This item is only available as the following downloads:
A BENEVOLENT BROTHERHOOD OF MAN: FRATERNAL ASSOCIATIONS IN NINETEENTH CENTURY AMERICAN SOCIETY BY MAX ADRIEL IMBERMAN A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Social Sciences New College of Florida In partial fulfillment of the requirement f or the degree Bachelor of Arts Under the sponsorship of Dr. Brendan Goff Sarasota, Florida May 2013
i A BENEVOLENT BROTHERHOOD OF MAN: FRATERNAL ASSOCIATIONS IN NINETEENTH CENTURY AMERICAN SOCIETY Max Adriel Imberman New College of Florida, May 2013 ABSTRACT This thesis examines the structure, membership, and growth of American fraternal associations in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It explores the Old World origins of these groups as mutual aid societies, as well as the attractiv eness it held for a rising class of American bourgeois men who desired a place that satisfied their need for leisure, advancement, and financial support. In addition, it interrogates the ways in which fraternal associations and the government mirrored each other in terms of their federalist structure and representativeness of local and national communities. Fraternal orders provided a useful link between the federal government and the average citizen, a connection heavily depended upon in times of war and e xpansion. Finally, the thesis examines the way in which fraternal orders functioned both as engines of agency and oppression for women and African Americans, both mirroring and challenging the systems of segregation and domesticity that defined American li fe in this era. Fraternal associations were the archetypical organization of their era, and represent the best and worst of what American life had to offer. ___________________________ Dr. Brendan Goff Division of Social Sciences
ii Table of Contents Abstra ct ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ i Table of Contents ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ ii Introduction: Fraternalism as the American Way of Life ................................ ................... 1 Chapter One: The Origin and Expansion of American Fraternalism ................................ 12 Fraternalism: An Archetypical Organizational Tradition ................................ .............. 15 Freemasonry: A Template for American Fraternal L ife ................................ ................ 19 The Shriners: Fraternal Leisure and Christian Charity ................................ .................. 28 The Elks: From the Tavern to the Lodge ................................ ................................ ....... 3 8 Chapter Two: Fraternal Orders, Federalism, War, and National Identity .......................... 49 Jacksonville, Illinois: A Translocal Associational Hub ................................ ................. 51 Voluntary Associati ons and Nationalization after the Civil War ................................ ... 56 Wars and Associations: Imperialism and Patriotism ................................ ...................... 61 The First World War: Associations as Partners and Adversaries of American Internationalism ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 67 Chapter Three: Fraternal Associations as Institutions of Oppre ssion and Agency ............ 78 Women's Auxiliaries: Moral Centers for a Fraternal World ................................ .......... 80 African American Associations: A Separate Nation of Joiners ................................ ..... 89 Prince Hall Masons: A Parallel Bourgeois Identity ................................ ....................... 91 Improved Elks and Prince Hall Shriners: Imitation and Backla sh ................................ 95 Distinctive Associations: Moral Missions and Racial Advancement .......................... 101 Conclusion: The Decline of the Fraternal Family ................................ ........................... 108 Bibliography ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 114
1 I ntroduction : Fraternalism as the American Way of Life Schuyler Colfax, an Indiana statesman, had served as the Speaker of the House of Representatives during the Civil War, and later as Vice President to Ulysses S. Grant, yet his position as an Odd Fellow was among the most meaningful in his life. He had been an active and prominent member of the Independent Or der of Odd Fellows from 1846 until his death in 1885. Colfax's participation in the fraternal association was marked by his quick rise through the ranks, achieving national prominence within the order within three years of his joining. Rapidly rising to th e third degree of membership and transitioning into the order's Encampment branch, he set out to become a part of the association's national leadership. After becoming a member of the Grand Lodge of Indiana in 1849, o the Grand Lodge of the United States, on the first day he entered its portals, showing that the knowledge of his merits had preceded his 1 Colfax served in this position until 1855, when he was elected to the House of Representatives. While par ticipating in the Grand Lodge of the United States, Colfax notably authored the degree of Rebekah, which allowed women to join, albeit in a limited capacity, an organization that had previously been exclusively male. Even after Colfax dedicated his daily attention to matters of national politics, serving at high levels in two of the nation's branches of government, his roots as an Odd Fellow nonetheless remained a salient part of his life. A history of the Odd Fellows notes d the sessions of the Grand Lodge and Grand Encampment of his state; and manifested to his last days his deep interest in the great Order to which 1 Henry Leonard Stillson, The Official History and Literature of Odd Fellowship: the Three Link Fraternity (Fraternity Publishing Co mpany, 1897), 780.
