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Revolutionary Brotherhood: Freemasonry and the Transformation of the American Social Order, 1730-1840 (Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early ... History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia) Paperback – September 7, 1998


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Product Details

  • Series: Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 2 edition (September 7, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080784750X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807847503
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #421,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The book s strength is its placement of Masonry in a variety of surrounding intellectual contexts. "Journal of Southern History"

Book Description

"This encompassing and stimulating study . . . is an impressive synthesis about the place of Freemasonry in eighteenth and early nineteenth century American society and assuredly will be recognized as a landmark in the field."--Journal of Social History

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 22, 1998
Format: Hardcover
As the first third party in an American presidential election (1832) the Anti-Masonic Party has usually appeared suddenly in the story of the Jacksonian Era with little explanation except that the Masons were suspected in the murder of one William Morgan, who threatened to reveal their innermost rituals and secrets. The prosecution of the case was hampered by the fact that Masons dominated local and state government, which came to be seen an secret, elitist plot against democratic institutions. Steven C. Bullock traces the history of the Masonic movement from England to America and demonstrates how Masons were critical to the success of the American Revolution and the creation of a new nation under the Constitution of 1789. As such the Masons were not a sudden a aberration in American history but a group central to the early history of the nation. Masonic meetings gave members a place to learn how democratic government worked, how to socialize, how to argue without resorting to force, and how to participate in establishing a concept of national interest, or virtue, in the language of the times. Bullock's volume is one of the most critical interpretations of this period in American History. Do not be put off by its academic style or philosophical tone, especially in the first chapter. It really moves along afterward and demonstrates how an organization that boasted such diverse members as Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Joseph Smith (the founder of Mormonism), and Andrew Jackson came to be seen as a conspiratorial institution that needed to be curbed for the betterment of an egalitarian American democracy. It also illustrates how the Masons sprang back from near destruction to be the charitable organization better recognized by Americans living today. It's well worth while!
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Phillips on June 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
Steven Bullock has added a great deal to the study of Masonry with this book. If nothing else were accomplished he makes clear to the Freemason the true difference between ancient and modern Masonry. This book is also a fine study of the social history of the United States in its early years. Often overlooked by historians, the importance of the Freemasons in the early republic is finally looked at in depth.
Freemasonry often claims a large role in the advent of the Revolution which according to Bullock does not seem to be the case. On the other hand its importance to the American cause during the Revolution can hardly be overstated. Southern planters like Washington and Lee had little in common New Englanders such as General Greene, a Quaker from Connecticut. They had even less in common with the likes of Lafayette and von Steuben. Their one common link was Freemasonry. It seems that the officer corps of the American army forged its strong bonds around the fraternity. Not just the generals but many officers of all ranks seem to have bonded through Masonry. Military lodges spread the fraternity through out the army and soon some regiments actually marched with the officers wearing their Masonic badges of office.
Freemasonry as the title of this book suggests seems to have been important in the transformation of the American social order after the war. Masonry acted somewhat as a school for democrats but the fraternity itself began to grow into an elite order of "nobility" that almost became a new aristocracy. This status would help bring on the antimasons as the brotherhood which had helped mold early America's social order failed to change with changing times.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David Dare on August 12, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Professor Bullock's book is very well written and very interesting. If you are involved in the craft of Freemasonry, this is one of the books that I recommend that you read. It does touch upon some of the appendant/concordant body ritual aspects as well, so you may want to keep an eye out before reading into that part if you hope to join those bodies at some point. For the most part, it is not a problem and this book is great for everyone. It is specific to the "American" situation of Freemasonry, but still a wonderful book. As the Master of St. John's Lodge #1 from Rhode Island, I can say that our minutes and records demonstrate further some of the precepts of this book. An excellent source of light, one might say.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Dr. C. H. Roberts on May 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a "must have" book for the person wanting to add a solid, well researched, and reliable study of the history and role of Freemasonry in these United States.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Steven D. Wittberger on February 21, 2009
Format: Paperback
Dr. Bullock, a non-Mason, casts a keen historical eye over this important period of our American history and adroitly explains Freemasonry's
considerable part in it that it played. A must read for Masons and non-masons alike.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Al J. Conetto on October 4, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was amazed at the influence Masonry had on the development of this country. We all know that Washington, Franklin, etc were Masons and contributed to making our country what it is now. But, I didn't realize that the fraternity and its teachings and philosophy played such a part in our freedom and representative government.

Every Mason should read this book twice. The first time I couldn't digest all the information and so I am reading it again. I especially want to make sure I didn't miss anything. Very thorough, deep, history of Masonry in the United States from the beginning of our nation.
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