This study considers the institution of Freemasonry from the point of view of both masons and their critics, as well as from the author's own. In the first section, it gives an outline of masonic history, from the foundation of the Grand Lodge in Covent Garden in 1717 through its major role in Enlightenment Europe and the American War of Independence, its many tribulations and schisms in the 19th century to the present day. The book looks at one of the main sources of masonic history, Anderson's "Constitutions", which documents masonic practice and the masons' mythical history back to Hiram Abiff, the first Master Mason in the reign of King Solomon.
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