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The history of freemasonry in Europe and America

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  1. Introduction
  2. A study of the Freemasonry in Britain
    1. Origin
    2. Role of Freemasonary
  3. Freemasonry in America
  4. References
  5. Conclusion

Organizational rules, called Old Charges, from groups or guilds of European stonemasons date back to the thirteenth or fourteenth centuries according to some historians, while others date these guilds as far back as 1057 in Scotland and 1220 in England. The first records of the speculative organization called Freemasonry did not appear until the sixteenth century.

The first written record of an initiation into Freemasonry was the initiation of Elias Asmole (also spelled Ashmole) in 1646. Since he was initiated into an existing lodge, other unrecorded initiations must have already happened. Asmole was well known for other reasons as well. He was an alchemist, astrologer, and Rosicrucian, in addition to being a Freemason, and the Asmolean Museum at Oxford was named for the collection he left to the university. Asmole was also one of the early members of the Royal Society. His fellow Royal Society members sometimes shared his interests. Sir Robert Moray was a Freemason, Christopher Wren was initiated, though we do not have a record of his participation, and Isaac Newton had similar interests, but did not join the Freemasons.

[...] Conclusion In the 500 years of its history Freemasonry has survived surprisingly intact and continues to thrive in a new era all through Europe and North America. It also continues to attract a large enough number of members and enough influential people to have a real impact on the societies in which it exists. As a morally based fraternal organization and a philanthropic organization it has done a lot of good, while continuing to attract attention and opposition as a dangerous secret society. [...]


[...] In America, Freemasonry became more Christian than it had been in Europe, and, despite the openness of early Freemason teachings, enforced racial segregation. A man named Prince Hall established African American Freemasonry in the U.S. Mainstream Freemasonry is no longer completely segregated, but there are still lodges that do not recognize Prince Hall Masonry. Freemason reputation was severely damaged in a scandal in 1826. A New York man named William Morgan joined the Freemasons and took the usual oaths of secrecy about the teachings and rituals. [...]


[...] Speculative Freemasonry and the Enlightenment: A Study of the Craft in London, Paris, Prague, and Vienna. Boulder: East European Monographs Jacob, Margaret C. Living the Enlightenment: Freemasonry and Politics in Eighteenth-Century Europe. New York: Oxford University Press Brown, Arthur. The Fourth Gospel and the Eighteenth Degree: A Correlation of Two Systems of Symbolism. London: Rockliff Churchward, Albert. The Signs and Symbols of Primordial Man: The Evolution of Religious Doctrines from the Eschatology of the Ancient Egyptians. Westport, CN: Greenwood Press Demott, Bobby J. [...]

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