Sat, Apr 29|
300th Anniversary of Anderson's Constitutions
How Freemasonry influenced the Constitution of the United States with Dr. Ric Berman, Secretary of Quattuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076. Business meeting 2 pm. Talk at 3 pm (open).
Time & Location
Apr 29, 3:00 PM – Apr 30, 5:00 PM
Denver, 4819 Montview Blvd, Denver, CO 80207, USA
About the event
If anyone doubts that Freemasonry as it is practised today was derived from the Grand Lodge of England, let him compare the new Charges with those of an older date. He will find that the severance from any and all pre-existing connections was as fundamental and complete as was the severance of the American colonies from England after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Our national history begins with the Declaration. Indeed, the history of the United States is ‘merely the story of the working out of the principles set out in the Declaration’… Just so the history of Freemasonry begins with a declaration of principles. These are set forth in the New Constitutions promulgated by the Grand Lodge of England and form the basic law of the Fraternity throughout the world. Indeed, the story of Freemasonry is merely the working out of those principles.
Ossian Lang, History of Freemasonry in the State of New York (1922)
2023 marks the tercentenary of the publication in London of The Constitutions of the Freemasons – the ‘1723 Constitutions’ – whose Enlightenment principles provide the philosophical foundations of modern Freemasonry. Most Masonic history has been concerned with ‘when’ and ‘what’. In this talk, Ric Berman examines ‘why’, and explores some of the consequences.
The 1723 Constitutions is a statement of radical Enlightenment beliefs, a product of its time and of its authors’ values. Key to understanding the context in which it was written (and ‘why it was written’), is an appreciation of the febrile political and religious environment at the turn of the seventeenth century and early decades of the eighteenth. This led to the Grand Lodge of England providing implicit support for the philosophical principles that lay behind the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688 and the 1689 Bill of Rights. Through the influence of the Dukes of Montagu and Richmond, and the endeavours of Dr Jean Theophilus Desaguliers, George Payne and others, Freemasonry was transformed into an organisation that advanced an Enlightenment agenda, championed aspiration and opposed absolutism.
The changes were effected through the introduction of new Masonic ritual and the rewriting of Freemasonry’s Charges and Regulations to advance principles that included constitutional government; religious tolerance; the promotion of education and science – a world interpreted through rational observation rather than religious diktat; personal self-improvement; and meritocracy.
The 1723 Constitutions also provided a legal framework for Freemasonry, a rulebook that would be emulated by many other secular clubs and societies both in Britain and around the world. Masonic practices included the election of Officers subject to democratic accountability, with one lodge member wielding one vote; majority rule; orations by elected officials; a federal national governance structure; and written by-laws and constitutions.
Freemasonry’s tenets were embraced not just in Britain but also, and perhaps most obviously, in America, where the political content of its moral vision and discourse framed many of the tenets contained in the U.S. Constitutions.
About the Speaker
Ric Berman is the author of numerous journal articles, books and academic papers, and has delivered plenary lectures at conferences and symposia globally. He holds a Master’s in Economics from the University of Cambridge and a Doctorate in History from the University of Exeter, following which he spent two years at the University of Oxford's Modern European History Research Centre. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a Life Fellow of the Huguenot Society and a Visiting Research Fellow at Oxford Brookes University.
A Freemason for more than forty years, Ric Berman holds Grand Rank in the United Grand Lodge of England and is a Past Master of three English Lodges including Quatuor Coronati Lodge # 2076, the premier lodge of Masonic research. He is also an American Freemason, a member of Fiat Lux # 1717 in Washington D.C., and a Fellow of the Philalethes Society.
Research Lodge Member
From $10.00 to $15.00
Research Lodge Members Only. Admission and Banquet. (Please click "View more price options" for drop down selection for admission ticket and to select banquet meal ticket.)
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+$0.25 service fee
+$0.25 service fee
From $15.00 to $25.00
Tickets for non-members. Admission and Banquet. (Please click "View more price options" for drop down selection for admission ticket and to select banquet meal ticket.)
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+$0.38 service fee
+$0.38 service fee