The Beginning of American History
The early years of American history were devoted to basic survival, as the English colonists endeavored to live in the swampy, disease-ridden Virginia colony and in the frigid, inhospitable New England colonies. The European explorers and colonists had no idea what to expect when they reached the “New World,” and the very first colonists found they were ultimately unprepared for the adventure. Perhaps one of the biggest surprises was the fact that they were not alone – in fact, civilizations had risen, flourished, and vanished for more than 10,000 years on the North American continent.
How the colonists adapted to their new environment is a testament to their will to replicate on distant shores the European society into which they were born. Whether it was the Spanish or English colonies, Europe staked its claim on North America. In order to make room for this new civilization the settlers took by force what the Native populations refused to voluntarily relinquish. From the beginning, the American colonies were steeped in the violence that would be a hallmark of this new society. How this New World evolved is where this history begins.
Why did the Europeans come to America?
Magellan, Cortez, Columbus, all of the European explorers who traveled to the far reaches of the planet, did so for the same basic reason: they were searching for resources of one kind or another. They sought riches in the form of gold, spices such as pepper, luxury food items like coffee, sugar, and cocoa, and they sought land and timber for agricultural development, settlement, and ship-building. Since none of these products could be produced in Europe and there was very little land available for agriculture and settlement they had to find these resources elsewhere. As they encountered new lands and peoples, they traded their finished goods for the raw materials grown, mined, and harvested in these “exotic” places. Therefore, the ever-increasing populations of Europe began to move across the globe, settling in the far-off places described by the explorers and endeavoring to make new lives as colonists – distant subjects of European monarchies.
Trading with distant lands, such as Asia, required dependable marine technology. With the desire to procure goods from distant lands, it was imperative that Europeans develop technology that would enable stronger, faster, and more efficient ships, such as those utilized by the controversial Christopher Columbus.
Columbus, famously – yet erroneously – noted for discovering America, wanted to find a westward route to Asia. Having been turned down by Portugal, Columbus approached Spain with the proposition of funding a mission to find this new route. Spain agreed, and in 1492 Columbus set sail west from Spain in search of Asia. What he found instead was North America – specifically the Bahamas and Cuba.
It was not long after that Spain claimed the entire New World as its territory, with the exception of Brazil, which was determined to be Portugal’s. From Spain, however, came the Conquistadores to the New World, which marked the beginning of true colonization. The Conquistadores began by settling in the Caribbean, but by 1518 Mexico was under the leadership of Hernando Cortes.
The overall purpose of the settlement of the New World by Spain was to acquire new wealth. Mexico provided that wealth in the form of gold and silver, but it also provided an obstacle to settlement in the form of the Aztecs. However, greatly assisted by the smallpox disease, Cortes ultimately defeated and conquered the Aztecs and Spain acquired its wealth.
As Spain looked north from Mexico it had visions of even more treasure. By 1565, the first European settlement was established in present day America at the Spanish fort in what is now St. Augustine, Florida.
Although Spain had claimed the New World as its sole territory, it was not the only European country seeking new land. In fact, John Cabot had found North America and staked England’s claim to it in 1497, only five years after Christopher Columbus had set sail from Spain.
Some in England saw America as an opportunity to start over, rather than just to obtain more wealth. The toll of war after war, religious strife, and a difficult economic situation for the serfs of England caused many to view America as a place where a perfect society could be established. However, not everyone was suffering in England; in fact, there was a rising class of merchant capitalists that were prospering from increased foreign trade.
However, England and much of Europe began to favor the concept of mercantilism. Mercantilism rests on the assumption that the nation as a whole was the principal actor in the economy, not the individuals within it. Therefore, the goal of mercantilism was to increase national wealth. Merchant capitalists saw this as an opportunity to profit by serving the nation. However, as mercantilism peaked in Europe, these merchant capitalists had to seek out new trade partners – such as overseas colonies.
Strong governments resulted in a more stable economy, but also in religious persecution. The Protestant Reformation, the English Reformation, and other Reformation movements spread throughout Europe, resulting in intellectual and physical disputes between orthodox Catholicism and its alternatives. Martin Luther and John Calvin, although working independent of each other, were considered the leaders of this European Reformation movement. By the early 17th century, many religious nonconformists began looking for a new place to live and worship.
