An American lawyer and orator in the late 19th century; a rather well-known and controversial figure in his time. Ingersoll was a Colonel in the United States Army during the Civil War, and afterward alternated between practicing law and going around the country speaking on a variety of topics; most often the merits of agnosticism and freethought and the ills of Christianity, most especially those stemming from Biblical literalism and fundamentalism.

Though his political views might be considered somewhat conservative in our time, he was in many respects a radical in his own time, particularly with respect to civil liberties. He fought laws on blasphemy and obscenity (although his definition of obscenity was still much broader than is usually used today), argued (to some degree) against the treatment of women as second-class citizens, and publicly denounced the Chinese Exclusion Act.

His most well-known written work is a book entitled Some Mistakes of Moses, sort of a Biblical criticism of the Pentateuch for laymen.

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