Upton Sinclair, ed. (1878–1968). rn The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest. 1915.

The Doom of Empires

Ingersoll, Robert Green

Robert G. Ingersoll

(American lawyer and lecturer, 1833–1899)

THE TRAVELER standing amid the ruins of ancient cities and empires, seeing on every side the fallen pillar and the prostrate wall, asks why did these cities fall, why did these empires crumble? And the Ghost of the Past, the wisdom of ages, answers: These temples, these palaces, these cities, the ruins of which you stand upon, were built by tyranny and injustice. The hands that built them were unpaid. The backs that bore the burdens also bore the marks of the lash. They were built by slaves to satisfy the vanity and ambition of thieves and robbers. For these reasons they are dust.

Their civilization was a lie. Their laws merely regulated robbery and established theft. They bought and sold the bodies and souls of men, and the mournful wind of desolation, sighing amid their crumbling ruins, is a voice of prophetic warning to those who would repeat the infamous experiment, uttering the great truth, that no nation founded upon slavery, either of body or mind, can stand.