portrait of Clarence Darrow
1922 portrait by Herzog Studio, Rockford, Illinois

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Quotes of the Day for 18 April 2004 – Clarence Darrow

Clarence Seward Darrow was born at Kinsman, Ohio on this day in 1857, the son of the town's undertaker. As a boy he watched as a young local man went off to the Civil War, and he attended that young man's funeral less than a year later; an experience that made him oppose death at every chance. He joined the Ohio bar in 1878 and practiced there for nine years before moving to Chicago in 1887 where he became counsel for the city and later for the Chicago and Northwest Railroad. He left the railroad to defend Eugene V. Debs, the head of the striking union, and from then on was a defense attorney, often for hopeless causes and extremely unsympathetic clients. He defended at least 100 clients on trial for murder, and though many of them were found guilty, none of them was put to death. He defended John Scopes in the infamous "Scopes Monkey Trial" at Dayton, Tennessee; he might have won after brilliantly calling the prosecutor (William Jennings Bryan) to testify, but instead he demanded the jury render a guilt verdict so he could appeal to a higher court. He was extremely good with words, speaking for hours without notes in final arguments, so there were a lot of quotes to choose from.

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You will find an expanded profile, photo, additional biographical links, and all quotes from this author on the author's Notable Quotable page.

The quotes:

As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever.

Just think of the tragedy of teaching children not to doubt.

To think is to differ.

True patriotism hates injustice in its own land more than anywhere else.

We know life is futile. A man who considers that his life is of very wonderful importance is awfully close to a padded cell.

When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it.
     - All from Clarence Seward Darrow, 1857 - 1938

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