Was Benjamin Franklin a Freemason?
Benjamin Franklin (born 1706, Boston) was one of the most prominent figures of the United States of America’s independence and was a prominent and active Freemason, as were many of the founding fathers.
Who was Benjamin Franklin?
“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise” You must have heard this phrase in your childhood. Wisdom from one of the most influential founding fathers of the United States of America, Benjamin Franklin.
Franklin was truly the man of all streams. He was an American scientist, a politician, an inventor, a businessman and a philanthropist.
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Franklin was the youngest son out of 17 children (seventeen…) born to his father, Josiah Franklin. Franklin and his father had an extremely close relationship, that extended into his adulthood. His father had aspirations for the young Benjamin to one day become a church minister.
Benjamin Franklin the writer
Josiah sadly didn’t have the resources needed to send his son to school for the length required, and so Franklin’s education ended at the age of 10. At the age of 12, he joined his brother, James, in the printing business.
Benjamin would later, at the very young age of 15, establish his own newspaper, “The New-England Cournat”, the first independent newspaper in the colonies (the American Colonies were under British rule at this time).
Franklin would ended up running away from home, to Philadelphia, where he continued in the newspaper/print industry.
Benjamin Franklin the Scientist
For those who haven’t been schooled in the US, you may not be aware that Franklin heavily involved himself in the sciences. He became an avid inventor. Here’s a few of his most significant inventions:
- The lightning rod – attracts a lighting strike, protects a home
- Bifocals – glasses that can be used if you have both nearsightedness and farsightedness
- Flexible urinary catheter – used in every hospital around the world – for obvious reasons
As well as inventing things, he delved into a wide range of sciences including physics, population studies and even ocean currents.
Benjamin Franklin the Freemason
If the above accomplishments were not enough, Franklin became a very prominent, public and active Freemason. He is perhaps one of the most distinguished and well-known Freemasons in our list.
Benjamin Franklin joins Freemasonry
Franklin joined Freemasonry in 1731, being initiated into a Masonic Lodge called “St. John’s Lodge”, in Philadelphia.
Franklin’s Meteoric rise in Freemasonry
Testament to his genius and prominence, Franklin became the Grand Master of Pennsylvania only a few years later (1734), making him the highest ranking Masonic officer in the whole State.
Franklin and International Freemasonry
Due to Benjamin Franklin’s high rank within Freemasonry, he was able to take part in Masonic visits abroad. In November of 1760, Franklin was present at a Grand Lodge of England meeting, in the Crown & Anchor bar in London.
Franklin also had close ties to French Freemasonry, even becoming a member of a Masonic Lodge in France called “Loge des IX Soeurs” which means “Lodge of the nine sisters”, in case your high-school French is a bit rusty 😉 .
Franklin & Voltaire as Masonic brothers
He also had the great honor of initiating French philosopher, Voltaire, into this Lodge. Voltaire, the extremely prominent Enlightenment era philosopher held a great deal of respect for his fraternal accomplice, Benjamin Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin, the American Revolution and Freemasonry
Everything we’ve described about Franklin’s life so far, including his Masonic career, occurred during a time when all American Colonies were under the King and the British Empire i.e. pre-1775.
Soon talk and actions of freedom and independence were brewing which would lead to war against Great Britain and the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Freemasonry and the American Revolution is a whole interesting topic on it’s own, and we’re got that article here.
Benjamin Franklin was the master of many disciplines; a writer, an inventor, a scientist and a politician. He was as instrumental in Freemasonry as he was in the American Wars of Independence. Franklin is most certainly one of the most illustrious of our Freemasonry alumni.
What a person!
Has Franklin or Freemasonry had an impact on your life and how you see things? If so, please share below.