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Book Title: The Liberty of Man, Woman and Child|
The author of the book: Robert G. Ingersoll
ISBN 13: 9781425462406
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 1.25 MB
Edition: Kessinger Publishing
Date of issue: December 1st 2005
Read full description of the books:"Think how long we clung to the institution of human slavery, how long lashes upon the naked back were a legal tender for labor performed. Think of it. With every drop of my blood I hate and execrate every form of tyranny, every form of slavery. I hate dictation. I love liberty."
* You can tell Ingersoll is extremely passionate about what he writes about
* Great moral depth
* As is typical with Ingersoll, vivid imagery brought to life by his brilliant mastery of language
* It doesn't seem like it's possible to eclipse Ingersoll's moral vision
* Come away feeling like a better person after it's read
* Ingersoll's points are so finely illustrated that it's almost impossible to disagree
* Everyone is included as equals, leaving no one out
* Briefly mentions a very incorrect (or possibly outdated) idea of evolution
* Some concepts, such as how awful the Sabbath was, are outdated for our time
"This is my doctrine: Give every other human being every right you claim for yourself. Keep your mind open to the influences of nature. Receive new thoughts with hospitality. Let us advance."
It is almost inconceivable that, in a time where it was illegal to share a beach with people whose skin produced a certain threshold of melanin, a speech as all embracing as this one could be given. Ingersoll's only creed truly was humanity - all of it. Such a doctrine would be quite radical even in our modern world, much less in the 19th century. Ingersoll lays out the reason he made this speech: "I swear that while I live I will do what little I can to preserve and to augment the liberties of man, woman, and child." Can there be a nobler goal? But this speech is not only about physical liberty, but liberty of the mind, which Ingersoll excelled in freeing. One of Ingersoll's contemporaries in politics, Robert M. La Follette, illustrates this point when he said of Ingersoll: "It was not that he changed my beliefs, but that he liberated my mind." How many thousands, millions of people did Ingersoll influence in the same way? As lofty as his goals were, as we know, there were still many people opposed to Ingersoll's creed of universal love. Most notably, that organization that always seems to be doing its best to halt the train of human progress, the Church. In fact, Ingersoll had to give up his political aspirations in order to simply speak his mind. He knew that most other people were not in quite so fortunate a situation, so he made them an offer: "I know there are thousands of men who substantially agree with me, but who are not in a condition to express their thoughts. They are poor; they are in business; and they know that should they tell their honest thought, persons will refuse to patronize them—to trade with them; they wish to get bread for their little children; they wish to take care of their wives; they wish to have homes and the comforts of life. Every such person is a certificate of the meanness of the community in which he resides. And yet I do not blame these people for not expressing their thought. I say to them: 'Keep your ideas to yourselves; feed and clothe the ones you love; I will do your talking for you. The church can not touch, can not crush, can not starve, cannot stop or stay me; I will express your thoughts.'" And the people could not have a better spokesperson than Robert Green Ingersoll.
The speech is split into three categories, the first being an introduction that introduces the history of tyranny, mental and physical, up to the present day. The second portion is titled 'The Liberty of Women', and the final is 'The Liberty of Children'. Women's suffrage leader Elizabeth Cady Stanton had to opportunity to hear this speech given by Ingersoll, and had this to say of it: "I heard Mr. Ingersoll many years ago in Chicago. The hall seated 5,000 people; every inch of standing-room was also occupied; aisles and platform crowded to overflowing. He held that vast audience for three hours so completely entranced that when he left the platform no one moved, until suddenly, with loud cheers and applause, they recalled him. He returned smiling and said: 'I'm glad you called me back, as I have something more to say. Can you stand another half-hour?' 'Yes: an hour, two hours, all night,' was shouted from various parts of the house; and he talked on until midnight, with unabated vigor, to the delight of his audience. This was the greatest triumph of oratory I had ever witnessed. It was the first time he delivered his matchless speech, 'The Liberty of Man, Woman, and Child'.
