Freemasonry and Civil Society

Europe and the Americas (North and South)

by Margaret C. Jacob (Author) María Eugenia Vázquez Semadeni (Author)
©2023 Monographs XVI, 154 Pages


This is the first comprehensive account of freemasonry in the Western world, written by two of the field’s foremost scholars. It embraces every country in the Americas, with a particular focus on the American experience. The authors devote significant attention to the Scottish origins of the lodges and their growth in the American colonies, against a backdrop of European imperialism and the emergence of democratic movements. Later they examine the story of freemasonry in the twentieth century, from its encounter with Nazism to its decline beginning in the 1960s. Future directions for the movement are also discussed. Along the way major figures in the movement are assessed: Benjamin Franklin, Alessandro Cagliostro, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Harry S. Truman, and many others.
Masons and non-masons, college students, and the curious general reader will find Freemasonry and Civil Society a dazzling and accessible account of one of the world’s most enduring fraternal organizations
“In this lucid and engaging survey, two of the world’s leading experts on the history of freemasonry explain how it shaped modern social and political cultures. The history of freemasonry can be bewildering, but Margaret Jacob and Maru Vázquez provide an authoritative and accessible overview which deftly disentangles the many different threads in the masonic story. This will be the definitive introduction to the history of freemasonry for many years to come.”
—Andrew Prescott, University of Glasgow

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Figures
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Chapter One. British Origins
  • Freemasonry and the Hermetic Tradition
  • Political Upheaval, Revolution, and a New Constitutional Order
  • Ancients and the Moderns
  • Chapter Two. European Lodges in the Age of Enlightenment
  • The 1780s
  • Chapter Three. Freemasonry in the New World. North America
  • Chapter Four. European Freemasonry in the Age of Nationalism and Imperial Expansion
  • Chapter Five. Freemasonry in the New World: Latin America, 1770 to c. 1830
  • The First Lodges
  • Freemasonry and Independence
  • Freemasonry in the New Nations
  • Cuba
  • Freemasonry and Republican Political Culture: The Mexican Case
  • Chapter Six. United States Freemasonry: From the Civil War to the End of World War II and Beyond
  • The Great Depression
  • Chapter Seven. Freemasonry in Latin America and Spain, 1850s–1940s
  • South America
  • Central America and the Caribbean
  • Mexico
  • Spanish Freemasonry in Exile
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Index


XVI, 154
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2023 (July)
English origins, the Enlightenment French Revolution conspiracy theories Catholic Church and persecution democracy Paris Commune American lodges working in Latin America republican political culture modern politics Freemasonry and Civil Society Europe and the Americas (North and South)
New York, Berlin, Bruxelles, Chennai, Lausanne, Oxford, 2023. XVI, 154 pp., 31 b/w ill.

Biographical notes

Margaret C. Jacob (Author) María Eugenia Vázquez Semadeni (Author)

Margaret C. Jacob holds the position of Distinguished Chair of Research in History at UCLA. She has a Ph.D. from Cornell University and an honorary doctorate from Utrecht University in the Netherlands. She is a Guggenheim Fellow and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Philosophical Society. She is the author of The Radical Enlightenment: Pantheists, Freemasons, and Republicans; Living the Enlightenment: Freemasonry in Eighteenth Century Europe; The Newtonians and the English Revolution; and The Secular Enlightenment. María Eugenia Vázquez Semadeni has a Ph.D. from El Colegio de Michoacán, Mexico. She has held postdoctoral positions at the Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas, UNAM, México, and at UCLA, as well as Tinker Visiting Professor at Stanford University. She is a member of the Centro de Estudios Históricos de la Masonería Española, and a founding member of the Centro de Estudios Históricos de la Masonería Latinoamericana y Caribeña. She is the author of La formación de una cultura política republicana: El debate público sobre la masonería. México 1821–1830.


Title: Freemasonry and Civil Society
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172 pages