9781620556054

American Freemasonry

by ; ;
  • ISBN13:

    9781620556054

  • ISBN10:

    1620556057

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2017-10-17
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions

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Summary

Explores the American Masonic system and its strengths and failings

• Examines the history of Freemasonry in the United States from the colonial era and the Revolutionary War to the rise of the Scottish branch onward

• Investigates the racial split in American Freemasonry between black lodges and white and how, unlike French lodges, women are ineligible to become Masons in the U.S.

• Reveals the factors that have resulted in shrinking Masonic enrollment in America and explores the revitalization work done by the Grand Lodge of California

Freemasonry bears the imprint of the society in which it exists, and Freemasonry in North America is no exception. While keeping close ties to French lodges until 1913, American Freemasonry was also deeply influenced by the experiences of many early American political leaders, leading to distinctive differences from European lodges.

Offering an unobstructed view of the American system and its strengths and failings, Alain de Keghel, an elder of the Grand Orient de France and, since 1999, a lifetime member of the Scottish Rite Research Society (Southern U.S. jurisdiction), examines the history of Freemasonry in the United States from the colonial era to the Revolutionary War to the rise of the Scottish branch onward. He reveals the special relationship between the French Masonic hero, the Marquis de Lafayette, and the Founding Fathers, especially George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, including French Freemasonry’s role in the American Revolution. He also explores Franklin’s Masonic membership, including how he was Elder of the lodge of the Nine Sisters in Paris.

The author investigates the racial split in American Freemasonry between black lodges and white and how, unlike French lodges, women are ineligible to become Masons in the U.S. He examines how American Freemasonry has remained deeply religious across the centuries and forbids discussion of religious or social issues in its lodges, unlike some branches of French Freemasonry, which removed belief in God as a prerequisite for membership in 1877 and whose lodges operate in some respects as philosophical debating societies. Revealing the factors that have resulted in shrinking Masonic enrollment in America, the author explores the revitalization work done by the Grand Lodge of California and sounds the call to make Freemasonry and its principles relevant to America once again.

Author Biography

Alain de Keghel served as chair of the Supreme Council of the Grand Orient of France from 2002 to 2008. In 1994 he became a lifetime member of the Scottish Rite Research Society (Southern U.S. jurisdiction). The chair of an independent European Masonic Research Society, he has worked with the Philalethes Society in North America and with the research lodge Quatuor Coronati no. 8 in Germany. He is the former Consul General of France in Tokyo and Washington, D.C., and lives in Paris.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Margaret C. Jacob, Ph.D.

Foreword by Arturo de Hoyos, 33°

PREFACE
Interpreting American Freemasonry throughout Time

1 Freemasonry in Pioneer America

2 At the Order’s Origins The United Lodge of England

3 The American Spiritual Infusion and Freemasonry

4 The Masonic Tradition The Specifically American Features of Rituals and Institutions

5 Black American Freemasonry

6 The Charity of an Order Challenged by Change

7 American Masonry Confronted by the Initiation of Women

8 Relations and Ruptures with French Freemasonry

9 French Freemasonry in North America, Yesterday and Today

10 A Little American Masonic Perspective in a Changing World

11 Is the Overall Decline in Membership the Herald of Profound Changes?

AFTERWORD
Freemasonry in North America by John L. Cooper III Appendices

APPENDIX I
Statistical Studies of the Evolution of the Membership of American and Canadian Grand Lodges APPENDIX II American Demographic Studies U.S. Census Bureau and the Washington Post

APPENDIX III
Speech on the Occasion of the Commemoration of the Twentieth Anniversary of the Lighting of the Fires (May 3, 2009) Bo∴ of Bro∴ Alain de Keghel, Former Venerable Master of the W∴ L∴ La Fayette 89, Or∴ of Washington

APPENDIX IV
Sacramento Seminar of 2002, Organized by the Grand Lodge of California

APPENDIX V
Geneva Declaration (May 7, 2005)

APPENDIX VI
Declaration of Basel (June 10, 2012)

APPENDIX VII
Declaration of Vienna (January 29, 2014)

APPENDIX VIII
Extracts from the Report of the Commission on Information for Recognition of the American Grand Lodges at the Conference of Baltimore in 2014

APPENDIX IX
Letter of the Sovereign Grand Commander Alain de Keghel to the Northern Jurisdiction

APPENDIX X
Thirty-fifth Anniversary of the George Washington Union

APPENDIX XI
George Washington Union A Progressive American Obedience

Notes

Bibliography

Index of Names

Subject Index

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