Ingersoll systematically goes through his doctrine of how human beings should be treated, and at the forefront there are always the same two distinct themes: liberty and equality - "I believe in the fireside. I believe in the democracy of home. I believe in the republicanism of the family. I believe in liberty, equality and love.." His thoughts on relationships goes like this: "The grandest ambition that any man can possibly have, is to so live, and so improve himself in heart and brain, as to be worthy of the love of some splendid woman; and the grandest ambition of any girl is to make herself worthy of the love and adoration of some magnificent man. That is my idea. There is no success in life without love and marriage. You had better be the emperor of one loving and tender heart, and she the empress of yours, than to be king of the world. The man who has really won the love of one good woman in this world, I do not care if he dies in the ditch a beggar, his life has been a success." On how we should treat our children: "Call me infidel, call me atheist, call me what you will, I intend so to treat my children, that they can come to my grave and truthfully say: 'He who sleeps here never gave us a moment of pain. From his lips, now dust, never came to us an unkind word.'"
If there was only a single book that I could choose that everyone had to read at least once in their life, I would strongly consider 'The Liberty of Man, Woman, and Child'. Not because it's the deepest, or the most emotional, or the one you can identify with the most, or the most entertaining, but because it's the best. Not best as in funnest, but best as in it benefits you the most, and through you, the world. I genuinely felt like I am a better person after I read it than before. Ingersoll concludes his speech:
"I know not what discoveries, what inventions, what thoughts may leap from the brain of the world. I know not what garments of glory may be woven by the years to come. I cannot dream of the victories to be won upon the fields of thought; but I do know, that coming from the infinite sea of the future, there will never touch this 'bank and shoal of time' a richer gift, a rarer blessing than liberty for man, for woman, and for child."
Read information about the author"On August 11, 1833, was born the greatest and noblest of the Western World; an immense personality, -- unique, lovable, sublime; the peerless orator of all time, and as true a poet as Nature ever held in tender clasp upon her loving breast, and, in words coined for the chosen few, told of the joys and sorrows, hopes, dreams, and fears of universal life; a patriot whose golden words and deathless deeds were worthy of the Great Republic; a philanthropist, real and genuine; a philosopher whose central theme was human love, -- who placed 'the holy hearth of home' higher than the altar of any god; an iconoclast, a builder -- a reformer, perfectly poised, absolutely honest, and as fearless as truth itself -- the most aggressive and formidable foe of superstition -- the most valiant champion of reason -- Robert G. Ingersoll." - Herman E. Kittredge
Robert Green Ingersoll, who became the best known advocate of freethought in the 19th-century, was born in Dresden, N.Y. The son of an impoverished itinerant pastor, he later recalled his formative church experiences: "The minister asked us if we knew that we all deserved to go to hell, and we all answered 'yes.' Then we were asked if we would be willing to go to hell if it was God's will, and every little liar shouted 'Yes!'" He became an attorney by apprenticeship, and a colonel in the Civil War, fighting in the Battle of Shiloh. In 1867, Ingersoll was appointed Illinois' first Attorney General. His political career was cut short by his refusal to halt his controversial lectures, but he achieved national political fame for his thrilling nomination speech for James G. Blaine for president at the national convention of the Republican Party in 1876. Ingersoll was good friends with three U.S. presidents. The distinguished attorney was known and admired by most of the leading progressives and thinkers of his day.
Ingersoll traveled the continent for 30 years, speaking to capacity audiences, once attracting 50,000 people to a lecture in Chicago—40,000 too many for the Exposition Center. His repertoire included 3 to 4-hour lectures on Shakespeare, Voltaire and Burns, but the largest crowds turned out to hear him denounce the bible and religion. He initially settled in Peoria, Illinois, then in Washington, D.C., where he successfully defended falsely accused men in the "Star Route" scandal, the most famous political trial of the 19th century. Religious rumors against Ingersoll abounded. One had it that Ingersoll's son was a drunkard who more than once had to be carried away from the table. Ingersoll wrote: "It is not true that intoxicating beverages are served at my table. It is not true that my son ever was drunk. It is not true that he had to be carried away from the table. Besides, I have no son!"
During the Civil War he was commissioned as Colonel and commander of the 11th Illinois Volunteer Cavalry, and was captured near Corinth, Mississippi. Although soon released, he still made time to treat his Confederate captors to a rousing anti slavery speech.
He hoped for but was never awarded a Cabinet post. The Republicans were afraid of his unorthodox religious views. He was told that he could progress politically if he hid his religious views, but Ingersoll refused on the charge that withholding information from the public would be immoral.
He strongly advocated equal rights for blacks and women. He defended Susan B. Anthony from hecklers when she spoke in Peoria; when every hotel in the city refused to house Frederick Douglass, he welcomed him into his home.
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