Ingersoll, Robert Green
plumed knightspeech. He served (1867–69) as attorney general of Illinois, but his antireligious beliefs prevented any further advance.
the great agnostic, Ingersoll questioned the tenets of Christian belief in such lectures as
The Gods (1872),
Some Mistakes of Moses (1879),
Why I Am an Agnostic (1896), and
Superstition (1898), drawing large audiences through his eloquence and irreverent wit and provoking denunciations from the orthodox. He also spoke eloquently in favor of women's rights and against racism and the death penalty. One of the greatest orators of his day, Ingersoll was acclaimed by Henry Ward Beecher as the
most brilliant speaker of the English tongue of all the men on the globe. His lectures were widely read for a generation; the Dresden edition of his works (12 vol., 1900) has been reprinted several times.
See his letters, ed. by E. I. Wakefield (1951, repr. 1974); biographies by C. H. Cramer (1952), O. P. Larson (1962), D. D. Anderson (1972), and S. Jacoby (2013).
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