I was doing research on early US presidents and read that men like George Washington probably were attracted to the Masonic Lodge due to the Lodge aligning well with popular Enlightenment ideas around the time of the French and American Revolution.

However I was curious if the Masonic Lodge had always held similar Enlightenment ideals or if the society had adopted many of them to "stay current with the times"? And if they adopted them, would American Freemasons have ideals closer to their revolution and the French theirs?

I do know the beginning of the Free Masons (about 1646) and start of the Age of Enlightenment (1685) were pretty close together but am sure they each evolved their own philosophies by the time French and American revolution occurred.


The key role of Freemasonry in America, appears to have been the establishment of a connection, or "brotherhoood" between e.g. George Washington and a number of fellow officers in the Revolution. Although the official purpose may have been to discuss enlightenment philosophy, the discussions soon took a more practical turn, about how to deal with British rule.

Jefferson, on the other hand, declined to join the Free Masons after the Revolution because he felt that the purpose (a successful Revolution) had been served. He also feared that it would become an old boys's network, and the foundation for a new nobility, which would defeat the purpose of the Revolution.

The above was, in fact, the French model, and while some individual nobles joined the French Revolution, the connection of the group with Revolution was tenuous at best.

  • Tom you've done it again. – The_MN_MechE Aug 27 '17 at 3:51

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