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14 Presidents of the United States who were Freemasons

by J. Paul Gomez February 15, 2021

14 Presidents of the United States who were Freemasons
Today is George Washington's Birthday*. Did you know that 14 out of the 45 persons who have served as President of the United States are known to have been Freemasons? Most of them good men worthy of being remembered; but as the old saying about a few bad apples goes- there's one in every bunch. 

“We are all imperfect. We can not expect perfect government. ” ― William Howard Taft

*February 22nd is his actual birthday but we celebrate President's Day every 3rd Monday of February thanks to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1971.

Without further ado, here's our list of presidents of the United States who were Freemasons. 

  1. George Washington—1st President of the United States

    Freemasonry Emblem Initiated on November 4, 1752 in Fredericksburgh Lodge No. 4, Fredericksburg, Virginia. Elected Worshipful Master on December 20, 1788.

    "It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one."

     
    George Washington wearing his Masonic regalia

    Legacy

    George Washington is also known as the "Father of His Country." He served as the first president of the United States and commanded the Continental Army during the American Revolution. He presided over the convention that drafted the U.S. Constitution.
  2. James Monroe—5th president of the United States

    Freemasonry Emblem  Initiated on November 9, 1775 in Williamsburg Lodge No. 6, Williamsburg, Virginia at the age of 17 while he studied at the College of William & Mary.

    "A little flattery will support a man through great fatigue."

     Portrait of James Monroe. Freemason President.

    Legacy

     James Monroe is viewed by history as one of the most qualified men ever to assume the presidency. He is well known as a great compromiser- his first term as president is accordingly remembered as the "Era of Good Feelings."
  3. Andrew Jackson—7th president of the United States

    Freemasonry Emblem  Member of St. Tammany (later Harmony) Lodge No. 1, Nashville, Tennessee. Elected Grand Master of Tennessee on October 7, 1822 and served until October 4, 1824.

    "One man with courage makes a majority."

     Andrew Jackson Freemason President

    Legacy

     Andrew Jackson founded the Democratic Party and squarely set the Executive Branch on the level with Congress in terms of power and ability to shape law and government policies. He supported individual liberty instituted policies that resulted in he forced migration of Native Americans. To this day, his legacy is still awash in controversy.
  4. James K. Polk—11th President of the United States

    Freemasonry Emblem  Initiated on June 5, 1820 in Columbia Lodge No. 31, Columbia, Tennessee.

    "The Presidency is no bed of roses."

     James Polk Freemason President

    Legacy

     James Polk is chiefly known for extending the territory of the United States through the MexicanAmerican War. 
  5. James Buchanan—15th president of the United States

    Freemasonry Emblem Initiated on December 1l, 1816 in Lodge No. 43, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Appointed District Deputy Grand Master for the Counties of Lancaster, Lebanon and York in 1824.

    "What is right and what is feasible are two different things."

     James Buchanan Freemason President

    Legacy

    James Buchanan was an honest and skillful politician. However, many consider him as one of the worst presidents in American history. During his administration, the Union broke apart, and when he left the office, civil war threatened. 
  6. Andrew Johnson—17th president of the United States

    Freemasonry Emblem  Initiated on May 5, 1851 in Greenville Lodge No. 119, Greenville, Tennessee.

    "Let them impeach and be damned."

     Andrew Johnson Freemason President

    Legacy

    Andrew Johnson did everything he could to undermine the legacy of his predecessor—Abraham Lincoln. He vetoed so many bills he became known as "The Veto President". He is also known for being one of the three presidents to be impeached.
  7. James A. Garfield—20th president of the United States

    Freemasonry Emblem Initiated on November 19, 1861 in Magnolia Lodge No. 20, Columbus, Ohio and raised on November 22, 1864 in Columbus Lodge No. 30. Joined Garrettsville Lodge No. 246, Garrettsville, Ohio in 1866 and was its Chaplain for the years 1868-69. Charter Member of Pentalpha Lodge No. 23, Washington, D.C.

    "The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable."

     James Garfield Freemason President

    Legacy

    James Garfield advocated agricultural technology, an educated electorate, and civil rights for African Americans. He was the second president to be assassinated after Abraham Lincoln.
  8. William McKinley—25th president of the United States

    Freemasonry Emblem Initiated on May 1, 1865 in Hiram Lodge No. 21, Winchester, Virginia. Joined Canton Lodge No. 60, Canton, Ohio in 1867. Charter member of Eagle (later William McKinley) Lodge No. 431, also in Canton.

