Quotes by Clarence Darrow

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Darrow, Clarence Seward (1857-1938), was the most famous American lawyer of the early 1900's. He became known worldwide as a brilliant criminal defender.
Darrow was born in Kinsman, Ohio, near Youngstown, on April 18, 1857. He studied law for a year at the University of Michigan and began practicing law in Ohio in the early 1880's. Darrow moved to Chicago in 1887 and later worked as an attorney for the city of Chicago and the Chicago & North Western Railway. Darrow represented Eugene V. Debs and other officials of the American Railway Union who were arrested for supporting the Pullman strike of 1894, which disrupted mail delivery. This case made him famous as a defender of labor interests. Darrow became active as a defense attorney for labor unions and served in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1903 to 1905. In 1911, Darrow went to Los Angeles to defend John J. and James B. McNamara. The brothers, both labor leaders, were charged with dynamiting the Los Angeles Times Building. Darrow had the McNamaras plead guilty and saved them from a probable death sentence. But he lost union support forever. Darrow returned to Chicago and started to specialize in criminal cases. He was nearly 70 years old when he tried his two most spectacular cases. In 1924, he defended Nathan F. Leopold, Jr., and Richard A. Loeb, who admitted kidnapping and murdering 14-year-old Bobby Franks in an attempt to commit a perfect crime. Darrow used psychiatric evidence to argue that the 19-year-old Leopold and 18-year-old Loeb were mentally ill. His goal was to keep them from receiving the death sentence, which he strongly opposed. Leopold and Loeb each received a sentence of life imprisonment plus 99 years. In 1925, Darrow helped attract widespread attention to the Scopes trial in Dayton, Tennessee. In this case, he defended the right of John T. Scopes to teach the theory of evolution in public school. Darrow died on March 13, 1938.

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It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.

The first half of our life is ruined by our parents and the second half by our children.
I am an agnostic; I do not pretend to know what many ignorant men are sure of.
You can protect your liberties in this world only by protecting the other man's freedom. You can be free only if I am free.
Just think of the tragedy of teaching children not to doubt.
I do not pretend to know where many ignorant men are sure -- that is all that agnosticism means.
I don’t believe in God because I don’t believe in Mother Goose
Chase after the truth like all hell and you'll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat tails.
Even if you do learn to speak correct English, whom are you going to speak it to?
History repeats itself. That's one of the things wrong with history.
You can only be free if I am free.
At twenty a man is full of fight and hope. He wants to reform the world. When he is seventy he still wants to reform the world, but he know he can't.
When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President. Now I'm beginning to believe it.
There is no such thing as justice, in or out of court.
I never wanted to see anybody die, but there are a few obituary notices I have read with pleasure.
The pursuit of truth will set you free; even if you never catch up with it.
With all their faults, trade unions have done more for humanity than any other organization of men that ever existed. They have done more for decency, for honesty, for education, for the betterment of the race, for the developing of character in man, than any other association of men.
He's the greatest man who ever came out of Plymouth, Vermont. [On Calvin Coolidge]
I am a friend of the working man, and I would rather be his friend, than be one.

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