During last night’s vote to reopen the U.S. government, one of the House of Representatives’ stenographers took control of the microphone and began denouncing the U.S. Constitution and its writers because of their Freemasonic ties. No one seems to know her motivation for making the pronouncements at that time, although stress certainly seems a plausible explanation.
What interested me about the episode is how seems to demonstrate the long-lasting belief that the Founders were participants in a Freemasonic conspiracy. This thinking helped to spawn the first third party in U.S. politics, the Anti-Masonic party, and has been the foundation of a number of conspiracy theories about the actual origins and objectives of the U.S. government that continue to find believers even today.
I’ll be talking about this outburst in class today, where we will be finishing up a discussion about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I also expect that I’ll find it useful as an illustration when I teach the conspiracy theories course in the spring semester.