The Lawyer Robert Ingersoll is often held up as an example of the famous skeptic who by virtue of his intellect could not accept the teachings of religion. His life, as other atheists claim, hardly measured up to a commendator standard.
“We see Ingersoll for what he was and accept him as that. He was far from being a saint. Except for the issue of abolition, into which he was indoctrinated by both of his parents, he was on the "wrong" side of every human issue. Most frequently his changes of mind, and of heart, came from the influence of those he loved. His turn from religion, for example, should be more honestly be seen as the result of his marriage to a woman who had abandoned it and who taught him that he should abandon any pretense of religion also.
He was a ruthless attorney for the railroads at the height of their rule of the land. In this function he had to influence legislation, fight against the claims of the farmers, of widows and children in order to brutally consolidate the power of his clients. The railroad empires of post-civil war were notorious for their rapacious land deals. And, Robert Ingersoll climbed over the best of them all to get to the top. He opposed Abraham Lincoln until after the country was at war; he defended the most corrupt politicians of the nation; he wheeled and dealed in maneuvers that would make Barry Goldwater look like a goodie-two-shoes; he clamored for a high protective tariff and gold-backed money; he opposed suffrage for Black males and even proposed that they be sent away to a separate state or country set up for them” (Madalyn Murray O’Hair, www.atheists.org/Atheism/roots/ingersoll).