    "Half-heartedness never won a battle."

     Portrait of William McKinley, Freemason President

    Legacy

    William McKinley led the nation to victory in the SpanishAmerican War, raised protective tariffs to promote American industry, and kept the nation on the gold standard in a rejection of the expansionary monetary policy of free silver. He was the third president to be assassinated after Abraham Lincoln.
  9. Theodore Roosevelt—26th president of the United States

    Freemasonry Emblem Initiated on January 2, 1901 in Matinecock Lodge No. 806, Oyster Bay, New York.

    “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."

     Theodore Roosevelt Freemason President

    Legacy

    Theodore Roosevelt is widely regarded as the first modern president of the United States. He was an environmentalist and progressive social reformer who laid the groundwork for the modern Democratic party. He dramatically expanded the system of national parks and national forests during his term. The Teddy Bear was invented in his honor. 
  10. William H. Taft—27th president of the United States

    Freemasonry Emblem Made a Mason at Sight on February 18, 1909 in Kilwinning Lodge No. 356, Cincinnati, Ohio

    “Don't write so that you can be understood, write so that you can't be misunderstood.”

     William Taft Freemason President

    Legacy

    As U.S. president from 1909 to 1913 and chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1921 to 1930, William Howard Taft became the only man in history to hold the highest post in both the executive and judicial branches of the U.S. government.
  11. Warren G. Harding | 29th president of the United States

    Freemasonry Emblem  Initiated on June 28, 1901 in Marion Lodge No. 70, Marion, Ohio. Raised on August 27, 1920 in that Lodge.

    "I am not fit for this office and never should have been here.”

     Warren Harding Presiden Freemason

    Legacy

    Warren Harding is considered by most historians as one of America's worst presidents. His legacy is infused with scandal and corruption.
  12. Franklin D. Roosevelt—32nd president of the United States

    Freemasonry Emblem  Initiated on October 11, 1911 in Holland Lodge No. 8, New York City. Made Honorary Grand Master of the Order of DeMolay on April 13, 1934.

    “I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made.”

     Franklin Roosevelt Freemason President

    Legacy

    Franklin Roosevelt led the U.S. through a depression and a world war. He created numerous programs to provide relief to the unemployed and farmers while seeking economic recovery with the National Recovery Administration and other programs. He also instituted major regulatory reforms related to finance, communications, and labor, and presided over the end of Prohibition.
     
  13. Harry S. Truman—33rd president of the United States 

    Freemasonry Emblem Initiated on February 9, 1909 in Belton Lodge No. 450, Belton, Missouri. First Worshipful Master of Grandview Lodge No. 618, Grandview, Missouri in 1911. Elected Grand Master of Missouri on September 25, 1940 and served until October 1, 1941. Received the 33rd Degree on October 19, 1945. Made Honorary Grand Master of the Order of DeMolay on May 18, 1959.

    "The reward of suffering is experience."

     Harry Truman Freemason President

    Legacy

    Due to the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Truman was thrust into the presidency virtually overnight and had to begin making difficult decisions. In his first months in office, he dropped the atomic bomb on Japan, ending World War II.
  14. Gerald Ford—38th president of the United States

    Freemasonry Emblem Initiated on September 30, 1949 in Malta Lodge No. 465, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Passed on April 20, 1951 and raised on May 18 of that year in Columbia Lodge No. 3, Washington, D.C. Received the 33rd Degree on September 26, 1962. Made Honorary Grand Master of the Order of DeMolay in April 1975.

    "Tell the truth, work hard, and come to dinner on time."

     Gerald Ford Freemason President

    Legacy

    Gerald Ford is America's first unelected president. He presided over the worst economy in the four decades since the Great Depression. In one of his most controversial acts, he granted a presidential pardon to President Richard Nixon for his role in the Watergate scandal.

J. Paul Gomez
J. Paul Gomez

Author

W. Bro. John Paul Gomez (aka Paul, JP, JPG) is an artist by trade and a full-time father-of-4. He currently serves as the W.M. for Doric Lodge No. 316 AF&AM in Ontario, Canada. He is a Senior DeMolay and an honorary member of Harmonie Lodge No. 699 F&AM in Buffalo, New York. He likes to cook and is a big fan of Muaythai.


1 Response

Russell Booth
Russell Booth

March 11, 2021

LBJ was initiated, but never advanced.

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