2 he had devoted the first fruits 2 He passed away during a speaking tour in Mankato, Minn esota, far from his home in Indiana, a stranger in the community. by the members of the local lodge of Odd Fellows, his remains were conveyed by them with tender care 3 Colfax's membership in the association thus served him from before the birth of his political career through his death. Why would a national figure such as Schuyler Colfax value his status as an Odd Fellow so much? What was the connection be tween fraternal organizations and national government in a time when both grew more powerful and ubiquitous in civil life? Schuyler Colfax stands as a testament to the possibilities that existed in associational membership in the nineteenth century. He h ad been a member of one of the largest and most influential orders of the era, an organization with national roots. Founded in 1819 in Baltimore, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows had received its charter from the Manchester Unity of Odd Fellows in Engl and, which had itself been a relic of the guild system, functioning as organizations meant to provide mutual aid for their members. The American Odd Fellows adopted a federalist system of organization, functioning with three tiers, national, state, and loc al. As the United States embraced this model in its governance, the Odd Fellows experienced rapid growth. Within ten years of eight lodges spread across Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvani a, and the District of Columbia; and by 1860 there were more than 170,000 U.S. Odd Fellows meeting in more than 3,000 local 2 Ibid., p. 781. 3 Ibid., p. 781.
3 lodges in thirty 4 As Odd Fellow Paschal Donaldson put it in his 1852 edition of The Odd F ellow Text Book from city to city, from state to state, has this Order spread, and thousands upon thousands 5 The Odd Fellows, as well as many other contemporary associatio ns, flourished from the mid nineteenth century through the earliest twentieth centuries, rapidly increasing in membership and public influence. Alexis de Tocqueville, the famous French observer of antebellum United States culture, was impressed by the as sociational potential of the nation. In the 1830s, when Tocqueville visited the United States, he was struck by the prolific nature of association membership. He notes in Democracy in America Americans Make of Associations conditions, and all dispositions constantly form associations. They have not only commercial and manufacturing companies, in which all take part, but associations of a thousand other kinds, religious, moral serious, futile, general or restricted, enormous or 6 Tocqueville portrays associationalism as the keystone American method of found seminaries, to build inns, to construct churches, to diffuse books, to send missionaries to the antipodes; in this manner they found hospitals, prisons, and schools... Wherever at the head of some new undertaking you see the government in France, or a 4 Theda Skocpol, Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life (University of Oklahoma Press, 2004), 34. 5 Ibid. 6 Alexis de Tocqueville, trans. Henry Reeve, Democracy in Am erica, (University of Chicago Press, 1835), 628.
4 man of rank in England, i 7 For Tocqueville, the strength of America's associations was a sign of its democratic potential. Tocqueville saw the nascent American civil society as an indicator of the country's status as a d of a permanent and compulsory association, composed of all those who are dependent h ardly anything by themselves, and none of them can oblige his fellow men to lend him their assistance. They all, therefore, fall into a state of incapacity, if they do not learn 8 Tocqueville sees the associational model as a powerful inhabitants of the United States have taken up an opinion or a feeling which they wish to promote in the world, they look out for mutual assistance; and as soon a s they have found each other out, they combine. From that moment they are no longer isolated men, but a power seen from afar, whose actions serve for an example, and whose language is 9 For Tocqueville, the associational model, which proved pr ominent in public and private life, in leisure organizations and moral crusades, was successful due to of its inherently democratic nature. Tocqueville asserts that Americans join associations out of sheer necessity; without them, the individual American w ould be unable to pursue their interests or a political agenda. 7 Ibid., p. 628 629. 8 Ibid., p. 629. 9 Ibid., p. 632.
