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Going ApeFlorida's Battles over Evolution in the Classroom$
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Brandon Haught

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813049434

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813049434.001.0001

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“Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea”

“Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea”

(p.1) 1 “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea”
Going Ape

Brandon Haught

University Press of Florida

This chapter explains the origins of the evolution vs. creationism conflict in 1920s Florida, starting with famous anti-evolutionist William Jennings Bryan's motivations and activities. This chapter also explains why the animosity toward evolution started in the 1920s and not earlier. Christian organizations made their opposition to evolution publicly known at the same time that prominent newspaper editorials took them to task. Next, the Florida House of Representatives temporarily shut down in mid-session due to a heated debate over a proposed law outlawing the teaching of evolution. This then led to the legislature and the Florida Purity League hounding state universities about the types of textbooks they used, prompting some censorship of educational materials. Evolution also became a minor campaign issue during a gubernatorial election.

Keywords:   censorship, evolution, Florida House of Representatives, Florida Purity League, legislature, textbook, university, William Jennings Bryan

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