Clarence Darrow: The Creation of an American Myth

By Richard J. Jensen | Go to book overview

3
The Old Lion: Defending Leopold and Loeb

Although Darrow had an active career as a defense attorney after his bribery trials in 1911 and 1912, no trial seized the public's attention during that period of time as much as the Leopold-Loeb murder case in Chicago in 1924. The sensational nature of that trial captured national headlines, and the drama of the trial did much to build the Darrow myth: "Darrow received more national attention for his defense of Leopold and Loeb than for any of his previous cases." The combination of the Leopold-Loeb case and the Scopes trial the following year "assured his reputation as America's most famous attorney." 1

Although much of Darrow's law practice was spent defending the poor and the downtrodden, he chose to defend Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold, the sons of two prominent and wealthy families, for the murder of a fourteen-year-old neighbor, Bobby Franks. Although many questioned his acceptance of the case, the sensational nature of the trial gave Darrow a national platform from which to argue against the death penalty.

On the afternoon of May 21, 1924, Loeb (age eighteen) and Leopold (age nineteen) drove around their neighborhood looking for a young

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Clarence Darrow: The Creation of an American Myth
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Series Foreword ix
  • Foreword xiii
  • I- Clarence Darrow 1
  • Introduction 8
  • 1- The Making of a Nonconformist 11
  • 2- Schoolmaster of the Courtroom 29
  • 3- The Old Lion 61
  • Educating the Masses- Darrow in Tennessee 85
  • 5- Speaking for the Poor and Weak 113
  • 6- Verdicts out of Court 141
  • II- Collected Speeches 153B
  • Speech in Self-Defense Los Angeles, 1912 155
  • Speech in Defense of Leopold and Loeb Chicago, 1924 167
  • Speech at Scopes Trial - Dayton, Tennessee, 1925 199
  • Speech at Sweet Trial - Detroit, 1926 219
  • Speech at Massie Trial Honolulu 1932 253
  • Eulogy of John P. Altgeld Chicago, 1902 267
  • Address to Prisoners in Cook County Jail Chicago, 1902 271
  • Chronology of Speeches 285
  • Bibliography 297
  • Index 325
  • About the Author 329
  • Great American Orators 331
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