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The history of freemasonry in Europe and America

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  1. Introduction
  2. Freemasonry in Britain
  3. Freemasonry on the Continent
  4. Freemasonry in America
  5. Conclusion
  6. Bibliography

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.

[...] Because Freemasonry was a moral organization and members were screened for their character, business owners in the American colonies sometimes used Masonic symbols in advertising to assure the public of their reliability. Freemasonry did not play a significant role in the American Revolutionary War, because Freemasons were heavily represented on both sides of the battle. George Washington, the Revolutionary Commander in Chief, was a Freemason, as were most of the British commanders and many of the officers in both armies. [...]

[...] It included others people as well, such as the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his father Leopold, the car manufacturer André Citroen, the Italian sculptor Ettore Ferrari, the French mathematician and philosopher the Marquis de Condorcet, and a long line of Romanian prime ministers.[5] Freemasonry in America Freemasonry came to America with the British settlers, and many of the first lodges were military lodges for members of the British army. These lodges were under the jurisdiction of the English Grand Lodge, with some higher degrees under the warranty of the Irish Grand Lodge. [...]

[...] 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. [...]

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