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20 US presidents who belonged to secret societies

20 US presidents who belonged to secret societies

theodore roosevelttheodore roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt campaigns for the Presidency in 1904.

AP Dispute

To the paranoid mind, it potentially sounds somewhat startling that 20 out of 45 US presidents had been affiliated with some roughly secret society.

Are there any films with remotely benevolent secret orders? Most fictional secret societies are depicted as ominous — and typically characteristic difficult chanting, outdated-fashioned robes, sacrifices, and inaccurate global plots.

The societies presidents had been eager with, nonetheless, characteristic more admire social clubs. Below the secret handshakes and mysterious rituals, many are apt admire fraternities.

14 presidents were Freemasons. Masonic hotels if truth be told characteristic as combination of a social club, charitable organization, and alternate network. The fraternal organization has been around since as a minimum the 1700s, doubtless constructing from early in style organizations of stonemasons.

Listed below are the presidents who salvage belonged to Masonic hotels or other secret societies within the future.

Abby Jackson and Christina Sterbenz contributed to an earlier version of this post.

George Washington

george washington

George Washington.

VCG Wilson/Corbis by means of Getty Photos

Secret society: Freemasons

That is enticing. The most fundamental president of the US additionally came about to be reasonably interested in a secret society.

George Washington became as soon as the country’s first ever Masonic president.

In Ron Chernow’s “Washington: A Lifestyles,” he notes that the prolonged speed president could additionally fair had been attracted to the Masonic Whine’s adherence to Enlightenment beliefs.

Washington joined the Whine of the Freemasons early in his lifestyles, coming into Fredericksburg Resort No. 4 at the age of 20, in step with Mount Vernon’s official website

Masonic influences even came into play at Washington’s first inauguration. At some stage within the ceremony, he swore his oath on a Bible from St. John’s Masonic Resort No. 1 in New York.

The first president’s Masonic ties adopted him his whole lifestyles — and beyond. There is even a George Washington Masonic National Memorial, which became as soon as devoted in 1932 and within the kill accomplished in 1970.

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson.

Hulton Archive / Stringer / Getty Photos

Secret society: Flat Hat Club Society

Thomas Jefferson could additionally fair had been a member of the FHC. Society at the College of William and Mary, but that doesn’t suggest he became as soon as impressed by the group.

In one 1819 letter, the third US president mirrored on his skills within the secret society: “There existed a society known as the FHC society, confined to the change of six students easiest, of which I became as soon as a member, nonetheless it had no indispensable object. Nor attain I know whether it now exists.”

The initials FHC stood for “Fraternitas, Humanitas, et Cognitio” — Latin for “brotherhood, humanity, and info.” Nonetheless the group turned is continuously known as the Flat Hat Club, potentially a reference to the mortarboards students wore at the time.

People identified themselves with a secret handshake, at the side of a silver badge inscribed with the phrases “stabilitas et fides” (steadiness and faith, which is now the motto of William and Mary’s campus newspaper).

The group reasonably great died out when the Modern War interrupted classes. Nonetheless, the title lived on with William and Mary’s pupil newspaper and the secret society itself re-surged in 1972, below the title the Flat Hat Club.

Andrew Jackson

andrew jackson

Andrew Jackson.

Library Of Congress/Getty Photos

Secret society: Freemasons

Jackson’s situation as a Mason if truth be told turned a fundamental political self-discipline for the length of his presidency.

In 1826, Mason were implicated within the (accumulated unsolved) kidnapping of a New York man who threatened to price their secret rites. An anti-Masonic political celebration fashioned rapidly after, claiming Masons were nasty, elitist, and anti-democratic, Slate reported.

The Anti-Masonic Occasion came upon a pure foe in Jackson, who became as soon as no longer easiest a Mason, but a high-ranked one. Jackson served because the grandmaster of the astronomical resort of Tennessee from 1822 to 1824.

James Ample. Polk

James K. Polk

James Ample. Polk.

