File:Darrow Octagon House Sign.jpg

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A sign for the birthplace of Clarence Darrow (1857-1938) in Kinsman. Darrow came to prominence as a lawyer originally working for business owners, eventually deciding to work for workers instead. He became famous, and possibly infamous, for his defense of the head of the American Railway Union, and his clients victory in the case. Darrow changed his focus again, this time deciding to defend criminals, often men facing the death penalty for their crimes. He was the defense attorney in the infamous Leopold and Loeb case, where the two defendants had committed a grisly murder and faced a likely death sentence. Despite the gruesome nature of the crime, the two men avoided a death sentence after pleading guilty and were put away for life. Incredibly, he successfully defended almost every one of his clients charged with a crime. Darrow also participated as the defense attorney in the sensational Scopes Monkey Trial. The state of Tennessee banned the teaching of evolution in schools entirely, and soon after one man famously broke that law. Darrow was immediately recruited to defend him, while William Jennings Bryan would became Darrow's adversary in the case. Although he lost the case, since there was an obvious breaking of state law, he made a strong argument against literal interpretation of the Bible. He put Bryan himself on the stand, and brilliantly made a spectacle of Bryan. He questioned Bryan on the Bible and publicly embarrassed him by showing that Bryan wasn't able to give a satisfactory answer to many of his questions about the Bible. The story was soon told all around the country and the reporters of the day clamored that Darrow had torn down the idea that the Bible could be interpreted as fact. The case would be his last sensational victory, afterwards Darrow rarely practiced law and lived quietly until his death in 1938. Darrow is still held in high regard for his skill as an attorney.


Ohio History Connection AL06729


2/6/2007 15:52

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