Professor Ed Larson Quoted in "Republicans Are Trying to Suppress More Than Votes" -- The Atlantic
Professor Edward J. Larson is quoted as a historical legal reference in the Atlantic article, "Republicans Are Trying to Suppress More Than Votes." The article considers restrictive laws from school curriculum to the ballot box.
Excerpt from "Republicans Are Trying to Suppress More Than Votes."
The current wave of race-related proposals could become the most intrusive and expansive restrictions on classroom instruction since the spate of 1920s laws that banned the teaching of evolution. (Conservative states passed another spasm of laws mandating the teaching of “creation science” in the late ’70s and early ’80s.) Though approved statewide in only a few places, the 1920s bans were adopted by school districts in all areas of the country, notes Edward J. Larson, a professor of history and law at Pepperdine University.
The restrictions on teaching evolution emerged from the backlash against rapid social change after World War I that also generated, among other things, a virtually complete ban on immigration, the Palmer Raids against subversives, and Prohibition. “It was part of the angst connected with the Roaring ’20s,” Larson told me; his book Summer for the Gods is a classic history of the 1925 Scopes “monkey trial,” which crystallized the battle over teaching evolution. “There was an anti-science aspect; there was a distrust of elites; there was an exhaustion from the war; there was a reaction against the seeming decadence of the [Great] Gatsby era.”
The conservative religious leaders pushing the evolution bans, mostly white evangelicals, had a two-sided agenda, Larson noted. Playing defense, they feared that teaching evolution would lure young people away from their faith; on offense, they thought that banning its teaching would mold the growing numbers of immigrant children into more reliable Americans (as they defined it). The schools “were being filled with immigrants’ kids,” and the religious conservatives pushing the bans felt, “‘We want to reach them … and we don’t want them to become Bolsheviks,’ which was a real worry,” Larson said.
The complete article may be found at The Atlantic