Golden Age of Freethought
The golden age of freethought describes the socio-political movement promoting freethought
Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and should not be influenced by authority, tradition, or other dogmas...

 that developed in the mid 19th-century United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Freethought was a philosophical position that held that ideas and opinions should be based on science and reason, and not restricted by authority, tradition, or religion. It began around 1856 and lasted at least through the end of the century; author Susan Jacoby
Susan Jacoby
Susan Jacoby is an American author. Her 2008 book about American anti-intellectualism, The Age of American Unreason, was a New York Times best seller. She is an atheist and secularist. Jacoby graduated from Michigan State University in 1965...

 places the end of the Golden Age at the start of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. The Golden Age was encouraged by the lectures of the extremely popular agnostic orator Robert G. Ingersoll
Robert G. Ingersoll
Robert Green "Bob" Ingersoll was a Civil War veteran, American political leader, and orator during the Golden Age of Freethought, noted for his broad range of culture and his defense of agnosticism. He was nicknamed "The Great Agnostic."-Life and career:Robert Ingersoll was born in Dresden, New York...

, the popularization of Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

’s Origin of Species, the push for woman’s suffrage
Suffrage, political franchise, or simply the franchise, distinct from mere voting rights, is the civil right to vote gained through the democratic process...

, and other political, scientific, and social trends that clashed with religious orthodoxy and caused people to question their traditional ideas about the world.

External links and references

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