5 Theda Skocpol, almost two centuries after Tocqueville explored the new nation, writes about the onset and flourishing of American associationalism, tying it in with the post revolutionary dem ocratic experiment and the dawn of Jacksonian democracy. She regional political parties were knitting together patronage machines and networks of grassroots associations cap able of mobilizing popular votes in incessant rounds of citizenry had become more and more of a political resource to be utilized and brought into the democratic fold movements and civil associations flourished in the era of mass party building. Both party 10 The spread of associations wa s eased by the mobile nature of the populace in the middle of the significant part because people were constantly on the move. Recent demographic research shows that long di stance geographic mobility peaked in the mid 1800s, time that they built farms, businesses, and churches. Once settled, moreover, people visited or wrote to relatives and friends in their places of origin, learning in the process of 11 Skocpol finall y attributes the growth of American associationalism to the perennial interplay between the government and American citizens through public services such as 10 Theda Skocpol, Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life (University of Oklahoma Press, 2004), 36 37. 11 Ibid., p. 38
6 the Post Office, which allowed for easy communication between the country's distant regions. Accord associations, social movements, and mass mobilizing political parties all of which, in 12 In short, the co untry's successful and prominent fraternal associations were an extension of a nationalizing organizational ethos originating in the political sphere. Fraternal orders mimicked the increasingly federal nature of American political life as an organizational principle, while the government took advantage of this change in structure in order to use associations as a tool to promote a national agenda. Historian Mary Ann Clawson, on the other hand, uses a class and gender based approach to study the onset and p opularity of fraternal associations in the United States. She isolates the core tenets of fraternalism and demonstrates how they apply to such diverse organizations such as the Knights of Labor, Farmers' Alliance, and, most importantly, Freemasons. She arg on the fraternal origins of many of America's most popular associations, trying to economic, political, or religious goals. 13 She stresses that American fraternal institutions of disparate social sta 14 The force of fraternal unification was set against a period that constituted the greatest examples of class conflict in United States history, with 12 Ibid., p. 39. 13 Mary Ann Clawson, C onstructing Brotherhood: Class, Gender, and Fraternalism (Princeton University Press. 1989) 5. 14 Ibid., p. 6.
7 unions experiencing their greatest strength as robber barons ruled the country's means of productio n. Clawson defines fraternal orders as social resources centered on social social and cultural life of American communities in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuri offer gender and race as appropriate categories for the organization of collective 15 Clawson studies the guilds and brotherhoods of early modern European society to discover the origins of American fraternalism, tracing their influence through the form of American Freemasonry, the vehicle by which the organizational principle entered American society. 16 She sees Masonic fraternalism as a model used to enforce and just ify social unities and divisions. While Tocqueville, Skocpol, and Clawson each argue that the form and function of American fraternal associationalism emerged both as a response to and encouragement of the growth of American democracy, its federal governm ental institutions, and a class system based on male brotherhood respectively, this thesis argues that America's most popular and powerful associations were complex and contradictory. Their ritual and procedure combined the sacred and profane, leisure and responsibility, inclusiveness and exclusivity. Their form and structure tended to echo federalism, with lodges at the national, state, and local levels, yet individual lodges maintained a great deal of agency. Skocpol and Clawson, when writing about frater nal associations, each missed part of the picture when writing about fraternal associations. Clawson focused on the orders as fraternities, ignoring their national political significance, while Skocpol emphasizes their 15 Ibid., p. 15. 16 Ibid.