It should also be mentioned that in addition to the English and the Spanish, the French and the Dutch, largely due to the mercantilism policies of European governments, had established colonies in America.
Tobacco Saves The Day
Tobacco Saves the Day
One of the first British colonies in America, Jamestown was profoundly impacted by the cultivation of tobacco. To understand the importance of tobacco to the survival of the colony it is first important to understand why the colony had been initially established.
Jamestown was a colony established by the London Company, a private venture chartered by James I in 1606, to colonize America. The settlers of Jamestown were aware of the failed Roanoke colony, and decided to learn from the mistakes of Roanoke. Therefore, when they arrived in America they sailed inland through the Chesapeake Bay and up the James River where they established a colony on a peninsula, which they called Jamestown.
They chose this location because they thought it could be easily defended, but the decision to locate here cost nearly all their lives. The location was low and swampy, hot and humid, and subject to outbreaks of malaria. In addition, the area was surrounded by thick woods, making it difficult to cultivate.
Malaria outbreaks, coupled with a lack of food due, in part to excessive greed and unwillingness to work, almost led to the extinction of the settlement. Under the leadership of Captain John Smith, however, the colony survived. More turbulent times were ahead for the colony, including confrontations with local Indian tribes and potential starvation. However, through some luck, the London Company (aka the Virginia Company) endured. One of the reasons was the discovery of a marketable commodity that was easily grown in their area: tobacco.
Europeans had been aware of American tobacco ever since the first voyage of Christopher Columbus. He observed natives using the plant. By the early 17th century, Spain had taken advantage of this new-found crop and began supplying all of Europe. The demand continued to grow throughout Europe, despite some concerns of the English. King James I urged his subjects not to use tobacco and “imitate the barbarous and beastly manners of the wild, godless, and slavish Indians, especially in so vile and stinking a custom.” Another concern of the British was that by purchasing and using tobacco, they were actually funding Spain.
By 1612 however, Jamestown colonist and planter John Rolfe began to cultivate tobacco. As the Jamestown and other English colonies cultivated more and more, the English demand for tobacco increased. One of the primary and immediate results of this increased demand for tobacco was the need for more land, as tobacco cultivation requires a great deal of it. Colonists began to establish plantations deeper into the interior of America, further and further away from Jamestown, and infringing on more of the land of the natives.
In addition to tobacco, the colonists grew other agricultural products. However, they were not efficient in cultivating crops in this new land, and despite the assumption of superiority in culture the colonists learned a great deal about agriculture from the natives.
The Indians of Virginia had long been established farmers, growing beans, pumpkins, potatoes, corn, and other vegetables. The colonists adopted some, but not all, of the techniques of the natives – such as the annual burning for fertilization and planting of beans to replenish exhausted soil. Nonetheless, the agricultural technologies and products that the natives introduced to the colonists did indeed help them ultimately survive.
Europeans Arrive – And They Are Not Alone
Europeans arrive – and they are not alone
European settlers had a profound impact on the history of America, but, to be completely clear, one must acknowledge that they were not the first to settle, let alone discover, America.
A quick glimpse of the historical timeline shows that in the years 14,000 -12,000 B.C. nomadic tribes from Asia began to cross the Bering Straight, a land bridge at the time, from Asia to North America. From there, these peoples migrated southward throughout North and South America, establishing civilizations all along the way. Some of the civilizations were more nomadic, like those of northern North America, while others were more permanent, like those of the Aztecs, Incas, and Mayans. Each was impacted by the arrival of Europeans, mostly in negative ways.
It was these cultures that greeted the Europeans upon their arrival. The greetings were not always negative; if it were not for the help of the natives in present-day Central and South America, the Europeans would not have so easily found gold, silver, and other riches. It was the natives that helped guide the Europeans. From there, greed took over.
One of the more obvious impacts of Europeans on the native civilizations was that of conquest. The Conquistadores of Spain are a shining example of this, as they ultimately conquered and ruled the Aztec nation. The Conquistadores saw the natives as “savages,” and worked toward a policy of extermination and subjugation.
In addition to the extermination of life, Europeans worked to exterminate cultural aspects of the natives. They destroyed records, documents, temples, and monuments, razed cities, and systematically killed leaders. They worked to destroy the native civilization and culture.
