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Ebon C. Ingersoll

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ebon C. Ingersoll
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 5th district
In office
May 20, 1864 – March 3, 1871
Preceded byOwen Lovejoy
Succeeded byBradford N. Stevens
Member of the Illinois House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born(1831-12-12)December 12, 1831
Dresden, New York
DiedMay 31, 1879(1879-05-31) (aged 47)
Washington, D.C.
Political partyRepublican
Gravesite of Ebon Clark Ingersoll, Oak Hill Cemetery (Washington, D.C.)
Gravesite of Ebon Clark Ingersoll, Oak Hill Cemetery (Washington, D.C.)

Ebon Clark Ingersoll (December 12, 1831 – May 31, 1879) was a U.S. Representative from Illinois and the brother of the politician and orator Robert G. Ingersoll.

Born in Dresden, New York, Ingersoll moved to Wisconsin Territory in 1843 and subsequently to Illinois. He pursued classical studies in Peoria, Illinois, and in Paducah, Kentucky. He studied law. He was admitted to the bar in 1854 and commenced practice in Peoria, Illinois. He served as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives in 1856.

Ingersoll was elected as a Republican to the Thirty-eighth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Owen Lovejoy. He was re-elected to the Thirty-ninth, Fortieth, and Forty-first Congresses and served from May 20, 1864, to March 3, 1871. He served as chairman of the Committee on District of Columbia (Thirty-ninth and Fortieth Congresses), Committee on Roads and Canals (Forty-first Congress), Committee on Railways and Canals (Forty-first Congress). He was an unsuccessful candidate for re-election in 1870 to the Forty-second Congress. He settled in Washington, D.C., and engaged in the practice of law until his death there on May 31, 1879. A eulogy given at his funeral by his brother Robert was later included in an anthology compiled by Clarence Darrow and Wallace Rice. He was interred in Oak Hill Cemetery.

Ingersoll had a son, John Carter Ingersoll, who served as the American Consul in Cartagena, Colombia. He died in Colon, Colombia, in 1903.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ Individuality by Robert Ingersoll


Although we live in what is called a free government, -- and politically we are free, -- there is but little religious liberty in America. Society demands, either that you belong to some church, or that you suppress your opinions. It is contended by many that ours is a Christian government, founded upon the Bible, and that all who look upon that book as false or foolish are destroying the foundation of our country. The truth is, our government is not founded upon the rights of gods, but upon the rights of men. Our Constitution was framed, not to declare and uphold the deity of Christ, but the sacredness of humanity. Ours is the first government made by the people and for the people. It is the only nation with which the gods have had nothing to do. And yet there are some judges dishonest and cowardly enough to solemnly decide that this is a Christian country, and that our free institutions are based upon the infamous laws of Jehovah. Such judges are the Jeffries of the church. They believe that decisions, made by hirelings at the bidding of kings, are binding upon man forever. They regard old law as far superior to modern justice. They are what might be called orthodox judges. They spend their days in finding out, not what ought to be, but what has been. With their backs to the sunrise thy worship the night. There is only one future event with which they concern themselves, and that is their reelection. No honest court ever did, or ever will decide that our Constitution is Christian. The Bible teaches that the powers that be, are ordained of God. The Bible teaches that God is the source of all authority, and that all kings have obtained their power from him. Every tyrant has claimed to be the agent of the Most High. The Inquisition was founded, not in the name of man, but in the name of God. All the governments of Europe recognize the greatness of God, and the littleness of the people. In all ages, hypocrites, called priests, have put crowns upon the heads of thieves called kings. The Declaration of Independence announces the sublime truth, that all power comes from the people. This was a denial, and the first denial of a nation, of the infamous dogma that God confers the right upon one man to govern others. It was the first grand assertion of the dignity of the human race. It declared the governed to be the source of power, and in fact denied the authority of any and all gods. Through the ages of slavery -- through the weary centuries of the lash and chain, God was the acknowledged ruler of the world. To enthrone man, was to dethrone God. To Paine, Jefferson, and Franklin, are we indebted, more than to all others, for a human government, and for a Constitution in which no God is recognized superior to the legally expressed will of the people. They knew that to put God in the Constitution was to put man out. They knew that the recognition of a Deity would be seized upon by fanatics and zealots as a pretext for destroying the liberty of thought. They knew the terrible history of the church too well to place in her keeping, or in the keeping of her God, the sacred rights of man. They intended that all should have the right to worship, or not to worship; that our laws should make no distinction on account of creed. They intended to found and frame a government for man, and for man alone. They wished to preserve the individuality and liberty of all; to prevent the few from governing the many, and the many from persecuting and destroying the few. Notwithstanding all this, the spirit of persecution still lingers in our laws. In many of the States, only those who believe in the existence of some kind of God, are under the protection of the law. The supreme court of Illinois decided, in the year of grace 1856, that an unbeliever in the existence of an intelligent First Cause could not be allowed to testify in any court. His wife and children might have been murdered before his very face, and yet in the absence of other witnesses the murderer could not have even been indicted. The atheist was a legal outcast. To him, Justice was not only blind, but deaf. He was liable, like other men, to support the Government, and was forced to contribute his share towards paying the salaries of the very judges who decided that under no circumstances could his voice be heard in any court. This was the law of Illinois and so remained until the adoption of the new Constitution. By such infamous means has the church endeavored to chain the human mind, and protect the majesty of her God. The fact is, we have no national religion, and no national God; but every citizen is allowed to have a religion and a God of his own, or to reject all religions and deny the existence of all gods. The church, however, never has, and never will understand and appreciate the genius of our Government. Last year, in a convention of Protestant bigots, held in the city of New York for the purpose of creating public opinion in favor of a religious amendment to the Federal Constitution, a reverend doctor of divinity, speaking of atheists, said: What are the rights of the atheist? I would tolerate him as I would tolerate a poor lunatic. I would tolerate him as I would tolerate a conspirator. He may live and go free, hold his lands and enjoy his home -- he may even vote; but for any higher or more advanced citizenship, he is, as I hold, utterly disqualified. These are the sentiments of the church to-day. Give the church a place in the Constitution, let her touch once more the sword of power, and the priceless fruit of all the ages will turn to ashes on the lips of men.


  • Darrow, Clarence; Rice, Wallace (2004) [1929], Infidels and Heretics an Agnostic's Anthology, Kessinger Publishing, p. 223, ISBN 978-1-4326-1249-8, retrieved 27 April 2011

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Owen Lovejoy
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by
Bradford N. Stevens

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website

This page was last edited on 15 May 2019, at 15:31
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