Anti-Masonic Party

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The Anti-Masonic Party was a political party founded in 1828 in opposition to Freemasonry. Arising out of the anti-Masonic movement ignited in 1826 when William Morgan disappeared,[1] the party's movement was based on the suspicion of the secrecy of Freemasons. Anti-Masonics made strong gains in New York in 1828, when their popular influence among the poor earned them local state office seats.[2] They were early on led by William Seward, a politician who later became Secretary of State under Lincoln's presidency. The anti-Masonic party eventually dissolved during the late 1830s, as many members left to join the Whig Party in opposition to Andrew Jackson, who himself was a Freemason.

The legacy of the party heavily outlasted the organization itself. Among its early activists included Northeastern rising star Thaddeus Stevens, who initially sought to join its ranks though became disillusioned into opposition after being rejected due to "account of a physical defect."[3] To Stevens, Masonry and slavery were outgrowths of a shared root whose elitism, privilege, and emphasis on exclusive rights were unconstitutional and a threat to republicanism.[4]


  1. Anti-Masonic Movement
  2. The Anti-Masonic Party
  3. Morris, Robert (1883). William Morgan, Or, Political Anti-Masonry: Its Rise, Growth and Decadence, p. 45. Google Books. Retrieved September 27, 2023.
  4. Callender, Edward Belcher (1972). Thaddeus Stevens: Commoner, p. 26. Google Books. Retrieved September 27, 2023.