Talk:Clarence Darrow

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Intro Revision[edit]

Removed the ACLU comment, an obvious advertisement. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:02, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Incorrect Picture[edit]

The picture with the caption: "Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan chat in court during the Scopes Trial." Is not actually of Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan. It is from the movie "Inherit the Wind," which is based on the scopes trial.

Actually, Correct Picture[edit]

At first glance, the picture does seem to be of the actors, not of Darrow and Bryan. But take another, closer look. Then, find separate pictures of each man, at the appropriate age, and you will find that the photo is authentic as described. A A Civis (talk) 19:11, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

Repeated reversions[edit]

To the Wikipedia editors: Although on one occasion "Zargulon" claims that the reversion to Phil Welch's version is because the later version is short on references, please note that NONE of the references in Phil Welch's version have been removed. It should also be noted that the POV claim is also untrue - and references are being added to support the relevant comments and quotes.

To "Zargulon" - if you have some valid reason for contesting the revisions to Phil Welch's version perhaps you would like to add supporting references. Alternatively, or in addition, I would be happy to discuss an objections you have to my revisions rather than continue with this pointless to-and-froing.

Not desperately[edit]

You have to revise in a stepwise manner if you don't want to be summarily reverted. It is also impolite to throw out almost entirely the current page which is the product of the work of many people over many months if not years.. surely you can appreciate that? Anyway, let's start at the beginning with the unsourced / POV stuff.. where did you get the idea that "He remains famous today as much for the myths that have grown up around him as for what he actually did"? Also why won't you get a username.. it will probably make things easier for you in the days ahead. Zargulon 07:44, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

Thank you for your response[edit]

1. I don't understand what you mean by "a stepwise manner". That suggests, *to me* like you're suggesting that I should only change point at a time. But that's just a guess.

2. Far from throwing out the whole page I actually did my very best to keep as much as possible of the original. If you have time to take a printoutout of both versions you may find that I haven't been as savage an editor as you think.

3. For "myth" - in the first place from an article by Geoffrey Cowan, Dean of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California, and co-founder of the Clarence Darrow Foundation. I quote:

"For me, and many of my contemporaries, Clarence Darrow was more legend than fact, more myth than man. He was a composite of actors, like Paul Muni, Spencer Tracy, Orson Welles, and Henry Fonda, all of whom brought him to the screen and stage."
"American Lawyer", Dec 6th, 1999

Cowan is himself a lawyer. Dershowitz provides an interesting analysis of Cowan's views on Darrow in "America on Trial," pp.214-216.

This point is backed up by the regular discussions of the Scopes Trial, for example, where sections of Darrow's questioning of Bryan are frequently heavily edited in order to give the impression that Darrow "peppered Bryan with questions" ("Summer for the Gods", Larsen) when in fact he gave a very plodding performance ("America on Trial", Dershowitz).

And yes, I will get a user name

Man or Myth?[edit]

Yes, I meant 'one point at a time'. I really think you are more likely to get more of what you want that way.. that's not specifically a threat to revert, it's just my experience of how things will work out if and when other people become involved in this discussion..

Well it sure reads like a threat. especially since you are doing to my version of the entry exactly what you say I *shouldn't* do.

There are two points about the myth issue. Cowan seems to me to be explicitly qualifying the statement as being his own point of view (note for me and many of my contemporaries), so I'm uncomfortable about simply stating that the Darrow was more myth than man, and it sounds like a turn of phrase rather than a definitive statement anyway. I have never heard of or seen any of the films, so for me, what he did was actually more important. Also, this is an article about the man, not the myth, so although it is certainly appropriate to mention the movies and the fact that they are heavily fictionalized (I trust you on that...) I think that should go at the bottom (where it currently is!) Zargulon 09:54, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

1. I have never written or implied that "Darrow was more myth than man". What I wrote says: "He remains famous today as much for the myths that have grown up around him as for what he actually did." That specifically refers to how *many* people remember him in the present. It says NOTHING about what Darrow "was" or wasn't.

2. You say Cowan is "qualifying the statement as being his own point of view" - - so how do you explain that he is claiming that this is how he AND "many of my contemporaries" think of Darrow? He is quite clearly claiming that many other people in and around the legal profession share his view.

3. I notice that you offer no comment on the title of Jensen's book, though this clearly supports Cowan's statement.

4. Nor do you respond to my point about the widespread editing of Darrow's cross-examination of Bryan - which is always done so as to present an unrealisticly favourable view of Darrow. In other words - more myth making.

5. OK, so **you** haven't seen the films, which is fine, as long as the article is supposed to be entirely **your** POV. But as you well know, that is exactly what it should NOT be.
The point is that the play and original movie version of ''Inherit the Wind'' are read and/or seen by hundreds of thousands of students (school and college/university) each year, especially in the USA. And both the movie and the play present an inaccurate/mythical version of Darrow. The point of this article, as far as I'm concerned, is to provide a balanced, neutral description of the man and his work - thus dispelling many of the myths. So I believe the comment is both accurate AND belongs in the introduction to the article.

By the way, since you mention the one man show does that mean that you *have* seen that show? And have you read "Farmington" (which may be autobiographical but is presented a a novel)? By your logic you should only refer those things of which you have first hand experience.

And lastly, from your comments may I take it that you are actually Phil Welch? It seems like a reasonable explanation of your attitude - especially your claim that it is "impolite" to edit a whole article at one time.
If this is the case, I apologise for any upset I may have caused you. However I feel it only fair to direct your attention to this bullet point from the bottom of the standard editing page:

"If you do not want your writing to be edited mercilessly and redistributed at will, do not submit it."


Wow.. for a moment there after your previous comment I really thought you seriously wanted to have a collaborative effort to improve the page. My bad.. sorry. Zargulon 12:18, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

Please explain[edit]

To: Zargulon: Well, you asked for references, and then you misinterpreted one and ignored the rest. Moreover you rejected part of the evidence simply on the basis that it doesn't tally with *your* personal experience. This is clearly abn example of imposing your own POV on the material - in direct contravention of the Wikipedia guidelines.
Still, I'm willing to give it another stab. You say you think changes should be made one step at a time. So what's the first change that you are willing to accept without reverting?

To Phil Welch: Please explain the specific edits which you believe are POV?
By the way, what is "Zargulon"? Klingon? Romulon?

You'd have to ask him. I really don't have time at the moment to detail my objections. By the way, you can sign your edits with ~~~~ and register an account above. — Phil Welch 22:46, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

Zargulon is just a nonsense word.. nothing interesting I'm afraid. Zargulon 23:01, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

First Step[edit]

To Phil: Just one example would suffice. I'm simply trying to find out what *you* mean by "POV".

To Zargulon: Well, we progress. It really would help, though, if you signalled on the Discussion page that you had made a change. If you check the History you will see that I reverted to my version this morning (before I'd had my first cup of coffee) - and then restored your amended version when I realised that you'd made changes. If I hadn't visited the "History" page and spotted the revision I would have left my version in place and might have given you the idea that I wasn't ready to accept anything short of a complete edit.

Anyway, my question now is "You've accepted some amendments - mainly additions, I *think* - but you have removed all links, and the references, even those directly relevant to the material you've accepted." Given that providing references that can be checked by Wikipedia editors, and anyone else interested in the material, is specifically requested in the Wikipedia guidelines I don't understand why you have done this?

I also notice that you have not amended the comment which claims that Darrow took many pro bono cases. Could you please provide a source for that claim? Eric

Please feel free to put in the links that are relevant to the part about Darrow's early career.. I just didn't know which ones were and which ones weren't. Zargulon 08:51, 30 September 2005 (UTC)

Thank you. I won't be around over the w/end, but I'll be back next week to see what else we can agree on.

Create Account Difficulties[edit]

to Phil and Zargulon: I HAVE applied for a user name, but for some reason I haven't yet received a password.

You have to choose your own password. There should be four boxes on the registration screen: name, E-mail(optional), password and retype password. Once you fill all these in and press submit, you should have an account.

Testing, testing: 13:37, 30 September 2005 (UTC)

Well I never!
Now how do I change the IP address to read "Eric"?

Sorry about that, usually it works straight away. First check a couple of things. You ought to be signing your edits with 4 (four) tilde characters in a row. Are you..? Second of all, change your nickname to Eric by clicking on preferences at the top right, and then filling in Eric in the "nickname" box. Zargulon 13:45, 30 September 2005 (UTC)

Pro Bono[edit]

The statement that Darrow only took one case pro bono was false and was removed. Read Irving Stone's book or any other for a reference.

The statement that he was always in pursuant of wealth has no basis.

--AceLT 08:44, 1 May 2006 (UTC)AceLT

I spent some time on this page but it is still has alot of errors. I see that there has been some reversions. Has alot been lost in the process?

--AceLT 08:59, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

Removed quote in into. Quotes go in the linked quote page

Quote from Irving Stone's biography[edit]

When Darrow found that the McNamaras were responsible for destroying bridges: "He felt like a man with a rumbling volcano in his pocket, trying to hold back the eruption with his naked hand." p.278

Does this sentence sound odd to anyone else?

Rakovsky 07:08, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

J.H. Fox/Brazelton Case[edit]

The Fox case which was deleted should be kept. The citation is clear, July 23 1915 Chicago Tribune, and the facts are indisputable. Darrow represented Fox in an effort to have Brazelton committed to an insane asylum against her will. Please don't delete factual information.

