by Jay Krasnow, History of Yesterday, September 26, 2022
Fourteen presidents have been Freemasons, a society that seeks to strengthen and improve the community by doing the same for its membership. Many of these presidents commented positively on their membership in the group, and some even cited Freemasonry as a foundation to the way they governed. George Washington spoke effusively about his respect for the tenets and principles of Freemasonry. While president, Andrew Jackson stood by as Georgia violated the federal treaty by seizing nine million acres inside the state that had been guaranteed to the Cherokee tribe. President Johnson did anything but meet on the level, when it came to implementing the slain leader’s civil rights vision.
Instead of leading the southern states to embrace civil rights for the emancipated slaves, he delegated that authority to the states themselves. McKinley was impressed by a doctor’s kindness to Confederate prisoners, which he carried over to the White House. McKinley received his masonic degrees as a union officer in a southern lodge where many of the Masons were Confederates. One of McKinley’s priorities was ending sectionalism, which meant parts of the nation prioritizing their region over that of the whole. William Howard Taft was elected President of the United States in 1909, with the blessings of then-President Theodore Roosevelt.
In his autobiography, Taft describes why he chose to join the Freemasons: “It really did live up to what we as a government are pledged to — of treating each man on his merits and as a man”. Taft seems to have taken little interest in the civil rights issue, aside from meeting with African-American leader Booker T. Washington. Children benefitted directly and indirectly from many New Deal programs. Millions of malnourished school children benefited from the Works Progress Administration school lunch program. Roosevelt urged Freemasons to do whatever they can to support the cause he would champion as president.
Masonic principles can help America retain inspiring aspirations while adapting to a new age. Ford: I believe that I am a servant of God. President Ford frequently spoke of God, not the least of when he pardoned President Nixon. Taft joined Freemasonry shortly after he became president; Theodore Roosevelt became a Freemason while serving as vice-president; Andrew Jackson received his degrees some 30 years before becoming president.