Born: 1/17/1706 12:00:00 AM Died: 4/17/1790 12:00:00 AM
Most individuals recognize Benjamin Franklin as one the the United States’ most influential Founding Fathers, however, many do not realize that he was also a Freemason. In 1730, he joined the Masonic Lodge of St. John in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. By 1734, his hard work and dedication led him to the highest rank within his organization: Grand Master. That year, Franklin also published the first Masonic book printed in America, The Constitutions of the Free-Masons, which was produced in Philadelphia. Devoted to Freemasonry, Franklin remained an active member for over sixty years until his death in 1790 at age 84.
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin was the fifteenth of seventeen children. He attended the Boston Latin School until he decided to pursue a career as a journalist. Ending his formal education, he went to work as an apprentice printer for his brother, James Franklin: the creator of the first independent newspaper in the American colonies. At the age of twenty-four, Benjamin was hired by the Pennsylvania Gazette, where he was able to both publish and write editorials for the local community. One of Benjamin’s defining characteristics was his seemingly insatiable desire for knowledge. He was driven by a love of learning that ultimately led him to become one of the best writers, statesmen, and scientists of his day. In 1776, he was sent to Paris to serve as America’s diplomat to France. In France, he joined and became the Master of the Nine Sisters Lodge in Paris.
Brother Franklin held deep respect for the institution of Freemasonry. He explained his trust of Freemasons to his skeptical mother in a letter: “I assured her that they are in general a very harmless sort of people and have no principles or practices that are inconsistent with religion and good manners.” He respected his Brothers for their peaceful ways, strong morals, and dedication to self-betterment. Benjamin Franklin also possessed a strong faith in God, “the Great Father,” and worked towards a universal Brotherhood of all mankind.
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