Living the Enlightenment: Freemasonry and Politics in Eighteenth-Century Europe

Paperback | September 1, 1995

byMargaret C. Jacob

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Long recognized as more than the writings of a dozen or so philosophes, the Enlightenment created a new secular culture populated by the literate and the affluent. Enamoured of British institutions, Continental Europeans turned to the imported masonic lodges and found in them a new forum thatwas constitutionally constructed and logically egalitarian. Originating in the Middle Ages, when stone-masons joined together to preserve their professional secrets and to protect their wages, the English and Scottish lodges had by the eighteenth century discarded their guild origins and become aninternational phenomenon that gave men and eventually some women a place to vote, speak, discuss and debate. Margaret Jacob argues that the hundreds of masonic lodges founded in eighteenth-century Europe were among the most important enclaves in which modern civil society was formed. In France,the Netherlands, Belgium, and Britain men and women freemasons sought to create a moral and social order based upon reason and virtue, and dedicated to the principles of liberty and equality. A forum where philosophers met with men of commerce, government, and the professions, the masonic lodgecreated new forms of self-government in microcosm, complete with constitutions and laws, elections, and representatives. This is the first comprehensive history of Enlightenment freemasonry, from the roots of the society's political philosophy and evolution in seventeenth-century England andScotland to the French Revolution. Based on never-before-used archival sources, it will appeal to anyone interested in the birth of modernity in Europe or in the cultural milieu of the European Enlightenment.

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Long recognized as more than the writings of a dozen or so philosophes, the Enlightenment created a new secular culture populated by the literate and the affluent. Enamoured of British institutions, Continental Europeans turned to the imported masonic lodges and found in them a new forum thatwas constitutionally constructed and logica...

Margaret C. Jacob is at New School for Social Research.

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The Origins of Freemasonry: Facts and Fictions
The Origins of Freemasonry: Facts and Fictions

Kobo ebook|Oct 18 2016

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see all books by Margaret C. Jacob
Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 6.14 × 9.25 × 0.59 inPublished:September 1, 1995Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195070518

ISBN - 13:9780195070514

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The European Enlightenment: The Birth of Modern Civil Society1. The Public becomes the Private: The English Revolution and the Origins of European Freemasonry2. Temples of Virtue, Palaces of Splendor: British Masonic Visions3. Cultural Encounters: Freemasonry on the Continent4. Creating Constitutional Societies5. Freemasonry, Women, and the Paradox of the Enlightenment6. Speaking the Language of Enlightenment7. Living the Enlightenment: Cosmopolitan Reformers and Amsterdam Brothers8. Dissension and Reform in the New Civil Society: The Strasbourg Lodges of the Late Eighteenth Century9. Le regime ancien et maconnique: The Paris Grand Lodge and the Reform of National GovernmentConclusion: The Enlightenment Redefined

Editorial Reviews

"A valuable contribution to the social history of the Enlightenment ... Historians of the Enlightenment owe a considerable debt of gratitude to Jacob ... A major contribution to our understanding of a seminal period."--The Historian