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According to History.com, George Washington, a young Virginia planter, was initiated into the Masonic Fraternity on November 4th 1752 and became a Master Mason on August 4th 1753. The degree of Master Mason is the highest rank in the secret Fraternity of Freemasonry. Washington received his Master’s degree at the Masonic Lodge No. 4 in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Washington was 21 years old and would soon command his first military operation as a major in the Virginia colonial militia.

To help frame the character of George Washington and the Masonic Fraternity both at the time of his joining, and today the article from History writes, “The Masons of the 18th century adhered to liberal democratic principles that included religious toleration, loyalty to local government, and the importance of charity. From its inception, Freemasonry encountered considerable opposition from organized religion, especially from the Roman Catholic Church.”

The article goes on to state:

For George Washington, joining the Masons was a rite of passage and an expression of his civic responsibility. After becoming a Master Mason, Washington had the option of passing through a series of additional rites that would take him to higher ‘degrees.’ In 1788, shortly before becoming the first President of the United States, Washington was elected the first Worshipful Master of Alexandria Lodge No. 22. Many other leaders of the American Revolution, including Paul Revere, John Hancock, the Marquis de Lafayette, and the Boston Tea Party saboteurs, were also Freemasons, and Masonic rites were witnessed at such events as Washington’s presidential inauguration and the laying of the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.–a city supposedly designed with Masonic symbols in mind. Masonic symbols, approved by Washington in the design of the Great Seal of the United States, can be seen on the one-dollar bill. The All-Seeing Eye above an unfinished pyramid is unmistakably Masonic, and the scroll beneath, which proclaims the advent of a “New Secular Order” in Latin, is one of Freemasonry’s long-standing goals. The Great Seal appeared on the dollar bill during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, also a Mason.

History.com
washington freemason

Another interesting fact is that Washington joined at a time when Freemasonry under the British empire was not unified under what is now commonly known as the United Grand Lodge of England, or UGLE for short. At this time you had multiple rivaling Grand Lodges on the British Isles, including the Moderns Grand Lodge of England, The Ancients Grand Lodge of Ireland, and the Grand Lodge of Scotland. Washington’s Lodge likely existed since sometime in the early 1730’s, however it operated without a charter up until the late 1750’s (after Washington joined).  It was not until 1758 that the Lodge at Fredericksburg finally obtained a charter from the Grand Lodge of Scotland (eventually in 1787, after the War, it was re-chartered as Fredericksburg No. 4 Lodge under the Grand Lodge of Virginia).

In today’s standards of Freemasonry, A Lodge operating without a charter or warrant would mean that they were operating clandestinely, and as such, for a time until his Lodge was chartered, Washington was a clandestine Mason; an interesting note for Freemasons.

To read the full article from History: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/washington-becomes-master-mason

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