Displacement from historical territories is another impact suffered by the natives. Whether it was the colonists of Jamestown in present-day New England or others, land was a prized and necessary aspect of survival. Some of the displacement came as the result of a desire for more profits, as was the case with the tobacco plantation of the Jamestown area, while other displacements came as the result of being forcibly removed from territories.
The natives of America suffered mightily from the military escapades of Europeans, which resulted in the loss of life, territories, and autonomy. However, the most devastating impact on the native cultures was European diseases, to which the natives had not developed immunity. Similar to how the English colonists of Jamestown were not immune to malaria and suffered from its effects, the natives suffered from outbreaks of diseases brought by the Europeans. These diseases included smallpox, measles, chicken pox, mumps, typhus, and influenza. These diseases led to the near extinction of many native cultures.
The British Stronghold
The British Stronghold
As the British colonies became more and more established and independent, especially economically, the British saw an opportunity and a need to exert meaningful control over the colonies. The primary reason for the renewed emphasis on controlling the colonies and taking advantage of their economic success was to improve the British economy.
England’s economy was based on the mercantile system, where the majority of trade is done within one’s own territory, thus keeping the kingdom’s money in the kingdom. The fact that the colonies existed, yet were not controlled, threatened this system. The English viewed the colonies as a good market for the goods produced in England, as well as a good source of raw materials. In order to fully take advantage of this, England needed to monopolize trade with the colonies and have more power to supervise them.
In 1650 and 1651, Parliament passed laws to keep Dutch ships out of the English colonies. However, under Charles II more aggressive Navigation Acts were passed. In 1660, the first Navigation Act limited the colonies to trade carried in English ships only. In 1663, the second Navigation Act required all goods being shipped from Europe to the colonies to travel first through England, allowing the goods to be assessed an English tax. In 1673, the third Navigation Act imposed duties on coastal trade among the English colonies. These acts also resulted in the establishment of British customs officials in America, as well as a government agency in England to oversee the colonies.
The ultimate goal of all of these actions was to increase profits to England and exert control over England’s American colonies. However, despite these efforts by the British, the Americans were able to forge a unique character and build a new society far removed both in miles and manner from their mother country.
Mesopotamian Successors To Babylon C 1600-550 B C E
Mesopotamian Successors to Babylon, c. 1600-550 B.C.E.
The Babylonian Empire came to an end around 1600 B.C.E. Raids by invaders known as the Kassites probably ended Babylonian rule. The Kassites ruled as a minority of conquerors over the native population. From there, a number of other civilizations took power at various times.
The Hittites were an Indo-European-speaking group with superior iron-based military technology and the chariot. They ruled a strong empire around 1450-1200 B.C.E., but eventually were overrun by other invaders. Their civilization featured a classic oriental monarchy, with a king that represented the sun god. The used cuneiform script, Babylonian literary themes, and adapted Hammurabi code.
The Phoenicians lived in present-day Lebanon and worked as traders and explorers. They were known as the first maritime civilization, and the area was an important conduit between Egypt and Mesopotamia. They sold products at Cadiz, Spain, in Carthage, and at posts along the Mediterranean. They were well-known for their famous purple wool cloth, furniture, metalware, and jewelry. They developed the Phoenician alphabet with 22 consonants.
The major contributions of the Hebrews were in the areas of religion, ethics, and roots of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. They were a small nation but were buffeted by strong powers. The Bible relates some of the major historical events of the Hebrews. Hebrews migrated to Canaan/Palestine under Abraham, c. 1800 B.C.E. Joseph and other sons of Isaac migrated to Egypt, c. 1550 B.C.E. Moses led the exodus from Egypt around 1300 B.C.E. The Confederation of the Twelve Tribes under judges occurred 1200-1020 B.C.E.
The rise of the Philistines, a united monarchy, occurred under Saul, David, and Solomon. David, considered the great Hebrew king, located the capital city in Jerusalem. The Assyrians captured the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C.E., giving rise to the legend of the Ten Lost Tribes. The age of great prophets took place from 750-550 B.C.E. The southern kingdom of Judah survived until the Chaldeans, under Nebuchadnezzar, destroyed Jerusalem and seized 15,000 captives. The era of Babylonian captivity lasted from 586-538 B.C.E. Cyrus, the king of Persia, allowed rebuilding of the temple at Jerusalem around 500 B.C.E. The area was under Hellenistic Greek and Roman rule after 322 B.C.E., and Romans suppressed a Jewish rebellion, which led to the Diaspora, in 70 C.E. The Hebrew religion centered around a warlike tribal deity known as Yahweh (Jehovah).