8 associational nature, downplaying the transatlantic legacy of fraternal organization. I believe that fraternal associations fused Old World mutual aid traditions with the particulars of the American socio political environment, encouraging and reflecting the country's process of democratizati on and nationalization between the Civil War and the First World War. Despite being associations built around ideals of universal brotherhood, fraternal orders merely reinforced the gender and racial constructs of their environment, domesticity and Jim Cro w. To examine these phenomena, I focus upon the origin and expansion of three key fraternal associations, namely the Freemasons, Elks, and Shriners during their period of greatest growth and prominence. These organizations emerged or evolved in the United States in this era, and were among the largest, each claiming hundreds of thousands of members. They were active participants and leaders in fraternal associational life. My first chapter covers the emergence of fraternal associations in the United States as well as their origins in early modern Europe. I define fraternalism as well as Freemasonry, the organization that, through the British Empire, brought the fraternal form to the United States. In addition, I detail the origins of the Elks and Shriners, two organizations that are native to the United States, both of which were founded around the promotion of leisure as an ideal, but then each expanded into the fields of charity and mutual aid. Through an exploration of the services provided by fraternal associations to their members, social and practical, I seek to explain what made the fraternal mode of organization so popular among men of the late nineteenth century. This chapter studies American fraternal associations as an extension of the wants and n eeds of their members, as well as the evolution associations went through as the century progressed. I also
9 examine the attractiveness of a lodge model inspired by the Freemasons and copied by many other organizations. This chapter focuses on the ideals of brotherhood so central to the ritual and administration of fraternal orders, and I seek to uncover the tensions as organizational leaders sought to define the bounds and responsibilities of brotherhood. In my second chapter, I write about the relationshi p between fraternal organizations and the increasingly national nature of American politics and culture after the Civil War. I show that associations acted as translocal nationalizing forces, breaking the sectional barriers that had inspired the conflict. I write about the impact the national mobilizing effort necessary to win the Civil War had left American citizens well trained to participate in associative projects, contributing to the outward expansion so heartily pursued by American interest in the dec ades after the Civil War. I study the distinction between the Civil War, when brother famously fought against brother, with the growth of associations which expanded definitions of brotherhood. I also examine the participation of fraternal associations in the massive war effort of the First World War, in which they led local food rationing drives as well as liberty bond campaigns. In the course of the war, some associations were richly rewarded for their patriotism, while others were punished for dissent. T his chapter aims to prove that, while fraternal associations did emerge to create a sense of brotherhood among men of various classes and interests, they were more than social institutions that can be measured along the axes of class, race, and gender. Fra ternal orders were seen as key links between the national government and the average citizen, along the same lines as religious organizations. Fraternal universality contributed to the structure and growth of the nation itself in significant ways. The thi rd chapter is an analysis of fraternal associations as institutions of
10 simultaneous agency and discrimination for women and African Americans. I unpack the tensions between fraternal orders and women's temperance groups, which were opposed to the consumpti on of alcohol as well as the anti domestic nature of male fraternal orders, which created a secondary family that often trumped the first. I study the ways in which orders such as the Freemasons and Odd Fellows attempted to integrate women into their order s, albeit in an incomplete, domestic form. I examine the process by which women were denied sisterhood and instead became defined only as mothers and daughters to the men of these organizations. I also study the emergence of black fraternal orders that eit her copied the ritual and function of white associations, such as the Prince Hall Masons, Improved Elks, and Prince Hall Shriners. I explore the rejection these associations faced from the original associations, as well as the legal struggles faced by blac k associations, which were forced to defend their very existence before the Supreme Court. I also write about distinctive black fraternal orders that had a more moralistic purpose. This chapter demonstrates how, even when fraternal associations operated by minorities were organized to pursue legal and cultural advancement, they tended to be co opted or attacked by major white orders to defend the status quo. Even when they were preserved, such associations were forced to commit to the unequal social practic es of the era. Through an exploration of fraternal associations in their origin, at the height of their influence, and at the height of their oppression, I intend to demonstrate that fraternal orders were by no means merely a politically neutral expressio n of democratic principle of federal governance. Nor were they primarily a resource used by laboring and bourgeois classes to pursue a cultural agenda. Fraternal associations served both these
11 purposes, but they were also reflections of the ambitions and desires of generations of men and women who wanted to combine responsibility and leisure in the name of a fictive family. They combined the social and moral obligations of family life with mutual aid rewards for being a good brother. Fraternal associations extended the definition of of exclusion as much as inclusion, creating and reinforcing boundaries for social cohesion as well as segregation. 17 Fraternal orders were political bodies that represented and responded to the wants and needs of a nation undergoing a profound change. As the country united, found its place on the world stage, and underwent a profound social evolution, its fraternal associations reflected and helped to form a new society. 17 Robert D. Putnam, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, (Touchstone Books, 2001).
