Image of Robert Ingersoll

Timeline

Lifetime: 1833 - 1899 Passed: ≈ 124 years ago

Title

Politician, Orator, Lecturer

Country/Nationality

United States
Wikipedia

Robert Ingersoll

Robert Green Ingersoll was an American lawyer, writer, and orator during the Golden Age of Free Thought, who campaigned in defense of agnosticism. He was nicknamed "The Great Agnostic".

Robert Ingersoll was born in Dresden, New York. His father, John Ingersoll, was an abolitionist-sympathizing Congregationalist preacher, whose radical opinions caused him and his family to relocate frequently. For a time, Rev. John Ingersoll substituted as preacher for American revivalist Charles G. Finney while Finney was on a tour of Europe. Upon Finney's return, Rev. Ingersoll remained for a few months as co-pastor/associate pastor with Finney. 

During 1853, "Bob" Ingersoll taught a term of school in Metropolis, Illinois, where he let one of his students, the future Judge Angus M. L. McBane, do the "greater part of the teaching, while Latin and history occupied his own attention". At some time prior to his Metropolis position, Ingersoll had also taught school in Mount Vernon, Illinois.

Ingersoll was married, February 13, 1862, to Eva Amelia Parker (1841–1923). They had two daughters. The elder daughter, Eva Ingersoll-Brown, was a renowned feminist and suffragist.

With the beginning of the American Civil War, he raised the 11th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Cavalry of the Union Army and assumed command.

After the war, he served as Illinois Attorney General. He was a prominent member of the Republican Party and, though he never had an elected job, he was nonetheless an active participant in politics. According to Robert Nisbet, Ingersoll was a "staunch Republican."

Ingersoll died from congestive heart failure at the age of 65. Soon after his death, his brother-in-law, Clinton P. Farrell, collected copies of Ingersoll's speeches for publication. The 12-volume Dresden Editions kept interest in Ingersoll's ideas alive and preserved his speeches for future generations. Ingersoll's ashes are interred in Arlington National Cemetery.

Books by Robert Ingersoll

Lectures of Col. R.G. Ingersoll, Volume 1 Cover image

Lectures of Col. R.G. Ingersoll, Volume 1

Non-Fiction
Contemporary Atheism Agnosticism

Colonel Robert Green Ingersoll was a Civil War veteran, American political leader and orator during the Golden Age of Freethought, noted for his defense of atheism. This book is the first of two volumes collecting Ingersoll's speeches.

Lectures of Col. R.G. Ingersoll, Volume 2 Cover image

Lectures of Col. R.G. Ingersoll, Volume 2

Non-Fiction Religion
Contemporary Atheism Agnosticism

A second volume of lectures by the most famous orator of the 19th century. Ingersoll was a tireless crusader for the dignity of humanity, and a relentless opponent of organized religion.

Mistakes of Moses Cover image

Mistakes of Moses

Non-Fiction Religion
Free Will Atheism Bible Agnosticism

Robert G. Ingersoll was an extremely popular humanist orator in the late nineteenth century, and he wrote Mistakes of Moses after many bootlegged versions of his speeches had been published and circulated. In Mistakes of Moses, through a close, liter...

Lectures of Col. R. G. Ingersoll, Volume 1  Cover image

Lectures of Col. R. G. Ingersoll, Volume 1

Non-Fiction Essays
Contemporary Short Works Atheism Agnosticism

Colonel Robert Green Ingersoll was a Civil War veteran, American political leader and orator during the Golden Age of Freethought, noted for his defense of atheism. This book is the first of two volumes collecting Ingersoll's speeches.

The Works Of Robert G. Ingersoll, Volume 4  Cover image

The Works Of Robert G. Ingersoll, Volume 4

Essays
19th century Short Works America Civil War Church Technology Atheism Agnosticism United States

The Woodpeckers is a wonderful introduction to the world of bird study for the young naturalist, covering such topics as how he finds food, courting, how he builds his nest, the interesting ways he uses his different body parCol. Robert G. Ingersoll,...

Lectures of Col. R. G. Ingersoll, Volume 2  Cover image

Lectures of Col. R. G. Ingersoll, Volume 2

Religion
19th century History Religious Humanity Atheism Agnosticism

A second volume of lectures by the most famous orator of the 19th century. Ingersoll was a tireless crusader for the dignity of humanity, and a relentless opponent of organized religion.