Prophets such as Micah, Amos, and Jeremiah developed concepts of one universal God over all mankind ruling with social justice and moral behavior. They also developed the idea of a coming Messiah.
The Assyrians put an end to the age of small states. They ruled a powerful empire and dominated the entire region through a number of city-states. Their officials were efficient and they had superior arms. Assyrian arts glorified the power of the king, especially as a hunter and warrior. They adopted the arch and column from the Babylonians. Early Near Eastern literature is found in the 22,000 clay tablets of King Ashurbanipal. In the Empire’s downfall, oppressed peoples overthrew the exhausted Assyrians. Egypt was the first to break away.
The Lydians and the Medes
The Lydians invented coinage around 675 B.C.E. Medes briefly dominated Iran from Ecbatana. Both groups were eventually conquered by Persians.
The Chaldean (Neo-Babylonian) Empire
The Chaldeans dominated the Fertile Crescent in the 6th century B.C.E. Nebuchadnezzar defeated the Hebrews and rebuilt Babylon. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon are called one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
Chart of the Thirteen Original Colonies
The British empire settled its first permanent colony in the Americas at Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. This was the but the first of 13 colonies in North America. The 13 colonies can be divided into three regions: New England, Middle, and Southern colonies. The chart below provides additional information include: years of settlement and founders.
COLONY NAME YEAR FOUNDED FOUNDED BY BECAME ROYAL COLONY
Virginia 1607 London Company 1624
Massachusetts 1620 Puritans 1691
New Hampshire 1623 John Wheelwright 1679
Maryland 1634 Lord Baltimore N/A
Connecticut c. 1635 Thomas Hooker N/A
Rhode Island 1636 Roger Williams N/A
Delaware 1638 Peter Minuit and N/A
New Sweden Company
North Carolina 1653 Virginians 1729
South Carolina 1663 Eight Nobles with a 1729
Royal Charter from Charles II
New Jersey 1664 Lord Berkeley and 1702
Sir George Carteret
New York 1664 Duke of York 1685
Pennsylvania 1682 William Penn N/A
Georgia 1732 James Edward Oglethorpe 1752
The founding fathers were those political leaders who were part of the American Revolution and the founding of the new nation after independence was won. There were many more than ten founders that had a huge impact on the American Revolution, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution. However, this list attempts to pick the top ten founding fathers who had the greatest impact. Honorable mentions not included were John Hancock, John Marshall, Peyton Randolph, and John Jay.
1. George Washington – Founding Father
Washington was born on February 22, 1732. He lost his father at age 11 and his half brother, Lawrence, took over that role. Washington’s mother was protective and demanding, keeping him from joining the British navy as Lawrence wanted. Lawrence owned Mount Vernon, and George lived with him from the age of 16. He was schooled entirely in Colonial Virginia and never went to college. He was good at math which suited his chosen profession of surveying.
Father: Augustine Washington – a planter who owned over 10,000 acres.
Mother: Mary Ball Washington – orphaned at 12.
Siblings:Two half brothers – Lawrence and Augustine; Three brothers – Samuel, John Augustine, and Charles; One sister – Mrs. Betty Lewis. Lawrence died of Smallpox and Tuberculosis in 1752 leaving Washington with Mount Vernon.
Wife: Martha Dandridge Custis – a widow with two children. They had no children together.
Career Before the Presidency:
In 1749, Washington was appointed as surveyor for Culpepper County, Virginia after a trek for Lord Fairfax into the Blue Ridge Mountains. He was in the military from 1752-8 before being elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1759. He spoke against Britain’s policies and became a leader in the Association. From 1774-5 he attended both Continental Congresses. He led the Continental Army from 1775-1783 during the American Revolution. He then became the president of the Constitutional Convention in 1787.
Washington joined the Virginia militia in 1752. He created and then was forced to surrender Fort Necessity to the French. He resigned from the military in 1754 and rejoined in 1766 as an aide-de-camp to General Edward Braddock. When Braddock was killed during the French and Indian War (1754-63), he managed to stay calm and keep the unit together as they retreated.
Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army – 1775-1783:
Washington was unanimously named Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. This army was no match for the British regulars and Hessians. He led them to significant victories such as the capture of Boston along with major defeats including the loss of New York City. After the winter at Valley Forge (1777), the French recognized American Independence. Baron von Steuben arrived and began training his troops. This help led to increased victories and the British surrender at Yorktown in 1781.
Despite being a member of the Federalist Party, Washington was immensely popular as a war hero and was an obvious choice as the first president for both federalists and anti-federalists. He was unanimously elected by the 69 electors. His runner up, John Adams, was named Vice President.
Reelection – 1792:
George Washington was able to rise above the politics of the day and carry every electoral vote – 132 from 15 states – to win a second term. John Adams, as runner-up, remained the Vice President.
Washington did not run a third time. He retired to Mount Vernon. He was again asked to be the American commander if the US went to war with France over the XYZ affair. However, fighting never occurred on land and he did not have to serve. He died on December 14, 1799 possibly from a streptococcal infection of his throat made worse from being bled four times.
Washington’s significance cannot be overstated. He led the Continental Army to victory over the British. He believed in a strong federal government which greatly influenced the nation during his eight years in office. He did not allow others to trap him as royalty. He worked on the principle of merit. His warning against foreign entanglements was heeded by future presidents. By declining a third term, he set up the precedent of a two-term limit.
Events and Accomplishments of George Washington’s Presidency:
Washington’s administration was one of precedents with many standards that are still followed. For example, he relied on his cabinet for advice. Since his cabinet appointments went unchallenged, presidents are generally able to choose their own cabinets. He chose a successor for Chief Justice John Jay from outside the bench instead of based on seniority.
Domestically, Washington was able to stop the first real challenge to federal authority with the suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794. Pennsylvania farmers were refusing to pay a tax and he sent troops to ensure compliance.
In foreign affairs, Washington was a huge proponent of neutrality. He declared the Proclamation of Neutrality in 1793 which stated that the US would be impartial toward belligerent powers currently in a war. This upset some who felt we owed a greater allegiance to France. His belief in neutrality was reiterated during his Farewell Address in 1796 where he warned against foreign entanglements. This warning became part of the American political landscape.
Washington signed Jay’s Treaty which gave away the United States’ right to neutrality of the seas allowing the British to search and seize anything they found on American ships travelling into ports of Britain’s enemies. In return, the British withdrew from outposts in the Northwest Territory. This forestalled further conflict with Great Britain until 1812.
In 1795, Pinckney’s Treaty helped relations with Spain by creating a boundary between the United States and Spanish held Florida. Further, the US was allowed to travel the entire Mississippi for purpose of trade. In the end, George Washington should be considered one of our most important and influential presidents of all time whose legacy still lives on today.
Washington was initiated, in 1752, in the Lodge at Fredericksburg, Virginia, and the records of that Lodge, still in existence, present the following entries on the subject. The first entry is thus: “Nov. 4th. 1752. This evening Mr. George Washington was initiated as an Entered Apprentice,” receipt of the entrance fec, amounting to £23s., was acknowledged, F.C. and M.M. March 3 and August 4, 1753. On March 3 in the following year, “Mr. George Washington” is recorded as having been passed a Fellow Craft; and on August 4, same year, 1753, the record of the transactions of the evening states that General Lafayette and General Washington shared not only a close friendship but membership in the Craft, a commonly used name for Freemasonry. On two occasions General Lafayette presented Masonic aprons to Washington (see Figure 4). One of these aprons, embroidered in colored silks by Madame Lafayette, bore the emblems of the Holy Royal Arch degree. The fact that this apron was especially made for Georgc Washington has led to much speculation that he was raised to that degree. This may be of considerable importance, for the “Royal Arch degree is the salient, spiritual degree of Freemasonry, not excepting the degree of Master Mason” (Steinmetz, 1946, 67).
While he was commander in chief of the American armies during the Revolutionary War, Washington frequently attended the meetings of military lodges. He presided over Masonic ceremonies initiating his officers and frequently attended the Communications of the Brethren (lodge meetings). Washington was nominated for Grand Mastership of the Independent Grand Lodge, an office he declined. In 1805, this lodge was renamed Alexandria Washington in his honor. To Masonic authorities, the evidence is clear that Washington was the master of a lodge. Testimony given by Timothy Bigelow in a eulogy before the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts two months after Washington’s death indicates that Washington’s Masonic experience was more than perfunctory.
