Ingersoll and Politics

Ingersoll was the best- known political speechmaker in 19th century America. In 1876 he gave a speech before the Republican National Convention in Cincinnati, nominating James G. Blaine for the presidency.

The party nominated Rutherford B. Hayes instead, but Ingersoll's nominating speech - in which Ingersoll called Blaine a "Plumed Knight" - is considered the classic political speech of the age.

Candidates sought Ingersoll's oratorical services eagerly. He campaigned for every Republican Presedential candidate but one, from Grant to McKinley. Despite his views on religion he was the G.O.P.'s premier speechmaker.

Yet because of those outspoken and controversial views, Ingersoll was never appointed to public office by any of the politicians whose elections he helped to secure.