Who Were the Masons in Early American History?

The Masons, also known as Freemasons, played a significant role in the early American history of the United States. Freemasonry is a fraternal organization that originated in the late 16th or early 17th century in England.

It is based on the principles of brotherhood, charity, and truth. In this article, we will explore who the Masons were and their contribution to early American history.

Origins of The Masons

The origins of Freemasonry are shrouded in mystery. Some believe that it was founded by stonemasons who built the great cathedrals and castles of medieval Europe. Others believe that it has roots in ancient Egypt, Greece, or Rome.

What is known for certain is that modern Freemasonry began in England in the 1700s. It quickly spread to other countries, including America.

The Masons in Early America

The Masons played an essential role in American society during its formative years. Many of the founding fathers, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, were members of the Masonic Lodge. They saw themselves as part of a brotherhood dedicated to promoting virtue and morality.

One significant contribution made by the Masons was their support for religious freedom. In colonial times, religious persecution was rampant. The Masons believed that every person had the right to worship according to their conscience and helped to promote this principle throughout colonial America.

The Masonic Influence on American Symbols

The influence of Freemasonry can be seen even today in some American symbols such as the eye on top of the pyramid on the one-dollar bill. The pyramid represents strength and durability while the eye symbolizes watchfulness and vigilance.

Another example is found in Washington D.C.’s street layout plan which forms a square and compass – two important symbols used by masons.

The Masonic Lodge

The Masonic Lodge was an important part of early American society. It provided a meeting place for members and was a center for community activity. The lodge also played a vital role in charitable work, providing assistance to those in need.

The Future of Freemasonry

Today, the Masons continue to be an active and influential part of American society. Although membership has declined in recent years, there are still over two million members worldwide.

Despite the decline in membership, the principles of brotherhood, charity, and truth that underpin Freemasonry remain as relevant today as they were in colonial America.


In conclusion, the Masons played a significant role in early American history. They were instrumental in promoting religious freedom and helping to build a more just and moral society. Today they continue to be an important part of American life, promoting the values of brotherhood, charity, and truth.