Revolutionary Brotherhood: Freemasonry and the Transformation of the American Social Order, 1730-1840.
By Steven C. Bullock (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press The University of North Carolina Press (or UNC Press), founded in 1922, is a university press that is part of the University of North Carolina. External link
This encompassing and stimulating study by Steven C. Bullock reveals much about the prominent place of Freemasonry Freemasonry, teachings and practices of the secret fraternal order officially known as the Free and Accepted Masons, or Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. Organizational Structure
in America between 1730 and 1840. Bullock's major aims are to examine the ideological features of Masonic ritualism rit·u·al·ism
1. The practice or observance of religious ritual.
2. Insistence on or adherence to ritual.
Noun and to explain the institutional functions and operations of the order's grand and local lodges. He advances convincing theses concerning the ritualistic rit·u·al·is·tic
1. Relating to ritual or ritualism.
2. Advocating or practicing ritual.
rit attractiveness of Enlightenment doctrines associated with deism Deism
Belief in God based on reason rather than revelation or the teaching of any specific religion. A form of natural religion, Deism originated in England in the early 17th century as a rejection of orthodox Christianity. and Newtonianism, concerning the privacy and sociability of Masonry's local lodges, and concerning the great appeal of the order to members of middle-class elites in America. Bullock well demonstrates also that Masonry was intimately involved in attempting to create an enlightened republic and a mercantile society in America between 1790 and 1825 and that as a result of the Antimasonic movement, the Craft was seriously discredited in many regions of the North between 1826 and 1840. This work is both chronologically and topically arranged and contains eleven chapters and four parts.
In the first part of the book, Bullock explains the origins and evolution of Speculative Freemasonry in Augustan England and in colonial America. Unlike most scholarly studies which deal with the rise of the modern Masonic movement, Bullock's work does devote attention to occult legacies and to operative masonry in its treatment of the formation of the Modern Grand Lodge the chief lodge, or governing body, among Freemasons and other secret orders.
See also: Grand . However, Bullock, like Margaret C. Jacob and this reviewer, accentuates the ideological and institutional connections between the Enlightenment and Modern London Masonry. The author lucidly demonstrates that the first three Masonic degrees, among other things, embodied doctrines of deism, Newtonianism, and Palladianism; he also argues that these three degrees fused the teachings of classical civilization with those of eighteenth century society and thus revealed the importance of order and harmony within Nature. There also are fine sections about the activities of the London Grand Lodge and its local lodges; Bullock shows that this grand lodge, which was established in 1717, operated according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Whiggish doctrines specified in a constitution. Local lodges were involved with tavern and club life, helped to foster genteel practices, and recruited their members from noble and middle-class elites and from the Royal Society and other cultural institutions in the city.
Under the jurisdiction of the Modern London Grand Lodge, colonial Freemasonry flourished. Bullock shows that local lodges, which were responsible to provincial grand masters, quickly emerged during the 1730s in Boston, Philadelphia, New York Philadelphia, New York may refer to:
BENEVOLENCE, English law. , gentility, and privacy explained why they wished to associate with the order. The author presents a fine occupational analysis of members of lodges in Boston and in Philadelphia; these lodges - and probably others in the colonies during the 1750s and 1760s - consisted predominantly of merchants, of some physicians, lawyers, and soldiers, and of a few artisans. Many members of these lodges occupied leadership positions in other civic institutions and consequently were boosters.
In the second part of the book, Bullock first discusses Ancient Masonry and then the Craft's role in the American Revolution American Revolution, 1775–83, struggle by which the Thirteen Colonies on the Atlantic seaboard of North America won independence from Great Britain and became the United States. It is also called the American War of Independence. . There is a detailed chapter concerning the emergence and the consolidation of Ancient Freemasonry in the colonies. Bullock shows that this system, which came in the 1750s from England to America, and which had slightly different rituals and practices from those of Modern Masonry, especially appealed to members of artisanal groups in Boston, in Philadelphia, and in other eastern colonial cities. Forcing the decline of Modern Masonry, Ancient lodges by the 1760s became firmly established in colonial settlements in both piedmont and backcountry back·coun·try
A sparsely inhabited rural region. regions. The members of lodges in these two regions perceived Ancient Masonry as being a source of cosmopolitanism and republicanism and looked to it for social activities and contacts. Ancient lodges as well assimilated into a common setting individuals of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds and recruited to their ranks professionals, merchants, military men, and artisans. The book contains a suggestive chapter about Masonry and the American Revolution. Bullock persuasively argues that Masons who embraced the revolutionary cause were inspired by the teachings of the order concerning republicanism and honor and, in many instances, held membership in Ancient lodges. The author also presents strong cases for Ancient military lodges, which consisted of officers from George Washington's general staff, and for the unsuccessful efforts of Masonic revolutionary leaders to establish a national Masonic Grand Lodge. Bullock also comments on the ties between American Masonry and the Society of the Cincinnati The General Society of the Cincinnati is a historic association in the United States and France with limited and strict membership requirements. Origins
The concept of the Society of the Cincinnati probably originated with Major General Henry Knox. . He correctly explains that while consisting of some similar military elites, Masonry and the Society of the Cincinnati greatly differed, for the Craft, which didn't have a political agenda and wasn't sharply renounced, emerged during the late 1780s as an encompassing and a respected movement.