Citation needed

--AceLT 19:05, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

"regular Clarence Darrow"[edit]

Does anyone know what the expression means when you refer to someone as "a regular Clarence Darrow?" If so, could you address this and add it to this topic or a related one? --WikiCrazy 01:56, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Ossian Sweet[edit]

This section does not explicity state which party Darrow defended: the whites or the blacks. The reader should not have to guess based on the material presented. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ligart (talkcontribs) 14:56, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

Bio Info[edit]

First off, thanks to all who have contributed to this page. As I read it, however, it seems to be lacking a bit in the biographical information. Married? Kids? I read several other articles that mention his cross examination of W.J. Bryan, and was interested in his religion or lack of it. The article mentions he was an agnostic, could you expand on that? What were the circumstances of his later life and death? I read he was devastated by the Depression. Did he die alone and broke? Again, not trying to be a critic and I know I can do the research myself and modify, but I'm no writer. Thanks! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:51, 7 January 2008 (UTC)


I've removed the adjective "famous" from "famous statesman", not because I doubt it but because of the redundancy. One of the first things I learned as a journalist was that it was pointless to call people "famous" or "well-known". If they are famous or well-known, people will have heard of them. If they haven't heard of them, they are neither famous nor well-known.Les woodland (talk) 07:32, 13 January 2008 (UTC)les woodland

ACLU attachment[edit]

I strongly disagree that mention of Darrow's affiliation is "an advertisement" in any form. It isn't as far as I am concerned. Rather, it is an important fact that reflects both upon him, his history and activities, and also upon the ACLU. 7&6=thirteen (talk) 21:58, 9 March 2008 (UTC) Stan

Agree. It's odd there's no mention. He was a member of the ACLU National Committee and they were behind the Scopes trial. (talk) 02:19, 12 June 2013 (UTC)

Big Trouble[edit]

Someone should add a section about his noted defense of Big Bill Haywood for the 1905 murder of the Idaho governor as recounted in J. Anthony Lucas's book, Big Trouble. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:10, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

McNamara Brothers[edit]

There are many errors and omissions in the paragraph 3 of of the section titled "From corporate lawyer to labor lawyer."

A good source for this topic is American Lightning by Howard Blum (2008).

I can see people have put a lot of work into this page and they are to be commended. I believe that this article would benefit from and edit by a trained historian and someone more knowledgeable about Darrow. I wince when I see used as a reference.

Haross1 (talk) 18:02, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

False Comment[edit]

The statement that Darrow lost all work for unions after the McNamara Brothers case is false. The WFM (Haywood) case in Idaho came after the McNamara case, and was probably equally as well known to most Americans in the first half of the 20th Century. The statement should be removed. I have added a paragraph about the Haywood trial, but more could be added about it. For it not to be included as one of Darrow's most important cases is unimaginable. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:09, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Darrow Rewrite[edit]

I am working on a biography of Darrow for Doubleday, and will be happy to work on this entry over the coming months. I also administrate a Facebook group, "Admirers of Clarence Darrow." My web page is jafJafarrell (talk) 23:25, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

Clarence Darrow, beautifully portrayed by Gary Anderson[edit]

I wanted to highlight a wonderful actor name Gary Anderson. He does a wonderful Clarence Darrow ans has a foundation and performs all over the country. He's website is . He performed for the Marin County Woman Lawyers and he was absolutely wonderful. I highly recommend his shows. Anna Gregorian, Esq., Lakeport, California. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:55, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

Objection: Distinction between the Theory of Evolution and evolution of human beings[edit]

The current text of this entry on Clarence Darrow includes the following: "The law made it illegal for public school teachers in Tennessee to teach that man evolved from lower organisms, but the law was sometimes interpreted as meaning that the law forbade the teaching of any aspect of the theory of evolution. The law did not prohibit the teaching of evolution of any other species of plant or animal."

I can understand why someone might write this, but I think it's inaccurate. If a person thinks that evolution generally is different from the evolution of humans, then the Butler Act seems ambiguous. It reads first: "An act prohibiting the teaching of the Evolution Theory in all of the Universities, Normals, and other public schools... " That sounds to me like it outlaws evolution, period. The Act goes on to say, "That it shall be unlawful for any teacher in any of the Universities, Normals and all other public schools of the State which are supported in whole or in part by the public schools funds of the State, 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."

The theory of evolution accounts for the evolution of all organisms, including humans, so any coverage of evolution would cover humans, even when humans are not mentioned. To say that the Butler Act only outlawed the teaching of human evolution and not evolution generally is a little like saying that a law only outlawed the teaching of gravity as it applies to baseball and not to football or civil engineering. Gravity applies generally, not just in certain cases. Same for evolution. Basically, what I mean to say is that evolution includes the evolution of humans by default and the Butler Act seems to assume that as well. I am going to adjust the text accordingly. Eperotao (talk) 00:16, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

"(The theory of evolution is a scientific explanation for the origin of all living organisms, including humans; it therefore conforms to the latter description.)" seems to be factually incorrect, as the theory of evolution doesn't make any claims regarding "the origin of all living organisms", or abiogenesis, instead focusing exclusively on the process that is responsible for the way living organisms change generation after generation. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:56, 19 April 2013 (UTC)

Good point, and if no one objects, I will modify it. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 14:34, 22 April 2013 (UTC)

Needs a real biography, otherwise its title is wrong.[edit]

I am no authority on his life and literally know hardly anything about him, but I'm sure there are plenty of folks out there who do know. That said, there is only a brief paragraph about his "upbringing" but no mention anywhere about any other aspects of his personal life. If this be the case, the article should be titled The Career of Clarence Darrow rather than only Clarence Darrow. MagnoliaSouth (talk) 15:26, 21 October 2012 (UTC)