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The judge surprises the courtroom by sentencing Cates only to a one hundred dollar fine. The governor of the state has given him direct orders to return a mild sentence and to let things die down on the case. Drummond, however, promises to appeal the verdict even though he considers the outcome of the trial a victory. He knows that the truth about censorship has been revealed, and many people have accepted it.
Brady, trying to regain some popularity, tries to give a speech, but no one wants to listen to him. He grows so upset that he has a stroke. As he is carried out of the courtroom, he is mumbling an inaugural address that he never gets to deliver. Rachel Brown comes into the room carrying her suitcase and a copy of Darwin's Origin of the Species, which she has just finished reading. She says she has realized that Cates was right to stand up for his beliefs and admits that she has been afraid of having her own thoughts all her life. Now she is eager to leave town with Cates to build a new future with him. Before they depart, word arrives that Brady has died. When Drummond says he is saddened by his death, Hornbeck makes fun of Drummond, calling him a hypocrite.