The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll, Vol. 12 (of 12) Dresden Edition—Miscellany

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Paperback, Pages. This item has not been rated yet. Hint: You can preview this book by clicking on "Preview" which is located under the cover of this book. About the author: Robert Green "Bob" Ingersoll August 11, — July 21, was an American lawyer, a Civil War veteran, political leader, and orator of the United States during the Golden Age of Free Thought, noted for his broad range of culture and his defense of agnosticism. He was nicknamed "The Great Agnostic". Robert Ingersoll was born in Dresden, New York.

His father, John Ingersoll, was an abolitionist-leaning Congregationalist preacher, whose radical views forced his family to move frequently. For a time, Rev.

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John Ingersoll filled the pulpit for American revivalist Charles G. Finney while Finney was on a tour of Europe.

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Upon Finney's return, Rev. Add to Cart.

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This is a natural right. You cannot force into my house persons whom I do not want. But there is a difference between a public house and a private house. The one is for the public. The private house is for the family and those they may invite. The landlord invites the entire public, and he must serve those who come if they are fit to be received. A railway is public, not private.


It derives its powers and its rights from the State. It takes private land for public purposes.

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  8. It is incorporated for the good of the public, and the public must be served. The railway, the hotel, and the theatre, have a right to make a distinction between people of good and bad manners—between the clean and the unclean. There are white people who have no right to be in any place except a bath-tub, and there are colored people in the same condition. An unclean white man should not be allowed to force himself into a hotel, or into a railway car—neither should the unclean colored. What I claim is, that in public places, no distinction should be made on account of race or color. The bad black man should be treated like the bad white man, and the good black man like the good white man.

    Social equality is not contended for—neither between white and white, black and black, nor between white and black. In all social relations we should have the utmost liberty—but public duties should be discharged and public rights should be recognized, without the slightest discrimination on account of race or color. Riding in the same cars, stopping at the same inns, sitting in the same theatres, no more involve a social question, or social equality, than speaking the same language, reading the same books, hearing the same music, traveling on the same highway, eating the same food, breathing the same air, warming by the same sun, shivering in the same cold, defending the same flag, loving the same country, or living in the same world.

    And yet, thousands of people are in deadly fear about social equality. They imagine that riding with colored people is dangerous—that the chance acquaintance may lead to marriage. They wish to be protected from such consequences by law. They dare not trust themselves. They appeal to the Supreme Court for assistance, and wish to be barricaded by a constitutional amendment. They are willing that colored women shall prepare their food—that colored waiters shall bring it to them—willing to ride in the same cars with the porters and to be shown to their seats in theatres by colored ushers—willing to be nursed in sickness by colored servants.

    They see nothing dangerous—nothing repugnant, in any of these relations,—but the idea of riding in the same car, stopping at the same hotel, fills them with fear—fear for the future of our race. Such people can be described only in the language of Walt Whitman. Liberty is not a social question.

    Civil equality is not social equality. We are equal only in rights. No two persons are of equal weight, or height. There are no two leaves in all the forests of the earth alike—no two blades of grass—no two grains of sand—no two hairs. No two any-things in the physical world are precisely alike.

    The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll, Vol. 12 (of 12)Dresden Edition—Miscellany

    Neither mental nor physical equality can be created by law, but law recognizes the fact that all men have been clothed with equal rights by Nature, the mother of us all. The man who hates the black man because he is black, has the same spirit as he who hates the poor man because he is poor. It is the spirit of caste.

    The proud useless despises the honest useful. The parasite idleness scorns the great oak of labor on which it feeds, and that lifts it to the light.

    I am the inferior of any man whose rights I trample under foot. Men are not superior by reason of the accidents of race or color. They are superior who have the best heart—the best brain. Superiority is born of honesty, of virtue, of charity, and above all, of the love of liberty. The superior man is the providence of the inferior. He is eyes for the blind, strength for the weak, and a shield for the defenceless. He stands erect by bending above the fallen. He rises by lifting others.

    In this country all rights must be preserved, all wrongs redressed, through the ballot.

    Miscellany - Robert Green Ingersoll - Google Books

    The colored man has in his possession in his care, a part of the sovereign power of the Republic. At the ballot-box he is the equal of judges and senators, and presidents, and his vote, when counted, is the equal of any other. He must use this sovereign power for his own protection, and for the preservation of his children. The ballot is his sword and shield. It is his political providence. It is the rock on which he stands, the column against which he leans. He should vote for no man who dees not believe in equal rights for all—in the same privileges and immunities for all citizens, irrespective of race or color.

    He should not be misled by party cries, or by vague promises in political platforms. He should vote for the men, for the party, that will protect him; for congressmen who believe in liberty, for judges who worship justice, whose brains are not tangled by technicalities, and whose hearts are not petrified by precedents; and for presidents who will protect the blackest citizen from the tyranny of the whitest State. As you cannot trust the word of some white people, and as some black people do not always tell the truth, you must compel all candidates to put their principle' in black and white.

    Of one thing you can rest assured: The best white people are your friends. The humane, the civilized, the just, the most intelligent, the grandest, are on your side. The sympathies of the noblest are with you. Your enemies are also the enemies of liberty, of progress and of justice. The white men who make the white race honorable believe in equal rights for you. The noblest living are, the noblest dead were, your friends.