Clarence Darrow is a well known libertarian lawyer who took up highly unpopular cases.

He probably is most famous for is the Scopes Monkey Trial, later adapted for the movies with Spencer Tracy cast as Darrow, where he defended the Tennessee teacher, John Scopes, who it was claimed taught his students a theory proposed, and still unproven, by Charles Darwin in his second book, The Descent of Man. Darwin’s earlier book, Origen of the Species, was his treatise on evolution through adaptation and mutation, that book is considered a scientific classic.

After the trial, which he and Darrow lost, Scopes admitted he did not teach Darwin’s evolution theory but was willing to go along with Darrow to champion the idea. He lost, but it got bot the idea and Darrow a lot of publicity. It is now the main scientific theory regarding man’s existence taught in American schools today.

Read more: #J245 For the Defense, Clarence Darrow

From Haymarket to Loeb

Clarence Seward Darrow was born . in Farmdale, Ohio on April 18, 1857. I read his parents were both freethinkers that fought the local school board for their son not to have to attend public school but be home schooled. They lost and moved out of the towns jurisdiction so they could follow their own philosophy and be unencumbered by the police and school officials.

He attended law school for only one year before being admitted to the Ohio bar in 1878 at twenty-one. He moved to Chicago in 1887 and immediately took part in attempts to free the anarchists charged with murder in the Haymarket Riot. Looking at the chart below, we see Darrow was indeed strongly supportive of the riots, as his moon is conjunct the riot’s moon, showing great sympathy for the rioters. His aggressive Mars is conjunct the riot’s Sun, all in the seventh house, which represents opportunities through other people.

Finally, the supportive aspect of Uranus, to his obligatory Neptune tells us he felt compelled to represent them as legal counsel out of his belief in social justice, while the progression chart in orange highlights how a penumbral eclipse (on May 9th) was the spark for his eloquent defense.

The Loeb Death Penalty case

While he lost the case, Illinois Governor Altgeld, pardoned the mostly German protestors, while the outcry from the mostly Irish police, seven of whom they killed in the riots, was ignored. Dean Strang, a criminal defense lawyer in Milwaukee, and adjunct professor in the University of Wisconsin’s College of Law, documents this disparity in reward for lawless behaviour, caused great hardship for the officers widows and families, for they received just a one time payout of $3,000.00 and a loss of permanent income, versus the freed protestors resumed their trades, remained solvent and ironically could continue their rebellion.

In another famous case, highlighted this time by Alfred Hitchcock in Rope, Darrow saved (1924) Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold , often referred to as “teenage thrill killers” from a death sentence for the arbitrary kidnapping and murder of 12-year-old Bobby Franks in Chicago as they exercised their right to hold life and death over a lesser mortal i.e. Bobby.

Darrow was strongly and often vehemently fought against the death penalty, and his argument in the Franks has remained the standard for its non-application because of his ability to mingle sentimentality and second chances. Thus the judge waived the death penalty here and gave the two a lifetime sentence. (see Mars in Libra sextile to his Midheaven at 22 Leo 14).

“People talk of criminals as though they were utterly different from ‘good’ people.” He argued that there was no such thing as good or better people and that the same instincts and emotions drive all people. “All men have an emotion to kill; when they strongly dislike someone they involuntarily wish he was dead. While I have killed no one , I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction.” from the Clarence Darrow’s The Story of my Life.

Today use of the death penalty is minimally applied, despite public support for it in murder cases, showing Darrow’s long lasting affect — his ascendant in Scorpio gets the keyword of “regeneration” showing how he could reterm the whole idea of usages as something barbaric and retributive, for while it is legal in 27 states, most have not carried out an execution in the past five or ten years, accordingly to, a site that documents it use throughout the world.

He was great friends with Mother Mary (Harris) Jones, a community organiser, and Terence V. Powderly, both strong trade unionists. An audio biography of Jones is over here, No chart can erected for Jones as her birthdate in Ireland is unknown.

The Chart’s View

The chart is from Marc Edmund Jones and his Sabian Symbols book. This gives him the rise of 13 Scorpio or ” in the rattle trap wood barn an earnest man intently creates his success.” This Jones writes is the symbol of “a driving power towards the achievement by which all humanity benefits.”

We find his life challenge in the opposition of Mars, in the seventh house — this is his closest square — to his ascendant showing how much he believed he was the upholder of personal liberty (Mars is in its detriment there). Darrow is an Eastern bowl without a rim highlighting that he allowed all influences to come into his personal domain and not filter those he did not like or be influenced by public opinion. Because there is no rim there, he openly sought those challenges.

His large preponderance in the sixth house of public service shows how much that meant to him, but it is also part of the Trine of Rewards and also suggests that the numerary rewards was no small consideration. His mutual reception between the Moon and Saturn is rather striking and supports the exchange between the third house of communications and other people’s money of the eighth which came from the moneyed union coffers of the sixth.

The police finally got wise to being on the wrong side of union money and unionized in the early 20th century, though not until after the infamous 1917 bombing of Milwaukee headquarters. 1 More police were killed here since the chicago Haymarket riots. This record fell nearly a hundred years later with the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11. .

Books and Movies on Darrow

The title of the post is from author Irving Stone’s book, Clarence Darrow for the defense, published in 1941 by Putnam. It can be found on It is a well-written book but Stone gives a very flattering portrait of Darrow. Still because it was written so long ago it has gotten a large amount of respect, being the only book on the man helps, as well as the inspiration for the T.V. Show now on Netflix, Jimmy McGill aka Better Call Saul {Goodman.}.

Two more recent books on Darrow’s life are Clarence Darrow Attorney for the damned by James Farrell., published by Doubleday. Farrell gives a rather blistering biopic, but it is better researched than Stone’s hagiography. Kirkus reviews discusses Farrell’s work here.

Also in 2013, the University of Wisconsin brought out, Worse than the Devil: Anarchists, Clarence Darrow and Justine in a time of Terror,” by Dean A. Strang, who highlights Darrow’s work supporting the Communist Party in America and other anarchist activities in America..


  • 1
    More police were killed here since the chicago Haymarket riots. This record fell nearly a hundred years later with the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11. .

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