Part Three, which treats Republican Masonry between 1790 and 1825, contains the five best chapters in the book. Bullock demonstrates that Masonry, in many ways, was involved both privately and publicly in shaping American institutions and society; in the privacy of its lodges, Masonry was to provide its members with an understanding of doctrines relating to relating to relate prep → concernant
relating to relate prep → bezüglich +gen, mit Bezug auf +acc republicanism, to natural liberties, and to civic virtues. The order consequently was looked upon as being a "Temple of Virtue," engaging in social and charitable activities, admitting many members of the new American gentry, and significantly expanding its ranks during this twenty-five year period. There also were public aspects of Masonry; the author explains that members of the Craft encouraged the development of public schools and were involved with the promotion of the fine arts and the natural sciences in the early republic. The book doesn't particularly stress the connections of members of Masonic elites to national politics during the early republic, but does contain fine sections about Masons who held positions in state and local politics. Bullock, however, is at his best in assessing the place of businessmen associated with the order; he explains that the network of Masonic lodges contributed to the advancement of merchant capitalism This article or section is written like a personal reflection or and may require .
Please [ improve this article] by rewriting this article or section in an . and led to the formation of an alliance among businessmen, professionals, artisans, and farmers. In short, this alliance revealed how members of Masonic elites could engage in distant relationships and could consequently implement the doctrine of "preference" for brothers in commercial and professional activities.
In the last part of the book, Bullock discusses how Antimasonry greatly discredited the Craft in America between 1826 and 1840. He maintains that after Masons in Batavia, New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of , allegedly murdered William Morgan
William Morgan is the name of:
Protestant movement that stresses conversion experiences, the Bible as the only basis for faith, and evangelism at home and abroad. The religious revival that occurred in Europe and America during the 18th century was generally referred to as the evangelical to Antimasonry and well evaluates the Antimasonic leadership roles of Thaddeus Stevens Thaddeus Stevens (April 4, 1792 – August 11, 1868), was one of the most powerful members of the United States House of Representatives, representing the state of Pennsylvania. and Charles Grandison Finney Charles Grandison Finney (August 29, 1792 – August 16, 1875), often called "America's foremost revivalist," was a major leader of the Second Great Awakening in America, which had a great impact on the social history of the United States. ; these two leaders and others attacked Masonry for its secret rituals and oaths, for its elitism e·lit·ism or é·lit·ism
1. The belief that certain persons or members of certain classes or groups deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, or financial resources. , for its control of state and local governments, and for its domination of the judicial system. Bullock explains how Antimasons used newspapers to bolster their cause, organized parties in most northern states, and often formed coalitions with Democrats and Whigs for the election of state candidates to office. The author as well breaks new ground in showing how several Masonic leaders established journals to respond to their opponents' attacks. Bullock ends this chapter, claiming that the significance of Antimasonry was its call for the democratization de·moc·ra·tize
tr.v. de·moc·ra·tized, de·moc·ra·tiz·ing, de·moc·ra·tiz·es
To make democratic.
de·moc of American political institutions and the eventual attachment of some of its members to the temperance and abolitionist movements. In the epilogue, the author argues that while being practically destroyed in most northern states by the Antimasons, the Craft would be revived and would greatly increase its ranks between 1845 and 1860. The author also maintains that after the Civil War, this once dominant order would be required to compete with other fraternal organizations for membership.
This carefully crafted work has much to recommend it. This study is lucidly written and well organized. The book is based on extensive research of primary sources in Masonic libraries and is closely footnoted. In a convincing way, this work describes the sociable and private facets of Masonic lodges in eighteenth and early nineteenth century America. Bullock is successful in explaining how civic and moral tenets of the Enlightenment shaped the development of an American middle-class mentality. The author also succeeds in demonstrating how Masonry contributed to the republicanizing of America and in illustrating how perceptions of the order changed through the years. Bullock breaks new ground in showing the connections of Masonic business elites to the development of capitalism in the early republic. However, the work falls short in several realms. More attention might been devoted to the evolution of Scottish Rite Freemasonry in America, to the place of Masonry in the diplomacy of the American Revolution, and to the roles of Masons in the drafting of the Federal Constitution. Nevertheless, Bullock's study is an impressive synthesis about the place of Freemasonry in eighteenth and early nineteenth century American society and assuredly will be recognized as a landmark in the field.
R. William Weisberger Butler County Community College Butler County Community College is the name of two community colleges in the United States: