Saturday, July 10, 2010

Was Thomas Jefferson a Mason?

Was Thomas Jefferson a Mason? I know this topic has been dealt with in Masonic and non-Masonic texts alike, but I have to confess I've not read much on the subject. But in perusing a letter Jefferson wrote in 1800 to Benjamin Rush, I was struck by this passage: "... for I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." The context in which Jefferson wrote this was an argument against the establishment of an "official" form of Christianity for the nascent United States. But any Freemason can't help but be struck by how peculiarly Masonic those words are—especially if you are a Scottish Rite Mason. And the Scottish Rite owes much to French masonry and Jefferson spent a great deal of time in France.

The full text of Jefferson's letter can be found here.

1 comment:

Magpie Mason said...

Bro. Gary,

There is no evidence anywhere that shows Jefferson was a member of the fraternity. Personally, I suspect he may have joined during his time in France, because a number of his friends were Masons.

As for that quotation itself, the sentiment is very common among the Founders. Remember TJ authored the Virginia Statutes of Religious Freedom.