National Archives / Handout / Getty Photos

Secret society: Freemasons

Consistent with the “Complaints of the Gargantuan Resort of Kentucky,” the 11th president became as soon as initiated in Columbia Resort No. 31, Columbia, Tennessee in 1820. He became as soon as 25 at the time and had apt been licensed to observe law.

Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson.

Library of Congress

Secret society: Freemasons

In her biography on Johnson, historian Annette Gordon-Reed says that the extinct president remained a “proud Mason” for the length of his lifestyles and that “the local Masonic temple played a mammoth characteristic within the funeral lawsuits.”

Ulysses S. Grant

Ulysses Grant

Ulysses S. Grant.

The Library of Congress

Secret society: Self adequate Whine of Uncommon Fellows

18th US President and effectively-known Union frequent Ulysses S. Grant belonged to a society is continuously known as the Self adequate Whine of Uncommon Fellows.

The fraternal assert has its roots in early in style Europe and became as soon as an offshoot off of England’s Uncommon Fellows. The American version of the organization became as soon as officially founded in 1819 in Baltimore. The assert targeted on charitable causes and at final admitted each and each men and females as contributors.

Consistent with “The Regular’s Wife: The Lifestyles of Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant,” Grant joined the Whine after his wife turned pregnant with their 2nd child.

“The Papers of U.S. Grant” characteristic an invitation from the Whine asking then-President Grant to support its 50th anniversary occasion in Philadelphia in 1869.

James Garfield

James Garfield

James Garfield.

Mathew Brady / Stringer / Getty Photos

Secret society: Freemasons

Garfield easiest served about a months of his presidency earlier than being assassinated. He had a lengthier tenure within the Freemasons.

Consistent with the “Complaints of the Gargantuan Resort of Kentucky,” he became as soon as initiated into Magnolia Resort No. 20 in Columbus, Ohio in 1861, and went on to receive “the Capitular and Templar degrees, and those of the Resort of Perfection within the Scottish Ceremony.”

Rutherford Hayes

Rutherford Hayes

Rutherford Hayes.


Secret society: Self adequate Whine of Uncommon Fellows

A list of Hayes’ speeches displays that the 19th president spoke to gatherings of Uncommon Fellows 5 times from 1850 to 1887.

In his 1887 speech in Fremont, Ohio, where he ushered within the appointment of contemporary Uncommon Fellow officers, Hayes discussed his beget emotions referring to the assert and other societies admire it:

“The in reality helpful societies, typically known as secret societies (if truth be told, they are secret basically in title, and secret easiest to guard in opposition to imposture) … salvage below the the same pleasant roof in shut intimacy persons differing widely in occupation, politics, faith, and cases of lifestyles and fuse them without problems and naturally into total concord and cordial friendship.”

William McKinley

William Mckinley

William McKinley.

Library of Congress

Secret society: Freemasons, Self adequate Whine of Uncommon Fellows

McKinley succeeded Garfield as each and each the subsequent Masonic president and the subsequent president to be assassinated.

Roadside The usa features a post documenting the establish where McKinley became as soon as first initiated as a Mason while combating for the Union for the length of the Civil War. His Masonic legacy lives on at the original time, as the resort he as soon as belonged to is now named after him.

McKinley additionally belonged to the Uncommon Fellows, admire Hayes and Grant.

Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt.

Hulton Archive / Stringer / Getty Photos

Secret society: Freemasons, Concatenated Whine of Hoo-Hoo

The Theodore Roosevelt Center has digitized many of the 26th president’s letters — about a of which reference his Masonic actions.

President Roosevelt addressed the Gargantuan Resort of Pennsylvania in 1902 on the anniversary of Washington’s initiation. In his speech, he mirrored on about a of his beget reasons for joining the Freemasons:

“One of many things that attracted me so tremendously to Masonry, that I hailed the chance of fixing into a mason, became as soon as that it if truth be told did act as much as what we, as a authorities and as a folks, are pledged to — of treating every man on his merits as a particular person. When Brother George Washington went into a resort of the fraternity, he went into the one set of dwelling within the United States where he stood below or above his fellows in step with their official set of dwelling within the resort. He went into the set of dwelling where the premise of our authorities became as soon as realized as a ways as it is humanly that you are going to imagine for mankind to attain a lofty concept.”

