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Clarence Darrow (1857-1938)
Transcript of Clarence Darrow (1857-1938)
Clarence Darrow (1857-1938)
Who was Darrow?
Where did he get his ideas from?
During the period in which Darrow moved to Chicago, he read the work of radical journalist Henry George, from this work Darrow claimed to have 'learned more about the motives that move individuals and communities' As a young lawyer Darrow was mostly impressed by the book: 'Our Penal Machinery and Its Victims' by John Peter Altgeld. A book which claimed that the American criminal law system favored the rich over the poor.
Why did he do what he did?
Clarence Darrow first became a lawyer as he was always interested in political questions. He later moved to Chicago in search of more 'interesting' work.
Darrow began to pick up cases which were rendered hopeless and threatened with inevitable death-row
How did his private and public life compare?
Clarence Darrow's morals came from his parents. His father, a supporter of reform politics and an opponent of slavery. His mother, a hard determinist, giving him the name Clarence to convey the fate that he could not control. Both his parents greatly admired William.H Seward an outspoken abolitionist.
All these aspects of his early life influenced Darrows decision to become a lawyer, a lawyer focused on the morals of his cases rather than the money.
What was his view on the behaviour of mankind?
Clarence Darrow was a hard determinist. This means he believed that we all have absolutely no freewill therefore we cannot be held responsible for our actions. His view on the behaviour of mankind was that it was beyond the control of an individual. This could explain why Darrow typically pleaded innocent when defending his clients, this notion was most evident in the Leopold and Loeb case, where he pleaded innocent for the two boys and that there actions was the caus eof the society that they live in.
What were the 3 trials that brought him to the publics attention?
1. Leopold and Loeb Trial
Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold found guilty of murdering Robert 'Bobby' Franks. Saved from the gallows by Darrow.
2. Scopes Monkey Trial
John Scopes accused of breaking Tennesses Butler Act and unlawfully teaching students human evolution. Scopes was found guilty and charged $100.
3. The Bill Haywood Trial
William Haywood accused of murdering Frank Steunberg with an explosion. Haywood was acquitted.
Clarence Darrow was born in Kinsmin, Ohio on 18th April 1857. He was an opponent of slavery and was brought up as a supporter of reformist politicians. As a child Darrow was interested in politics and law. After finishing education at the University of Michigan Law School, Darrow became a small-town lawyer before following on to become one of America's well-known lawyers.
"From my youth I was always interested in political questions. My father, like many others in northern Ohio, had early come under the spell of Horace Greeley... I was fifteen years old when Horace Greeley ran for the presidency. My father was an enthusiastic supporter of Greeley and I joined with him; and well do I remember the gloom and despair that clouded our home when we received the news of his defeat."
What sort of man was he?
Did he have any religious views?
Darrow was one of the most compassionate lawyers. Most of his cases were handled at no cost for people who simply required a good lawyer. He also didn't demand enourmous payments from his notorious clients if there was a good cause behind it. Along with his compassion and good-will Darrow focused on solely delivering justice for both sides of the party, for the defendant and prosecutor.
Clarence Darrow was brought up as an agnostic after his father lost faith. Despite Darrow being an agnostic this did not stop him from being a compassionate man, against capital punishment.