The information received from our Brethren who had the happiness to be members of the Lodge over which he presided for many years, and of which he died the Master, furnishes abundant proof of his persevering zeal for the prosperity of the institution. Constant and punctual in his attendance, scrupulous in his observance of the regulations of the Lodge, and solicitous, at all times, to communicate light and instruction, he discharged the duties of the Chair with uncommon dignity and intelligence in all the mysteries of our art.
In his letters and addresses to Masonic bodies, Washington repeated his profound esteem for their principles. In 1797, he addressed the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts: “My attachment to the Society of which we are all members will dispose me always to contribute my best endeavors to promote the honor and prosperity of the Craft” (Sachse, 1915). Later in the same speech he said that the Masonic institution was one whose liberal principles are founded on the immutable laws of truth and justice and whose grand object is to promote the happiness of the human race. Only thirteen months before his death he declared to the Grand Lodge of Maryland, “So far as I am acquainted with the doctrines and principles of Freemasonry, I conceive them to be founded in benevolence, and to be exercised only for the good of mankind. I cannot, therefore, upon this ground, withdraw my approbation from it” (Mackey, 1966, 1095).
Historians have offered many reasons for the fact that a rag-tag American army, led by a general who had to go to the library to brush up on battle tactics, could defeat the strongest military power in the world. Many valid factors have been cited—the barrier of the Atlantic Ocean, the weakness of King George and his problems at home, the guerrilla tactics of the American army, etc.—but what has been overlooked is the influence of secret societies, especially Freemasonry, on America’s leaders. Some esoteric historians (Hall, 1951; Case, 1935) cite that of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, at least 50 were Freemasons.
Whether this is a fact or not cannot be presently corroborated, but substantial information supports that many of the offcers and enlisted men in the American military were Freemasons and many practiced the craft in the miliury lodges. According to General Lafayette (a Freemason himself), Washington “never willingly gave independent command to officers who were not Freemasons. Nearly all the members of his official family, as well as most other officers who shared his inmost confidence, were his brethren of the mystic tie” (Morse, 1924, ix).
Freemasonry allowed Washington greater control of and influence on his army. Those who breached military and Masonic secrets faced the penalty of death. Manly Hall (1951) and Paul F. Case (1935) report that 12 of Washington’s generals were Freemasons, and that this, in part, accounted for their strong allegiance during America’s darkest hours.
The underlying philosophy of Freemasonry (“The brotherhood of man and the Fatherhood of God”) was the foundation of political, religious, social, and educational reform, which was opposed by the monarchies of Europe and ecclesiastical authorities as well. Washington’s leadership and involvement with the craft gave him the confidence that America’s military secrets were safe. His involvement in Freemasonry, as Master of the Lodge, provided him with more than confidence, because the lodge ritual’s function was to elevate the participant’s consciousness.
A group of Freemasons experiencing the rituals and initiations in an altered state of awareness provided the internal strength and fortitude for them to grasp the importance of the American revolutionary experience, and its meaning for humanity as a whole. Thus the Atlantic Ocean, guerrilla tactics, and King George’s conflicts contributed to the defeat of the English army, but so did the Free masonic experience. It provided Washington the will and capacity to defeat King George when the world expected America’s defeat.
Washington’s reputed involvement in the American Rosicrucian Supreme Council is documented in an account entitled, “The Fulfillment of the Prophecy, The Consecration of Washington, The Deliverer, The Wissahickon.” The Wissahickon, a creek in Philadelphia, has a special meaning for Rosicrucians.
Wissahickon is much more than a word, or the name of a stream, however beautiful. To the true American it is synonymous with a pure Mystic religion, with the freedom of all religious sects, for it was here that the many sectarians established themselves; with the founding of the American Republic, because here was conceived the constitution, and here was held the first American Rosicrucian Supreme Council, here was Washington, one of its Acolytes consecrated, and here formed the Grand Temple of the Rosy Cross. Wissahickon the beautiful and to many of us, sacred as the Ganges is to the Hindu. (Clymer and Ricchio, 1972.
