Over the course of history there have been a number of regimes opposed to the Lodge’s values of liberty, tolerance and secular governance, and Masons have handled these situations in a variety of ways. Some have quietly stood against the regime, many others have been killed and some became revolutionaries. In the light of lies that Masons are working everywhere to undermine every regime, here is an honest appraisal of the Lodge and revolution.
Masons and Revolution
Part of the oath of the Lodge is to follow the law and to maintain loyalty to the government in place over them. In times and places where governments have become tyrannical, however, many Masons have felt that a higher law binds them to stand for their liberty. Each Lodge deals with these incidences individually, but in general, armed resistance is forbidden to Masons.
Masons and the American Revolution
The values of secular governance, liberty and equality before the law were highly revolutionary in the Eighteenth Century. The nobility believed that by right of birth they were subject to a different law, and the Church believed that it had the right to rule. The colonists who had been raised in the American Colonies had been brought up outside of the rule of the European nobility, and many had come here to achieve religious freedom. Masons like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin were among the men who led the charge against the English Crown when it sought to levy unfair taxes and occupy the colonies militarily. This began much of the worries on the part of reactionaries against the Lodge.
Masons and the French Revolution
After the success of the American Revolution, French opponents of the nobility and crown began to organize in their own country for a revolution. The slogan “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity” seems to have been borrowed from the Lodge, but shortly after the French royalty was overthrown, the Reign of Terror evoked the hostility of Masons around the world. One of the leaders of the more moderate wings of the revolution was the Marquis de Lafayette, himself a Mason and a major military leader in the American Revolution. Among the central thinkers inspiring the French Revolution, Voltaire, is often identified as a Mason, though he only joined a Lodge on an honorary basis shortly before he died.
Masons and Revolution in Mexico and Texas
In 1810 the Catholic Church had yet to condemn the Lodge formally, and a Mason and Jesuit priest named Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla began the movement to remove Spanish colonialism from Mexico. Part of the inspiration was a result of the French Revolution—after the Revolution fell apart, Napoleon took control of France and began invading countries across the continent. When he overthrew the Spanish crown, mestizo politicians in Mexico argued that Mexico ought to be independent out of loyalty to the King. The Spanish-born nobility which ruled Mexico at the time resisted this, and Hidalgo’s uprising was met with violence: Hidalgo was killed, though he inspired a revolutionary war which prevailed 10 years later.
After Mexico’s independence, a dictator named Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna rose up. We would be remiss in not mentioning that Santa Anna was also a Mason (we have our black sheep too), but his tyranny provoked uprisings in several Mexican states. The only of these to be successful was that in Texas, which won its independence in 1836 under the leadership of a Mason, Sam Houston. James Bowie, David Crockett, David G. Burnett and Stephen F. Austin (the “Father of Texas”) were all leaders of this revolution and also Masons.