European and American Roman Catholic writers link the American Protective Association with Freemasonry, and classify it as either a camouflaged "political arm" of the Craft or as a Side Order. This is not true. It is a matter of known history, of which the records are preserved, that the A.P.A, was never in any manner either connected with Masonry or encouraged by it. The A.P.A, was founded in Clinton, Iowa (a small town in an agricultural district), by seven men "to combat Roman Catholic influence in public schools and in politics.'' Its founders announced that they did not oppose Roman Catholicism as a religion; nor Roman Catholics as foreigners; they denied that theirs was a "nativistic" movement, or that it was based on racial issues like the Ku Klux Klan; and insisted that they were only opposed to church interference in politics and the schools. The founder, H. F. Bowers, a Clinton attorney and a Methodist, was Supreme President until 1893, when he was succeeded by W. J. H. Traynor. The A.P.A. was an active force in politics throughout the 1890's, and established branches in Canada, England, and Mexico. It was at one period closely connected with the Junior Order of United American Mechanics.
Though not one of the "nativistic'' crusades it nevertheless followed the same curve as they of rapid early development followed by a general decline, of which the typical case was the once famous Know-Nothing Party. Historians recognize four well-established reasons for the general lack of success of patriotic secret societies: their field is too narrow to keep members interested; they are captured by professional politicians; they tend to split up; and Americans, like English-speaking peoples everywhere, dislike secret political or patriotic organizations and prefer to keep their politics in the public forum of open discussion.
The Encyclopedia Masonica exists to preserve the wealth of information that has been generated over the centuries by numerous Masonic authors. As Freemasonry is now Speculative and not Operative, the work of a Mason is now conducted in the quarries of symbolism, literature, history and scholasticism. Freemasonry encourages intellectual exploration and academic achievement in its members and many Masons over the years have taken up this calling. The result has been that an incredible amount of philosophy, symbolic speculation and academic insights have been created. However, as Freemasonry teaches, human knowledge is frail and fragile. It is easily lost in the turnings of the ages and unforeseen catastrophes can result in great setbacks to human knowledge.
For too long these great works have sat on forgotten shelves, gathering dust and concealing the light that could be shed on the darkness of our ignorance. The Encyclopedia Masonica has been created to act as an ark, sailing through time, to ensure that future generations of Freemasons have access to the same knowledge that inspired the Brethren that came before them. It will contain the works of such Masonic Luminaries as Albert G. Mackey, Manly Palmer Hall, G.S.M. Ward, Albert Pike and many others. The Encyclopedia Masonica is a living work and the volunteers of Universal Co-Masonry will continue to labor until the most comprehensive Masonic reference work the world has ever seen has been created. The Encyclopedia Masonica is open to any who wish to use it and will remain open so that the treasures contained within may increase the wealth of all those who seek its wisdom.
- BROTHER ISAAC NEWTON
P.O. BOX 70
Larkspur CO 80118
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