Freemasons are the worlds oldest and most established Secret Society. They are the original leaders in their fundamental ideals of universal brotherhood, fairness, and equality among their own. The Freemasons history, in their early years, helped to literally shape the landscape of England and Western Europe by building the architectural landmarks of the day. The Freemasons also helps to shape early America. The Declaration of Independence was signed by 15 American Masons (of 56 signers) and the Constitution had 28 Freemason signers (of 40). The symbolic nature of Freemasonry can be seen all though America’s own symbols and ceremonies.
Freemasons History in America
There is a lot of conspiracy theories around Masons and their influence and ties to the power structure of America’s founding. As noted, 15 Masons signed the Declaration of Independence and 28 signed the Constitution. Some of the earliest and biggest political figures were confirmed Masons including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and John Hancock.
The speculation is that the Freemasons were methodically planning an ulterior motive to instill their secret beliefs on the new world. Pierre L’Enfant, the architect that planned out the Roads of Washington D.C. and known Freemason, is speculated to have planned the city to include some symbolism from the Masonry. The theory is that the roads and locations of buildings all form Masonic shapes, specifically stars and a compass and square. Furthermore, the symbols on the American dollar bill also share a link to Masonry. The back of the dollar bill shows an all seeing eye as well as what some argue to be a phoenix (as opposed to an eagle) holding 13 arrows, symbolizing rebirth as in the Masonic Rituals. The number 13 also has connections to any occult group or secret society by conspiracy theorists.
Masonic Influence in America
Understanding Masonic Influence in America is more than just noting the symbols. It’s important to put it all in perspective of the time period. Masons were a large social group that promoted brotherhood. Freemasonry and the Masonic Lodge was the place to meet new people and share ideas. Fellow Masons were not always in the same social circles as each other, so their masonic brotherhood was the only way they would come into contact with each other. As far as the symbolism, a lot of Masonic symbols are seen in American structures and ceremonies. For example, Masonic initiation has candidates place their hands on a bible during an oath as do witnesses in American courtrooms and Presidents while sworn into office. The All Seeing Eye is on the back of the dollar bill, and a well known symbol in Masonry. There is no denying these facts, but at the same time, any references are not specific only to Masonry. The All Seeing Eye is seen all throughout cultures and is a large part from Christianity to The Lord of the Rings. Most of the ideas and symbols in the Masonic Initiation are greater ideas from the Age of Enlightenment, which started 50 years before the first Grand Lodge was formed.
The true influence of Freemasonry in America is not that there was an ulterior motive to spread a satanic or evil message of domination. Instead, the true influence of Freemasonry comes down to a society that promotes equality, brotherly love, compassion, community involvement, and integrity. They do it so well that for a decade starting in 1955 4 million Americans were Freemasons. As of 2011, their membership in America has fallen to 1.3 million. There will always be the human nature to want to belong in a group, it’s part of our evolutionary instincts. Freemasonry provides that membership and safety and that is their influence.