Darwin’s Legacy

Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution challenged traditional religious explanations of human origins. 

Some religious people, seeing divine intent in evolutionary change, embraced Darwin’s theory. Others saw it as a threat. In the 1925 Scopes Trial, a conflict over evolution in a high school textbook captured the imagination of millions, inspiring headlines and popular songs. Only later was it noted that the textbook at the heart of the trial encouraged eugenics—a method of social engineering that valued certain bodies over others. 

A first edition of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, 1860 

A first edition of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, 1860
 

Loan from Smithsonian Institution Libraries, gift of Burndy Library

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