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A new book from the University of North Carolina Press

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Revolutionary Brotherhood

Freemasonry and the Transformation of the American Social Order, 1730-1840

by Steven C. Bullock

In the first comprehensive history of the fraternity known to outsiders primarily for its secrecy and rituals, Steven Bullock traces Freemasonry through its first century in America. He follows the order from its origins in Britain and its introduction into North America in the 1730s to its near-destruction by a massive anti-Masonic movement almost a century later and its subsequent reconfiguration into the brotherhood we know today. With a membership that included Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Paul Revere, and Andrew Jackson, Freemasonry is fascinating in its own right, but Bullock also places the movement at the center of the transformation of American society and culture from the colonial era to the rise of Jacksonian democracy.

Using lodge records, members' reminiscences and correspondence, and local and Masonic histories, Bullock links Freemasonry with the changing ideals of early American society. Although the fraternity began among colonial elites, its spread during the Revolution and afterward allowed it to play an important role in shaping the new nation's ideas of liberty and equality. Ironically, however, the more inclusive and universalist Masonic ideas became, the more threatening its members' economic and emotional bonds seemed to outsiders, sparking an explosive attack on the fraternity after 1826.

Steven C. Bullock is associate professor of history at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

ISBN 0-8078-2282-5, $49.95 hardcover, plus shipping
512 pp., 26 illus.
Published for the Institute of Early American History and Culture by the University of North Carolina Press

Discount offer: Call the University of North Carolina Press and say that you saw the book on this Freemasonry website to receive a 20% discount. MasterCard/Visa only. Toll-free 1-800-848-6224.

Praise for Revolutionary Brotherhood:

"Steven Bullock has discovered the secret of Freemasonry: Masons played a very important role in the formation of the American nation. . . . An accurate portrait of the ancient, honorable fraternity. . . . The reader can appreciate the true influence of the Craft."--S. Brent Morris, book review editor of The Scottish Rite Journal

"I am persuaded by Bullock's interpretation. He not only traces the history of the Masons but also demonstrates how Masonry served as a vehicle for the emergence and consolidation of American elites. He does an outstanding job ofilluminating Americans' changing ideas about the nature of 'society'--that is, social relations among men."--Jan Lewis, Rutgers University-Newark

"Historians have long recognized that Masons were important figures in the era of the American Revolution. Now, in this wide-ranging study, Steven Bullock tells us why. Offering a fascinating analysis of their rhetoric and rituals, he discovers the early American Masons of the founding 'fathers' to be loving 'brothers.' He makes a strong case for the transformative power of the supposedly ephemeral social organizations of the early American republic."--Andrew R. L. Cayton, Miami University

"In Revolutionary Brotherhood, Steven Bullock has proven our foremost guide through the vast forest of complexity and meaning that is early American Freemasonry. . . . One of the few indispensable books on the subject."--Mark C. Carnes, Barnard College, Columbia University


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