12 Chapter One: The Origin and Expansion of American Fraternalism The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were the golden age of American associations, the time of their greatest expansion in both amount of organizat ions and number of participating members. The organizations that sprouted up in this period represented many facets of American social and cultural life. Associations, gathering based upon a shared personal quality, ideology, or interest, gave Americans th e opportunity to expand their social circle, push for a political agenda, or even simply have fun. Associations in the United States tended to assume one of two main forms, being those, such as trade unions or professional organizations, which form in order to accomplish specific goals. Serving as a liaison between the group and the outside world, these associations 18 On the other hand, expressive organizations were not so goal oriented. Instead, they functioned mostly as social clubs for their members. In this chapter, I will examine the nature and membership of expressive organizations such as the Freemasons, Shriner s, and Elks. These associations were fraternal in nature, serving the needs of a rising middle class system of advancement and leisure. They vary in their origins and practices, but each organization provides a glimpse into an era and the model of brotherh ood that inspired so many organizations. Freemasonry has had a rich American tradition, despite having been the target of many conspiracy theories, even having had a political party created strictly in opposition to it. Freemasonry, by the nineteenth cent ury, had been around for centuries, originating 18 Lynn Dumenil, Freemasonry and American Culture, 1880 1930 (Princeton Univ ersity Press, 1984), xii.
13 as a medieval trade association that had become a social club and eventually crossed the Atlantic in the 18 th century as part of the British Empire. Freemasonry found a fertile ground for associational member ship in the United States, and the order's American branch separated from its British imperial roots in the course of the Revolution, a schism I will cover in more detail in the next chapter. Despite initially having been perceived as a threat to the repub lican principles of a new nation, Freemasonry had become acceptable, even fashionable, in the United States after the Civil War. In its commitment to the regard to religi to an emerging middle class that wished to prosper based on its own merits. Despite these claims of egalitarianism, Freemasonry was inherently exclusive, consisting mainly of male w hite Protestants. 19 Freemasonry offered direct and obvious lines of advancement in the association and, by extension, society. It offered various degrees of membership, allowing Masons to advance through learning and dedication from the rank of Entered Appr entice to Master Mason. As a Master Mason, one even gained the right to join the 20 Thus, advancement within the main lodge, known as the Blue Lodge, was a form of entry into more specific and exclusive associations. One such elite American Masonic organization was the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, known in short as the Shriners. The Shriners, founded in 1870, were notable for their red fezzes and pseudo Arabian trappings. By the 1920s, the 19 Lynn Dumenil, Freemasonry and American Culture, 1880 1930 (Princeton Univ ersity Press, 1984), 9. 20 Ibid., p. 14 15.
14 always had a reputation as the playground of Masonry... It offered banquets, parades, entertainments, circuses, and co reward for being a good member of the Blue Lodge. The association was based around amiable good 21 Members hip in the Shrine would have directly sated the desire for leisure that a rising middle class man would have had, while still providing the social benefits of Masonic membership that were so valuable. Much like the Shriners, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks was an American born voluntary association with origins in leisure activity. However, unlike the Shriners, the Elks were not directly related to Freemasonry. Rather, the Elk Lodge was established as an evolution of a social club known as the Jolly Corks. According to a 1922 document written by the Past Exalted Ruler of New York Lodge and Past Trustee of the fraternal instincts which gave after a game themselves, one in which men competed to be the first to pick up dropped corks, the loser buying the round of drinks. The early association was made up primarily of members of theatrical performing troupes and sought to avoid the rigid drinking laws they faced. 22 Eventually, the Jolly Corks changed their name and re purposed their association as a movement seemingly based on the structure of Masonry, with lodges of its own. In this transformation, it began to focus more upon charity and service while still maintaining the emphasis on leisure. 21 Ibid., p. 204 205. 22 James R. Nicholson, History of the Order of Elks, 1868 1952 (National Memorial and Publication Commission of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, 1953), 11 13.
