This book takes a new look at one of the most contentious periods in American history. The battles over schools that surrounded the famous Scopes "monkey" trial in 1925 were about much more than evolution. Fundamentalists fought to maintain cultural control of education. As this book reveals for the first time, the successes and the failures of these fundamentalist campaigns transformed both the fundamentalist movement and the nature of education in America. In turn, those transformations determined many of the positions of the "culture wars" that raged throughout the twentieth century.
"Where the book is strongest, and the reason historians of education will want to read it, is to see a much more complex, widespread, and effective movement by religious conservatives to address the content and control of education in the 1920s and beyond."
– History of Education Quarterly
"Drawing on a rich field of revisionist studies of American fundamentalism and evangelicalism, Adam Laats has written a nuanced history of the fundamentalist educational campaigns of the 1920s that effectively positions the controversy over teaching evolution in public schools within the broader cultural agenda that fundamentalists were pursuing. Important and timely."
- The Journal of Southern History
"Laats has written the definitive history of education and the culture wars of the 1920s, illuminating the diverse character of Protestant fundamentalism and the crisis over religion and the schools that continue to this very day."
- William J. Reese, Carl F. Kaestle WARF Professor of Educational Policy Studies and History, University of Wisconsin-Madison
"Laats has written a first-rate, even-handed introduction to the efforts of fundamentalists to eradicate the teaching of evolution and promote the reading of the Bible in the schools of America. There is no better analysis of the contested meanings of 'fundamentalism' or of fundamentalist attempts to control curricula in the 1920s, from elementary school through college. This book will appeal not only to historians of education, religion, and science but to all persons interested in the so-called culture wars of the twentieth century."
- Ronald L. Numbers, Hilldale Professor of the History of Science and Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of The Creationists: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design
PART I: FUNDAMENTALISM AND FUNDAMENTALISTS A New Kind of Protestant What's in a Name?
PART II: GOD AND SCHOOL Campus Skirmishes Early Legislative Battles Of Monkeys and Men
PART III: MONKEYS AND MODERNISM School Legislation after Scopes College Controversies after Scopes Fundamentalists, Bibles, and Schooling in the 1920s
PART IV: FUNDAMENTALISM TRANSFORMED Fundamentalists and the New Fundamentalism Fundamentalists outside the New Fundamentalism
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Adam Laatsa is an Assistant Professor and Associate Director of the Center for the Teaching of American History at SUNY Binghamton, USA.