Republican and Christian, 1757–1825
The second chapter considers the transformation of the fraternity during the Revolutionary War period and its impact on the nascent American society. Beginning in the middle of the eighteenth century, working men outside the elite joined a new and more democratic “ancient” variant of the fraternity and directed it toward an embrace the republican ideals of the new American society. “Ancient” military lodges—more than Protestant chaplains—knit together the officers of the Continental Army. Masonic military parades and public rituals signaled the identification of the fraternity with the new American society. Enlightenment influences on religious thought expanded the boundaries of Christianity to include Freemasonry; while efforts were made within the fraternity to make it more Christian.
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