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Borders of masonic cosmopolitanism

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Borders of masonic cosmopolitanism

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Torn between sentiments of exile, the search for new loyalties and passionate socio-political activism in their new homeland, German émigrés to the U.S. during a significant part of the nineteenth century experienced serious conflicts of interest. Based on a hitherto untapped fund of sources (both in manuscript and print), this project will map a generation of politically aware Germans negotiating a consistent cultural identity exposed to transatlantic tensions. By carefully reconstructing civil society engagement, their personal connections, collective biographies, networks and arenas of sociability will be illuminated. Furthermore, the project will investigate how German immigrants in the case studied conquered a voice and positioned themselves in the contemporary and contested societal debates of the period. Moreover, due to the nature of archival findings, it will be possible to reconstruct the personal motives and backgrounds of key actors involved.

Torn between sentiments of exile, the search for new loyalties and passionate socio-political activism in their new homeland, German émigrés to the U.S. during a significant part of the nineteenth century experienced serious conflicts of interest. Based on a hitherto untapped fund of sources (both in manuscript and print), this project will map a generation of politically aware Germans negotiating a consistent cultural identity exposed to transatlantic tensions. By carefully reconstructing civil society engagement, their personal connections, collective biographies, networks and arenas of sociability will be illuminated. Furthermore, the project will investigate how German immigrants in the case studied conquered a voice and positioned themselves in the contemporary and contested societal debates of the period. Moreover, due to the nature of archival findings, it will be possible to reconstruct the personal motives and backgrounds of key actors involved.

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Borders of masonic cosmopolitanism

  1. 1. The Borders of Masonic Cosmopolitanism – Revolution and Race in German-American Antebellum Freemasonry Andreas Önnerfors
  2. 2. Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076 Speakers program 2019–2020 Thursday, 19 November 2019: “The Borders of Masonic Cosmopolitanism: Revolution and Race in German-American Antebellum Freemasonry”, inaugural address by Bro. Andreas Önnerfors Thursday, 20 February 2020: “Sir John Soane and Freemasonry”, Bro. James Campbell Thursday, 14 May 2020: OPEN SESSION “The Roots of the Hiramic Legend and the Royal Arch and Ancient Semitic Texts”, Bro. Ola Wikander (LDH) Thursday, 25 June 2020 (Leicester): “PGM:s and DPGM:s”, Bro. Aubrey Newman Thursday, 10 September 2020: ”QC lodge and Western Esotericism around 1900”, Bro. Henrik
  3. 3. Structure of paper A “life-giving spark” across the Atlantic? Freemasonry in New York / Establishment of lodge Pythagoras Territory and authority: the split with Grand Lodge of New York and affiliation with the Grand Lodge of Hamburg “Open the door to misrule and anarchy”: the conflict over territorial jurisdiction Racial segregation as an issue of trans-Atlantic conflicts Hot-wiring Trans-Atlantic Masonic communications
  4. 4. A “life-giving spark” across the Atlantic? Consecration of lodge Pythagoras No. 1 in Brooklyn 2 May 1851 ”to facilitate this more intimate union between our German and American brothers, in order to further the best of freemasonry in general” and “become the binding force of the Arch uniting the basic pillars, the Grand lodges on this and that side of the Atlantic, or the chain of union, through which the life- giving spark flows from the one to the other.”
  5. 5. Freemasonry in New York / Establishment of lodge Pythagoras PGL NY (Antients) 1781 => 1784 GLNY 1822 – 1827: split between country and city GL Morgan-affair 1826: decrease from 480 to 79 lodges in 1840 in NYC and NY state 1837 – 1859, four GL: St. John’s Grand Lodge (1837-1850), Phillips Grand Lodge (1849-1858), St. John’s Grand Lodge (revived, 1853-1859), Willards (1837 – 1859) Trinity No. 10 (1790s), L’Union française No. 17 (1797), German
  6. 6. 1841: Mutual affiliation between L’Union française No. 17 and Pythagoras No. 86
  7. 7. Organizational development of Pythagoras 1841-1851: Lodge Pythagoras No. 86 in GLNY (Willard?) 1851-1854: Lodge Pythagoras No. 1 in Grand Lodge of Hamburg (GLH) 1854: a split in Pythagoras No. 1 leads to re-establishment of No. 86 under GLNY (Willard?) 1854-(1884/1902): Pythagoras No. 1 in GLH 1853: Franklin No. 2 (GLH) established in Tremont in 1853. 1871: Zeton zum Licht No. 3 (GLH) etablished in Hoboken 1854-(1993): Pythagoras No. 86 in GLNY, united with Trinity No. 12 in 1993 GLH-lodges cease to exist in NY and U.S. at the end of the 19C
  8. 8. Conflict on voting rights and representation in the QC of GLNY (city vs. upstate lodges) “liberate itself completely from the machinations of the American lodges, which it could not subscribe to, and as German lodge [aim] to work for the strengthening of German-ness [Deutschtum] and relations to the old fatherland.” Affiliation with Große Loge von Hamburg (1811/1737) as Pythagoras No. 1 in 1851 Exile and political activism (’48-ers’) Constitutional culture of US-Freemasonry ”heart” vs ”form” of Freemasonry Territory and authority: the split with GLNY and affiliation with the GLH
  9. 9. “Open the door to misrule and anarchy”: The conflict over territorial jurisdiction
  10. 10. Racial segregation as an issue of trans- Atlantic conflicts ”Freemasonry among people of colour in North America” (1859-60)
  11. 11. Monrovia – Hamburg – London – Paris – New York – Saxony GLH-affiliated freemason visits lodge in Monrovia/Liberia => claims constitution from Prince Hall GL => GLH investigates the legacy of the establishment in an international circular => pouring oil on the flames in its ongoing conflict with the GLNY: “it is sad but true that our American brethren have not emancipated themselves from this prejudice [of racial segregation].” WM of Pythagoras No. 1 writes a passionate defense of PH Freemasonry and admission of POC CFC of GLNY writes a statement, GL of Saxony representative reports back to his German GL Masonic papers in NY and Europe cover the unfolding scandal
  12. 12. Der Triangel Oder: Akazienzweige Am Lebensbaume Ächten Maurerthums (1855-1866)
  13. 13. • The Trans-Atlantic Cable as a Metaphor of Progress and Civilization • Rhetoric saturated with imaginaries of Light and Darkness • The Trans-Atlantic tension between GLH and GLNY foreshadows other ideological conflicts of nineteenth-century Freemasonry, not least the ’Great Divide’ of 1877 Hot-wiring Trans-Atlantic Masonic communicati

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