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The order is believed to have arisen from the English and Scottish fraternities of practicing stonemasons and cathedral builders back in the early Middle Ages. Traces of the society have also been discovered as far back the 14th century. Because some documents of the order outline the sciences of masonry and geometry from Egypt, Babylon, and Palestine to England and France, some historians of Masonry claim that the group has roots in ancient times.
The formation of the English Grand Lodge in London (1717) was the start of the widespread distribution of speculative Freemasonry, the present-day fraternal order, that is not exclusively for practicing stonemasons. The six lodges in England in 1700 grew to about thirty by 1723. There exists a parallel formation in Scotland and Ireland; however some lodges remained unaffiliated and open just too practicing masons. By the end of the 18th century, there were Masonic lodges in most European nations as well as in lots of other parts of the world as well.
The first Masonic Hall or lodge in the United States was established in 1755 in Philadelphia; Benjamin Franklin was actually a member. Many of the leaders of the American Revolution, including John Hancock and Paul Revere, were members of St. Andrew’s Lodge in Boston. George Washington became a Mason in 1752. Brother Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Montier, more commonly known as the Marquis de Lafayette presented George Washington with the apron that he wore while laying the Cornerstone of the National Capitol in 1898. The apron is now in the Collection of the Grand Lodge, on deposit with the Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania.
During the time of the Revolution most of the American lodges broke from the their English and Scottish antecedents. Freemasonry has remained to be essentially significant in politics; 13 Presidents have been Masons, and at the same time quite a large number of the members of Congress have belonged to Masonic lodges.
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