15 Each of these associations either adapted to or was born out of a post Civil War Uni ted States that was undergoing rapid industrialization and expansion. The Civil War had put to a definitive end to the political and cultural struggles that had defined a half century of American life. With the questions of slavery and secession finally de cided, the nation's leaders began to emphasize unity within the nation, rather than the sectional discord that had previously run rampant. The country was becoming increasingly less agricultural and more urbanized. The changes in society and the economy do vetailed with the traditional appeal of fraternal orders, which had existed since the Middle Ages. I intend to explore the appeal of fraternal associations such as the American Freemasons, Shriners, and Elks. What aspects of Gilded Age culture and society in the United States were so conducive to the growth in popularity and prestige of fraternal orders? In order to address this question, it is crucial to study the origins of the fraternal custom that led to the creation of these and many other societies. O nly by understanding the common traditions that served as the underpinning for these various associations can we appreciate the appeal they had to the men who joined them in such great numbers. Fraternalism: An Archetypical Organizational Tradition Americ an voluntary associations emerged from a rich fraternal tradition that spanned centuries and continents. The rich constellation of organizations in the United emerged fro m an organizational custom that also had spawned the traditional guilds and Masonic lodges of Europe. Schlesinger, following in the tradition of Tocqueville, notes the tension between the American emphasis on individualism and the necessity for collective organization and action in order to accomplish large scale goals. Schlesinger
16 the first half of the nineteenth century. He describes this motivation, a driving need for collective activity, as the reason for the popularity of American fraternal organizations in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Associations are depicted as the outgrowths of the same forces that created the American Revolution and the nation's impulse toward capitalistic enterprise. 23 The exceptionalist viewpoint presented by Schlesinger is not a viable explanation for the popularity of fraternal orders, serving more as an artifact of the era in which it was written, during the Second Wo rld War, when American leaders and thinkers sought to portray the nation in opposition to their authoritarian foes. The country's associations were not a mere outgrowth of its democratic institutions. Their appeal came from social factors unique to the fra ternal tradition that spawned them. American voluntary associations were extensions of a fraternal philosophy that merged sociability, practicality, and mysticism. Above all else, fraternalism encouraged the idea of a universal male brotherhood, a shared familial identity, at least among members of the same association. Mary Ann Clawson describes American fraternal 's increasing social stratification and labor disputes, the concentration of power in the hands of a few, American voluntary associations grew exponentially in number, power, and prestige. 24 Clawson defines fraternalism as having four characteristics a co rporate idiom, ritual, proprietorship, and 23 Arthur M. Schlesinger, "Biography of a Nation of Joiners," The America n Historical Review, 50, no. 1 (1944): 3 6. 24 Mary Ann Clawson, C onstructing Brotherhood: Class, Gender, and Fraternalism (Princeton University Press. 1989), 6 7.
17 masculinity. 25 Many of the most popular and successful associations of the late nineteenth century grew from a Masonic nucleus which emphasized these tenets. Masonic for trade unions, agricultural societies, nativist organizations, and political movements of every conceivable stripe, as well as for 26 This model proved uniquely conducive to social organization and mobilizatio n in the nineteenth century United States. Its emphasis European context; the family served as the template for social interaction. This model ated individuals, but as occupants of specific social roles defined by their inherent relationships to one another. It envisions society not as a collection individuals but as a corporate entity that has meaning prior to and greater than the life and inter 27 The definition of associations as families emphasized the need for mutual aid and responsibility among its members, while also affirming patriarchal gender roles. Associations in the early modern period also assumed a corpora te metaphor. This and hierarchical approach to social institutions. Trade c orporations controlled both master and journeyman, regulating their reciprocal relationship. 28 Associations, imagined both as families and corporations, emphasized a group identity over that of the individual. By acceding to the imposed hierarchy and tenets of the association, its members could hope 25 Ibid., p. 4. 26 Ibid., p. 4 5. 27 Ibid., p. 23 25. 28 Mary Ann Clawson, C onstructing Brotherh ood: Class, Gender, and Fraternalism (Princeton University Press. 1989), 38 42.
