Bell 2024 ch. 7 claims that:

The Skull and Bones Society also known as The Order of Death was founded at Yale University in 1832. The founding of this elite secret society came as a result of President John Quincy Adams purging freemasons from roles in government.

Did John Quincy Adams purge Freemasons from roles in government?

  • 2
    First off, let's not confuse John Adams and John Quincy Adams. It does looks like JQA had a particular thing against the Masons. Most likely this is referring to roles in Yale student government. I haven't read it, but this book looks like it might go into it.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Jun 5 at 22:25
  • Well, 1832 would be 3+ years after his term. Perhaps more of an issue was John Quincy Adams was a Harvard graduate...
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Jun 6 at 19:40

1 Answer 1


John Quincy Adams was against Freemasonry, as his Letters on Freemasonry show.

The first letter, ibid. pp. 3-9, is his defense of his father: "Vindicating the venerable John Adams from the Malignant Charge of Supporting Freemasonry" (22 August 1831).

  • 2
    This is true. It looks like there was a somewhat lurid incident where an anti-Mason announced he was going to publish Masonic secrets, and then completely disappeared. After that, the Masons started to seem like less of a diverting social club to keep men busy in their spare time, and more like a malignant shadowy conspiracy. Which is why some politicians who said nice things about them before (or in JQA's case, his father did) needed their positions explained and/or walked back.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Jun 6 at 19:40
  • 3
    But did he purge the government of Masons?
    – MCW
    Commented Jun 6 at 23:48

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