Date of Award


Document Type




First Reader

Dr. S. Ray Granade

Second Reader

Dr. Michael Beaty

Third Reader

Dr. Tom Greer


Since the earliest portions of American history, many misunderstood groups have been the target of public hysteria. Blacks, immigrants, Communists, and Catholics have all been attacked at different periods in America's history. Another group, which was the target of this kind of public hysteria from 1820 to 1850, was the Masonic fraternity , or Freemasonry. Various conditions of early nineteenth century America contributed to the developing "paranoia" surrounding the Masonic fraternity, and this paranoia became a political issue. Discovering why aspiring politicians used the Masons as a scapegoat for personal advancement involves finding the answer to two basic questions: why could it happen at all, and why did it happen when it did?



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