Nonetheless, Roosevelt additionally ran into occasional snags with the society. In his letters, he chastised one alleged Mason for making an strive to spend his set of dwelling within the society for political relieve (which is in opposition to the rules of Freemasonry), and complained about one more whisper in a letter to a buddy, writing that one foe became as soon as “… endeavoring to spend Masonry to my political drawback.”

After his presidency, Roosevelt wrote about touring the field and visiting Masonic hotels in Nairobi and the Azores.

Roosevelt wasn’t apt a Mason, nonetheless. He additionally belonged to the comparatively vague International Concatenated Whine of Hoo-Hoo. As Forest Historic previous Society blogger Amanda T. Ross writes: “The Hoo-Hoos resemble much less an ordinary secret society and more a alternate fraternity.” It became as soon as a fraternal organization for men within the crawl alternate, and boasted Theodore Roosevelt as one of its most effectively-known contributors, on account of his conservation work.

William Taft

William Howard Taft

William Taft.

Hulton Archive / Stringer / Getty Photos

Secret society: Freemasons, Skull and Bones

Taft potentially came upon entrance into Skull and Bones reasonably without problems. His father, extinct Legal expert Regular Alphonso Taft, cofounded Skull and Bones as a Yale pupil in 1832.

Taft later turned a Mason in 1909, a pair of month earlier than his inauguration.

The 1912 file book “Complaints of the Gargantuan Resort of Free and Popular Masons of the Direct of New York” mentions that Taft, as “president of the ideally suited and mightiest Republic of the field,” became as soon as making spend of Masonic principals in his makes an strive to house world affairs.

Warren Harding

warren g harding

Warren Harding.


Secret society: Freemasons, Self adequate Whine of Uncommon Fellows, Concatenated Whine of Hoo-Hoo

Harding, the 29th president, became as soon as a member of three secret societies already mentioned on this list.

He became as soon as first initiated as an “entered apprentice” with the Masons on June 28, 1901 in Marion Resort No. 70 in Marion, Ohio. He wasn’t officially declared a master mason for one more 19 years.

The timing of his acceptance apt came about to coincide with Harding’s presidential advertising and marketing and marketing campaign — and subsequent victory.

A paper by Mason and researcher John R. Tester small print Harding’s prolonged-thwarted quest to upward push for the length of the secret fraternal society. Tester theorizes that the reasons for Harding’s delayed promotion could additionally fair had been on account of political prejudices or rumors about his Dim ancestry. Most Masonic hotels refused to admit African People for a ways of US historical previous.

Harding looked as if it could actually probably perchance salvage an less complicated time as a member of the Self adequate Whine of Uncommon Fellows.

 A 1921 version of the Chicago Lumberman additionally lists Harding as being a member of the Concatenated Whine of Hoo-Hoo.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Franklin Delano Roosevelt FDR Oval Office

Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

AP Photos

Secret society: Freemasons, Self adequate Whine of Uncommon Fellows

Roosevelt became as soon as first initiated as a Mason in 1911. The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum’s official blog features several ancient affords touching on the three-time period president’s participation within the society.

One excerpt from a 1935 press conference features Roosevelt’s account of a Mason-connected prank he pulled on then-Securities and Change Commission Chairman Joseph Kennedy (the daddy of future president John F. Kennedy). 

The day after the press conference, Roosevelt conducted a ceremony initiating his two sons at the Architect Resort. Afterwards, the president gave a speech praising the society: “To me, the ceremonies of Freemasonry in this enlighten of ours, significantly these later ones that I salvage taken allotment in, consistently produce me need that more People, in every allotment of our land, could additionally change into connected with our fraternity.”

However the Masonic Whine wasn’t essentially the most piquant secret club that FDR became as soon as a member of —he additionally belonged to the Self adequate Whine of Uncommon Fellows, as Houstonia Magazine reported.

