The History of Freemasonry: From Stonemasons to the American Revolution

Freemasonry is a fraternal order that has its roots in the practices and rituals of stonemasons guilds in the Middle Ages. As the construction of European cathedrals began to decline, lodges of operational masons decided to admit people who were not stonemasons in order to maintain their membership. This decision led to the growth of Freemasonry as a secret fraternal order in Europe. From these lodges, modern, symbolic or speculative Masonry developed, which adopted the rites and ornaments of ancient religious orders and chivalric brotherhoods.

In 1717, the first Grand Lodge was founded in England, and Freemasonry quickly became popular among political, business, and intellectual elites who met in lodges. The first records of American Masonic lodges are located in Philadelphia. The Lodge of St. John was duly constituted by the Grand Lodge of England and is still the oldest lodge in North America.

Intertwined with the British Enlightenment, Masonic lodges were formed throughout Europe and America, helping to unite the British commercial empire. While American elites initially joined the Masons to keep up with English behavior, the fraternity contributed to the dissemination of ideas and ideals that supported the American Revolution. During this era, prominent Masons included George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, James Otis, and Paul Revere. While individual Masons actively participated in the Revolution, Freemasonry as an institution and its local lodges remained politically neutral.

Leave Message

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *