American Freemasonry: Its Revolutionary History and Challenging Future (Hardcover)
Here in Miami, Just Like We Are
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.
About the Author
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.
Arturo de Hoyos is a historian of the Scottish Rite in the Southern Jurisdiction.
“American Freemasonry is everything one should expect from an author with Alain de Keghel’s impressive resume. The author is a committed and accomplished Freemason, scholar, historian, and career diplomat. The book reflects his years of travel, study, and extensive Masonic activity around the world. It should be read by every American Freemason who is willing to learn and think beyond what he is exposed to in everyday Masonic study. Mr. de Keghel presents an extensive history of our Craft on both sides of the ocean and philosophical divides, which is well worth the effort to read and ponder. It may be a very long time, if ever, that we may reconcile the differences outlined in the book. This should not prevent us but rather encourage us to better understand how our brothers from other Masonic traditions practice their Craft and how they perceive us. Reading this book should further promote interaction with all our brothers within the bounds of our obligations. Interaction is always a good thing, especially with a group with whom, despite our differences, we have so very much in common. I highly recommend this book to every inquiring Freemason.”
— Martin L. Kanter, past master of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York
“I recommend this volume to any with an interest in the development of the Craft in the United States and am confident it will make a serious and useful investment of their time. De Keghel’s view from a Scottish Rite perspective is of particular interest to me, a York Rite as well as a Scottish Rite Mason. I encourage all serious students of this subject to include American Freemasonry into their library.”
— Edmund D. Harrison, 33º, general grand high priest (2011–2014)