Our Story of Atlantis, or the Three Steps, describes the part the mystics of the Wissahickon played in founding America. There can be no doubt that Washington was familiar with and admired several of these mystics and occultists (such as Peter Miller who translated the Declaration of Independence into European languages, and Conrad Beissel), for it was Miller who convinced General Washington not to hang one of America’s first traitors but to release him to Miller’s custody. Familiarity with Washington’s policies toward traitors to the American cause allows one appreciation of the magnitude of Washington’s favor. It seems clear that Washington respected Miller and the mystics of the Wissahickon, but the nature of the friendship remains a mystery.
Washington’s views on the Illuminati, however, are very clear. He condemned them as “self- created societies” and dealt them a blow that led to their disappearance. When questioned about whether or not Illuminism had spread to Masonry in America, Washington answered that he “did not believe that the lodges of Freemasons in this country had as societies, endeavored to propagate the diabolical tenet of the former [Illuminati] or pernicious principles of the latter Jacobinism]” (Sparks, 1848, 11: 577).
George Washington’s metaphysical leanings are fairly well known; the depth of his spirituality is less so. During the Valley Forge episode his inner strength was perhaps the deciding factor in his ability to hold together what was left of his army (whom he sometimes referred to as his “Christian soldiers”). Washington spent a long time each day in prayer and meditation.
This habit of his is well known, and etchings of Washington on his knees beneath the trees of Valley Forge are common. He carried his daily practice of prayer into the lives of his soldiers, ordering prayers to be said in the army every morning, and on Sunday when no chaplain was available he read the Bible to his men and led the prayers himself (Heline, 1949)
Washington’s speeches and correspondence held many indications of his spiritual nature. Writing to Governor Trumbull of Connecticut, Washington confesses that he could “almost trace the finger of Divine Providence” through those dark and mysterious days which led the colonists to assemble in convention, thereby laying the foundation for prosperity, when he had “too much reason to fear that misery and confusion were coming too rapidly upon us.”
Esoteric tradition recognizes two prophecies related to Washington. One is a possible vision he had at Valley Forge, during which an “angel” showed him America’s future. Another account is an alleged Indian prophecy given to Washington by an old chief in 1770. The old sachem reportedly believed that the Great Spirit protected and guided Washington’s footsteps through the trials of life, and that Washington would become the chief of many nations of a people yet unborn, hailed as the founder of a mighty empire (Lawrence, 1931).
The astrological chart of George Washington computed for February 22, 1732, 10:15 a.m., also supports Washington’s spiritual inclinations and a direct access to his subconscious and unconscious minds, making him prone to unexpected vision and expanded consciousness. At Washington’s birth the sun was in the sign of Pisces, which predisposes natives to an intuitive, mystical, religious orientation. These abilities were tempered and structured by his lunar placement in the sign of Capricorn, the sign of structured hierarchical form, which gave Washington organizational stability. The ability to take abstract ideas and structure them into a philosophical system of life is shown by the moon in the ninth house, the house of higher mind and philosophy.
An additional grounding influence is present in Washington’s rising sign of Taurus. With Taurus as an ascendant, the president’s demeanor would have been slow, thorough, and patient. Yet another force drawing his mystical ideas into form is the moon trining the ascendant.
A mystic is one who has intuitions or intimations of the existence of inner and spiritual worlds, and who attempts to come into self-conscious communion with them. An occultist studies the hidden aspects of being, the science of life or universal nature. It is one who studies the structure and operations as well as the origin and destiny of the cosmos. Mysticism is a product of the heart, while occultism is primarily a product of the mind.
The metaphysical leanings of George Washington were decidedly mystical rather than mental or occult; Washington was heart-centered rather than mind-centered. Benjamin Franklin’s metaphysical tendencies, in contrast, were mental and practical.
Editor’s note from Reverse Spins: It is this editor’s belief that the Illuminati did finally penetrate the Freemasons in America but not until the latter half of the 19th century. So any talk of George Washington and the Founding Fathers being a part of a conspiracy or a One World Order is superfluous. Christian fundamentalism does not understand the sacred symbols used by the masons and the founding fathers. (e.g. the third eye, the pyramid, etc.)
Here is a Christian link with speeches and correspondence from George Washington whenever a masonic connection is made. George Washington was wary of fundamentalists as I am. The greatest enemy of religion and freedom is not the devil nor somebody else’s religion. It is fanaticism. George Washington knew this. It was why he was guarded in his speech and letters. Modern day fundamentalist are no different. Even though this link is biased, God bless him for making the information available.
