, or prices doubling every eleven hours.
1947 – Muhammad Ali Jinnah is recommended as the first Governor-General of Pakistan by British Prime Minister Clement Attlee.
1951 – Korean War: Armistice negotiations begin at Kaesong.
1962 – Telstar, the world’s first communications satellite, is launched into orbit.
1966 – The Chicago Freedom Movement, led by Martin Luther King, Jr., holds a rally at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. As many as 60,000 people came to hear Dr. King as well as Mahalia Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and Peter Paul and Mary.
1967 – Uruguay becomes a member of the Berne Convention copyright treaty.
1968 – Maurice Couve de Murville becomes Prime Minister of France.
1971 – Hassan II of Morocco survives an attempted coup d’état, which lasts until June 11.
1973 – The Bahamas gain full independence within the Commonwealth of Nations.
1973 – National Assembly of Pakistan passes a resolution on the recognition of Bangladesh.
1973 – John Paul Getty III, grandson of oil magnate J. Paul Getty, is kidnapped in Rome, Italy.
1978 – World News Tonight premieres on ABC.
1985 – Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior is bombed and sunk in Auckland, New Zealand harbour by French DGSE agents, killing Fernando Pereira.
1992 – In Miami, Florida, former Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega is sentenced to 40 years in prison for drug and racketeering violations.
1997 – In London scientists report the findings of the DNA analysis of a Neanderthal skeleton which support the “out of Africa theory” of human evolution placing an “African Eve” at 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.
1997 – Partido Popular (Spain) member Miguel Angel Blanco is kidnapped in the Basque city of Ermua by ETA members, sparking widespread protests.
1998 – Roman Catholic sex abuse cases: The Diocese of Dallas agrees to pay $23.4 million to nine former altar boys who claimed they were sexually abused by former priest Rudolph Kos.
2000 – A leaking southern Nigerian petroleum pipeline explodes, killing about 250 villagers scavenging gasoline.
2000 – EADS, the world’s second-largest aerospace group is formed by the merger of Aérospatiale-Matra, DASA, and CASA.
2005 – Hurricane Dennis slams into the Florida Panhandle, causing billions of dollars in damage.
2008 – Former Macedonian Interior Minister Ljube Boskoski is acquitted of all charges by a United Nations Tribunal accusing him of war crimes.
2011 – British tabloid News of the World publishes its last edition after 174 years in the wake of a phone hacking scandal.
* Armed Forces Day (Mauritania)
* Christian Feast Day:
* Amalberga of Maubeuge
* Rufina and Secunda
* Seven Brothers
* July 10 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)
* Independence Day, celebrates the independence of the Bahamas from the United Kingdom in 1973
* Silence Day (Followers of Meher Baba)
* Statehood Day (Wyoming)