Clarence Darrow: Summation to the Jury


The People v. Clarence Darrow
August 15, 1912

“The McNamara case came like a thunderclap upon the world. What was it? A building had been destroyed and twenty lives had been lost. It shocked the world. Whether it was destroyed by accident or by violence no one knew and yet everyone had an opinion. Everybody who sympathized with the corporations believed it was dynamite, everyone who sympathized with the workingman believed something else. Society was in open rupture, the weak and the poor and workers whom I had served were rallying to the defense of the unions and to the defense of their homes. They called on me. I did not want to go. I urged them to take someone else. But I had to lie down my own preferences and take the case. There was a direct cleavage in society. Those who hated unions, and those who loved them. The fight was growing fiercer and bitterer day by day. It was a class struggle, filled with all the venom and bitterness born of a class struggle. These two great contending armies were meeting in almost mortal combat. No one could see the end.”

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