Harry Truman

Harry Truman

Harry S. Truman.

AP Dispute/Henry Griffin

Secret society: Freemasons, Self adequate Whine of Uncommon Fellows

Truman became as soon as very eager with the Freemasons — if truth be told, the 33rd president helped came upon a Masonic Resort in Belton, Missouri in 1911 and became as soon as elected its first master, in step with the Truman Library.

Interestingly, Truman’s resort hall burned down while he became as soon as serving in WWI, but he continued to upward push for the length of the Freemasons for the length of the 1920s.

The Truman Library cited one observer’s evaluate of Truman’s leadership skills within the society at the time: “He did a apt job within the resort work … He became as soon as a apt resort man.”

Later, for the length of his presidency, he remained a committed Mason. The New York Times reported that Truman’s “easiest jewellery became as soon as a double-band gold Masonic ring on the minute finger of his left hand.” The Truman Library additionally stories that in 1945 Truman turned essentially the most piquant president to bought the 33rd diploma of the Supreme Council of the Scottish Ceremony.

He additionally is declared to had been a member of the Uncommon Fellows, even supposing this is no longer practically as documented.

Richard Nixon

richard nixon

Richard Nixon.

Charles Tasnadi/AP

Secret society: The Whine of the Purple Friars

Founded in 1913, The Whine of the Purple Friars became as soon as a semi-secret society at Duke College. New contributors were initiated, or “tapped” by a member of the Whine donned in a crimson hood and robe. The society became as soon as it sounds as if invested in bettering lifestyles on campus.

There isn’t any longer great data about what Nixon did as a member of the Whine, but Duke College’s library lists him as a member. The Whine voluntarily disbanded in 1971, easiest a year earlier than the Watergate burglary role a series of events in circulation that could perchance unravel Nixon’s presidency.

Gerald Ford

gerald ford

Gerald Ford.

AP Dispute

Secret Society: Freemasons

To this point, Gerald Ford has been the final known Masonic president. He became as soon as initiated to the assert in 1949, in Columbia Resort No. 3 in D.C.

That similar year, Ford if truth be told helped preside over the unveiling of the Masonic memorial honoring George Washington.

Ford’s speech at the tournament, which became as soon as later published in his public papers, featured some reflections on his beget Masonic trail.

“After I took my responsibility as a master mason — incidentally, with my three younger brothers — I recalled the label my beget father connected to that Whine. But I had no theory that I’d ever be added to the company of the Father of our country and 12 other contributors of the assert who additionally served as Presidents of the United States. Masonic rules — internal, no longer external — and our assert’s imaginative and prescient of responsibility to country and acceptance of God as Supreme Being and guiding mild salvage sustained me for the length of my years of authorities carrier.”

George H.W. Bush

george hw bush

Pres. Bush speaking for the length of his education summit w. his Cupboard & nation’s governors at the College of Virginia.

Diana Walker/Time Lifestyles Photos/Getty Photos

Secret society: Skull and Bones

Earlier than George H.W. Bush turned the 2nd Bonesman to pick out the Oval Direct of job, he became as soon as additionally a pilot in WWII and served as ambassador to Communist China, director of the CIA, and vp to Ronald Reagan.

As president for the length of the end of the Cold War, Bush supported house exploration. The American folks salvage additionally criticized and exalted his involvement within the Gulf War, notably Operation Desert Storm.

George W. Bush

George W. Bush

President George W. Bush in 2003.

Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis by means of Getty Photos

Secret society: Skull and Bones

Bush’s household title had change into synonymous with Skull and Bones by the time he arrived on Yale’s campus. There were rumors that Bush practically neglected getting tapped by the group, but he ended up changing into the third Bonesman to change into president. 

“My senior year I joined Skull and Bones, a secret society, so secret I cannot announce anything else more,” Bush wrote in his 1999 autobiography, “A Stamp to Preserve.” Bush, nonetheless, carries a obvious disdain for Yale’s stamp of East Flee elitism, as The Atlantic pointed out. 

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