Toleration of suicide and the campaign to legalize euthanasia, this article shows, are historically separate developments. From the early 1880s to the 1900s the American press featured moral discussions of suicide alongside gloomy roll calls and expressions of anxiety about an alleged increase in suicide. Focusing on an extensive discussion in the San Francisco Call in 1896, the article shows that Robert G. Ingersoll’s liberal individualist toleration of suicide clearly resonated with many Americans at the time. I trace the rise of suicide from private tragedy to public issue in the United States. Perhaps surprisingly, there was no crossover with euthanasia and no call whatever for assistance with suicide, despite the frequent employment of the plight of the terminally ill in the discussion. Finally, the article shows that those who called for euthanasia thought of it as a human utility and not a right.