The Architects of America: Freemasons and the Growth of the United States

By Russell Charles Blackwell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7. “THEY DETERMINED TO CONSULT VITRUVIUS,
PALLADIO, AND ALL OTHER WRITERS OF REPUTATION IN THE ART”

Freemasonry has exercised a greater influence upon
the establishment and development of this (the American)
Government than any other single institution. Neither
general historians nor the members of the Fraternity since
the days of the first Constitutional Conventions have
realized how much the United States of America owes to
Freemasonry, and how great a part it played in the birth of
the nation and the establishment of the landmarks of that
civilization..

—Heaton, Masonic Membership of the Founding Fathers


I

“The scene which that country presents to the eye of the spectator,” exulted Tom Paine in The Rights of Man, “has something in it which generates and encourages great ideas”. Whether this particular Englishman, author of Common Sense and other works that influenced America’s insurrection against his homeland ever mused on the nature of the mysterious “something” will forever remain within the realm of speculation; although one thing was self-evident by the time The Rights of Man was published in 1792108, and that was that “great idea” upon “great idea” found themselves on fertile ground in the former British colonies.

108 Thomas Paine, Introduction to The Rights of Man, 1792, part 2

-143-

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