Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Thomas Howard


The purpose of this thesis is to examine the influence of Freemasonry as a social and cultural organization in the development of colonial America and the men who were active in the organization from its introduction to the colonies up to 1770. Since Freemasonry was the first fraternal organization established in the colonies, I wanted to see how, and if, it affected the attitudes and actions of its members during the pre-Revolutionary War years.

In preparing this thesis, I worked closely with lodges and Grand Lodges throughout the country. My research included physical inspection of a variety of Masonic documents dating back to the 1730s, as well as the record books, reports, and addresses made by Masons of that period and Masonic scholars preceding me. Where possible, I have indicated a secondary source for information gained from archives and records of lodges and Grand Lodges that would not be readily accessible to a non-Mason.

I found through my research that the lessons and teachings of Freemasonry had a varying effect on the development of colonial America. In some regions, where Masonic activity was significant, there appears to have been a greater influence by Freemasons on the development of the colony. In contrast, where Masonic activity was less evident, its direct and indirect effect was not as noticeable.

I was able to conclude from my research that Freemasonry, as a social and fraternal organization, did influence the development of colonial America during the late colonial period.

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