Which US Presidents Were Freemasons?

by | Nov 15, 2023 | Quick Reads

The Freemasons, a fraternal organization with secretive rituals and a long history, has had a noteworthy influence on American history. Several U.S. Presidents have been members of this enigmatic society, contributing to the intrigue and mystique surrounding Freemasonry. Here’s a look at some of these Presidents and their Masonic affiliations:

George Washington

America’s first President, George Washington, was initiated into Freemasonry in 1752, in the Lodge at Fredericksburg, Virginia. He remained an active Freemason throughout his life, influencing many of his decisions and leadership style.

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James Monroe

The fifth President of the United States, Monroe became a Freemason in Williamsburg Lodge No. 6 at Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1776. His Masonic background played a role in his political rise and presidency.

Andrew Jackson

The seventh President and a highly controversial figure in American history, Andrew Jackson, was a Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee and deeply involved in Freemasonry.

James K. Polk

The 11th President, James K. Polk, was initiated, passed, and raised in Columbia Lodge No. 31, Columbia, Tennessee. His Masonic membership was typical of many American leaders in the mid-19th century.

James Buchanan

The 15th President, James Buchanan, was a Master Mason of Lancaster Lodge No. 43 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. His Masonic ties were prominent during his time in office from 1857 to 1861.

Andrew Johnson

Succeeding Abraham Lincoln after his assassination, the 17th President, Andrew Johnson, was a Freemason, initiated in Greeneville Lodge No. 119, Greeneville, Tennessee.

James A. Garfield

The 20th President, James A. Garfield, was initiated into Freemasonry in 1864, becoming a Master Mason the same year. His Masonic affiliation was well-known during his brief tenure as President before his assassination.

William McKinley

The 25th President, McKinley, joined the Masons in 1865 and often spoke positively about the impact of Freemasonry on his life.

Theodore Roosevelt

An enthusiastic and progressive President, Theodore Roosevelt was made a Master Mason in Matinecock Lodge No. 806 in Oyster Bay, New York.

Harry S. Truman

The 33rd President and a notable figure in 20th-century history, Truman was heavily involved in Freemasonry, rising to the position of Grand Master in Missouri.

Gerald Ford

The 38th President, Ford was initiated into Freemasonry in 1949 and reached the 33rd degree, the highest honor bestowed by the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry.

These Presidents’ membership in Freemasonry has often been a topic of fascination and speculation, especially regarding how their beliefs and commitments within the fraternity may have influenced their leadership and policies. While the actual impact of Freemasonry on their presidencies might be nuanced and varied, their affiliations underline the historical significance and reach of this storied organization in American leadership and political culture.

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