The Scopes trial represented a clash between the traditionalists and the modernists. The 1920s were a time of much change. Women were wearing shorter dresses. They were drinking and smoking in public. They were more outspoken than in the past. Some women began working outside of the home. It became easier for people to travel from place to place with the invention of the automobile. Kids no longer needed their parents to chaperone them on dates. There were new forms of music also.
The traditionalists believed all of these changes were taking our country down the wrong moral path. They felt these changes were evidence of a moral decline in our country. They were upset that schools were teaching evolution instead of creationism. In some states that were very conservative and had many people with traditional religious beliefs, laws were passed that made it illegal to teach evolution. When John T. Scopes taught evolution, he was arrested and put on trial. This trial was the flashpoint between traditional values and more modern ways of thinking and living.
The traditionalists had a difficult time with all of the changes occurring in society in the 1920s. They used the debate between evolution and creation to highlight their displeasure with all of these changes.