George Washington’s Correspndence
Washington On Masonry
“Flattering as it may be to the human mind, and truly honorable as it is to receive from our fellow citizens testimonies of approbation for exertions to promote the public welfare, it is not less pleasing to know that the milder virtues of the heart are highly respected by a Society whose liberal principles must be founded in the immutable laws of truth and justice. To enlarge the sphere of social happiness is worthy of the benevolent design of a Masonic institution; and it is most fervently to be wished that the conduct of every member of the Fraternity, as well as those publications that discover the principles which actuate them, may tend to convince mankind that the great object of Masonry is to promote the happiness of the human race.”
ARCHAEOLOGISTS DISCOVER HISTORICAL GEM AT GEORGE WASHINGTON’S FARM-7/4/08
Excavations at Washington’s Boyhood Home Uncover Vital Piece of Presidential History … Found in one of the cellars, the pipe bears a clear Masonic crest; Washington joined the Fredericksburg Lodge of the Masons in 1753. …
The Crown of America
From Bloodline of the Holy Grail: The Hidden lineage of Jesus Revealed by Laurence Gardner, pp. 347-348.
From the Editor @ Reverse Spins: The author makes the case that Charles Edward Stuart of Scotland (Bonnie Prince Charlie) is a descendent of Jesus. He believes that George Washington made overtures to Charles Stuart to become the Monarch in the American Republic, implying that George Washington knew that he was a descendent of Jesus. I do believe that Jesus did have descendents so it is an interesting supposition.
I have one big problem with these type books, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, being the first. They tend to focus on a flesh and blood mentality, laying too much stress on the bloodline. They are looking for a ‘savior’ just as in Christianity which is ironic because they are anathematized by Christians.
The symbology is the most important, the blood is the Holy Spirit, the Grail–the Christ chalice within the heart, in other words we are all Sons of God and intended to put on the mantle of Christ.
“A popular alternative to absolute monarchy or dictatorship has been found in Republicanism. The Republic of the United States was created primarily to free the emergent nation from the despotism of Britain’s House of Hanover. Yet its citizens tend still to be fascinated by the concept of monarchy. No matter how Republican the spirit, the need for a central symbol remains. …”
“For the most part, those responsible for the United States’ morally inspired Constitution were Rosicrucians and Freemasons, notable characters such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Charles Thompson. The last, who designed the Great Seal of the United States of America, was a member of Franklin’s American Philosophical Society–a counterpart of Britains’s Invisible College. [Originally the Royal College, then forced underground. Some of its members were alchemists, Templars, Masons and believers in the bloodline of Christ.]
The imagery of the Seal is directly related to alchemical tradition, inherited from the allegory of the ancient Egyptian Therapeutate. The eagle, the olive branch, the arrows, and pentagrams are all occults symbols of opposites: good and evil, male and female, war and peace, darkness and light. On the reverse (as repeated on the dollar bill) is the truncated pyramid, indicating the loss of the Old Wisdom, severed and forced underground by the Church establishment. But above this are the rays of ever-hopeful light, incorporating the ‘all-seeing eye’, used as a symbol during the French Revolution.
“In establishing their Republic, the Americans could still not escape the ideal of a parallel monarchy–a central focus of a non-political, patriotic attachment. George Washington was actually offered kingship, but declined because he had not immediately qualifying heritage. [there are probably other reasons as well, editor]. Instead he turned to the Royal House of Stuart. In November 1782 four Americans arrived at the San Clemente Palazzo in Florence, the residence of Charles III Stuart in exile. They were Mr Galloway of Maryland, two brothers named Sylvester from Pennsylvania, and Mr Fish, a lawyer from New York. They were taken to Charles by his secretary, John Stewart. also present was the Hon Charles Hervey-Townshend (later Britain’s ambassador to The Hague) and the Prince’s future wife, Marguerite, Comtesse de Masillan. The interview–which revolved around the contemporary transatlantic dilemma–is documented in the US Senate archives and in the Manorwater Papers. Writers such as Sir Compton Mackenzie and Sir Charles Petrie have also described the occasion when Charles Edward Stuart was invited to become ‘King of the Americas’.
“Some years earlier, Charles had been similarly approached by the men of Boston, but once the War of Independence was over George Washington sent his own envoys. …”