18 to profit from its mutual benefits. Early modern fraternal orders used ritual to create a sense of brotherhood among its members. As organizations divorced from traditional sources of power and authority, frater nal associations manufactured public events such as feast days, processions, and even funerals. These events served multiple purposes. Inherently religious in nature, such rituals captured traditional practices and repurposed them not for spectacle in the service of church or state, but rather for the aim of creating ties between association members. Private events such as feasts and funerals, drawing heavily on symbolism and emotion, were intended to signify the bonds the fraternity shared. As Clawson puts it, these events processions, on the other hand, were designed to draw connections between the body 29 The nature of ritual within an association structure was dependent upon its nature, whether it was intended to be part of the traditional authority structure or exist in defiance of it. For such organizatio ns, ritual was meant to promote a sense of the carnivalesque, a turning upside down of the established social order. They used charivari a mob event consisting of raucous behavior and loud numbers to ridicule the established order. 30 Rituals, as practiced by fraternal associations, strengthened the ties between their members and signified the boundaries of brotherhood, marking what defined membership in and exclusion from the civic community Membership in fraternal organizations was defined by masculinity. The concept of 29 Ibid., p. 42 43. 30 Ibid., p. 44.
19 inseparable ties between a household as both a familial and economic unit. Trade a a patriarchal society in which social adulthood, proprietorship, and masculinity were and the unskilled, servants, and women were by definition excluded. Associational events and rituals served to affirm this relationship due to the nature of their participants. 31 Male riarch, due to the the public domain, carrying with him something of the moral and political force of the d prestige in the family unit. 32 Fraternalism in early modern Europe had been defined by its symbolic appropriation of a corporate idiom, its emphasis on ritual, and its promotion of a masculine proprietor ideal. These characteristics carried over to the Un ited States, as a Freemasonry: A Template for American Fraternal Life Freemasonry was at the heart of the associational tradition that would prove ubiquitous in America. Originatin g from medieval trade guilds rendered obsolete by changing market forces in the seventeenth century, the masonic lodges evolved from a 31 Mary Ann Clawson, C onstructing Brotherhood: Class, Gender, and Fraternalism (Princeton University Press. 1989), 45 47. 32 Ibid., p. 50.
20 craft organization to a social one, from a guild into a voluntary society. The Masons developed a mystical lore to surrou nd their association, linking their organization to the wisdom of ancient Egyptians. As the Masons made their organizational transition into a lodge, they attracted merchants and gentlemen to join their order, eschewing the traditional emphasis on shared c raftsmanship. In 1717, four London Masonic lodges consolidated to form a single Grand Lodge. The Grand Lodge of London served as the hub of the growing Masonic association. 33 Grand Lodges were characterized by secrecy, ritual, and hierarchy, while simultane virtue, and equality among brothers. The Freemasons pursued an ideology of rising by s, despite being intensely hierarchical and dependent upon aristocratic patronage, functioned to encourage democratic government. 34 The acting as a fraternal organization fo class and ambitious middle class. 35 The lodges thus assigned themselves a higher purpose than mere craft. Whe n the lodges made the transition to the United States, they took with them the universalist ideals of Freemasonry while retaining the fraternal core. Freemasonry extended ideals of equality to all its members. In a society where etermined by the station they were born into, Masons held the 33 Margaret Jacob, The Origins of Freemasonry: Facts and Fictions (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007), 11 12. 34 Ibid., p. 14 15. 35 Ibid., p. 20 25.
