Square & Compasses

MASONIC TOPICS

Who published the first Book of Constitutions in America?
Ben Franklin was a Master Mason in Philadelphia when he published the first Masonic publication in the New World, The Book of Constitutions, in 1734.

Did Masons participate in the Revolutionary War?
Masons played an important part in the formation of the United States and especially in the Revolutionary War and the events that led up to this war. It is commonly believed that the lodge rooms of a Boston Masonic Lodge served as the dressing room for the so-called Indians who threw the Boston Tea Party. Paul Revere, who later went on to be Grand Master of Massachusetts, was thought to be one of those Indians.

What part did Masons play in the formation of the new government?
Because of incomplete records, authorities differ on such matters as: How many Masons signed the Declaration of Independence? The Constitution? How many Presidents of the United States were Masons? Of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, the number eight is usually accepted as the absolute minimum of Masons who signed the document. Though some evidence exists to show another 24 were Masons, it is not regularly accepted that they were Masons. Clearly, 13 of the 39 who signed the Constitution were members of Masonic lodges. Of the others, absolute proof has not been found.

How much influence did the Masonic fraternity have on the creation of our system of government?
In 1717, in England, local Masonic lodges created a system whereby they sent representatives to a body called the Grand Lodge, which governed them all. The Grand Lodge then elected its own Grand Master. The experiment, which began in this country in 1788, is one in which states send their representatives to a Congress. And if Brother Alexander Hamilton had prevailed, the Congress would be electing the President of the United States. Sound familiar?

A number of authorities report that General George Washington's staff looked like a Masonic convention. The list of American Masons in Washington's service included many of his Generals. Other revolutionary heroes included Patrick Henry, Nathan Hale, and John Paul Jones, just to name a few. The record shows that by 1800 there were 347 lodges in the United States.

Who were/are some famous American Masons?
The history of Masonry and the history of this country are very clearly interwoven although there is no way in this short space to go into any great detail. The following is a short list of some well known Masons.

Masonic Presidents include George Washington, James Munroe, Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Warren G. Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and Gerald Ford. Evidence exists to suggest that James Madison and Thomas Jefferson were also Masons.

It wasn't only the successful presidential candidates who were Masons, but some of those who lost as well. Men like Thomas E. Dewey, Alf Landon, Hubert H. Humphrey, Robert Dole, George McGovern, Barry Goldwater, Estes Kefauver, George Wallace, Earl Warren, and John Sparkman as well as Wendell Wilke and Adlai Stevenson (not the governor of Illinois, but his father, the Vice President in 1892 - and a native son from Bloomington, Illinois).


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