21 36 Lodge membership was limited to those who were literate and wealthy enough to pay the considerable entry fees, as well as monthly dues and upon advancing rank within the lodge, preventing Freemasonry from becoming a popular society. Those who fit the strict membership criteria of the lodge were supposed to be treated as equals. An early led to the establishment of charity funds supported by lodge dues, meant to help brothers in times of need, among the very few, perhaps in many places the only, secular and voluntary societies 37 Brothers within the lodge thus could turn to their fictive family circumstances of poverty being seen as bad luck or fate rather than a lack of merit. For one to admit to a la ck of such merit would be conceding the right to equality within the order. 38 When Freemasonry crossed the Atlantic, it brought with it its core tenets of on ritual claimed 18,000 Masons and was growing rapidly. In 1825, in New York State alone, there organization, p roviding mutual aid to brothers in need. In addition, networks of Masons 36 Ibid., p. 71. 37 Ibid., p. 72. 38 Ibid., p. 73.
22 throughout the country would provide support and connections for those involved in the growing national trade. Despite these benefits, Freemasonry found itself to be quite controversi necessitated a stated belief in God, but it did not force any specific sect. This openness led to suspicion and disapproval by the Protestant churches of the early American republic. Freemasons gained a more sinister reputation after 1826, when a man named heard but four were acquitted. The near unanimous acquittal as well as the fact that many jurors and court officials were Masons themselves was suspicious, leading many to believe that the Freemasons were a secret sect that stood as a counter to the American republic and any hope for a lasting democratic tradition. 39 In addition, the movement was politically motivated, with the controversial president Andrew Jackson being a prominent member of the fraternity, inspiring an anti Masonic political party with a platform opposed to the order and its members. 40 The Anti Masonic movement was short lived, but it reflects the quickly growing nature of early American Freemasonry. It had quickly grown to such a level that it was seen as a threat to well established churches as well as the due process of government. After being forced into hiding for several decades in response to persecution, Freemasonry re emerged in full force by the end of the Civil War, alongside 39 Lynn Dumenil, Freemasonry and American Culture, 1 880 1930 (Princeton University Press,1984), 4 5. 40 Fred Van Deventer, Parade to Glory: The Shriners and their Caravan to Destiny (Pyramid Books, 1959), 12.
23 a plethora of new fraternal orders. 41 A new generation of men seeking social and business advancement, veterans of the war and the civic drives in the North and South that had accompanied battles and campaigns, sought organizations tha t would expand their social circle as well as ensure mutual aid. Masonry, having overcome its political and cultural opposition, became more public as an organization in the period following Union victory in the Civil War. Even though it still was ostensi Masonic symbol (a square and compass) on their watch chains. Prominent men businessmen, politicians, and clergymen joined the order and lent their respectability to of conspiracy that had been attributed to Freemasonry before much popular credence could be given to the fear that Masons menaced the Republic. Moreover, the liberal ized religious climate of the late nineteenth century made Masonry 42 Union victory in the Civil War had removed one of the greatest threats to the survival of the United States as a single national republic. What had previously seemed to many a democratic experiment doomed to be a short lived failure in the annals of history now seemed unbeatable. An organization operated and consisting of a membership of Americans, even one that had been founded in Britain and used as part of it s imperialist project, would have been much less threatening to the citizens of the postwar Republic than before the war. Despite some fear still persisting, the way was mostly cleared for the Masons to become a national powerhouse organization. Lynn Dumin 41 Lynn Dumenil, Freemasonry and American Culture, 1880 1930 (Princeton University Press,1984), 7. 42 Ibid., p. 7 8.
24 reveal the fraternity's potential for offering prestige, financial aid, business and political pended upon the election and appointment of local officials with such fanciful and religious sounding titles as the Most Worshipful Master, Junior and Senior Deacon, and Chaplain. 43 This potential for advancement within the lodge, along with the ability to ascend to to concretely track their progress within the organization. Further e nhancing their 44 Just as Masonry adapted the trappings of religious orders and created a sense of secular religiosity for its members to adhere and aspire to, it also utilized the architectural language of civic institutions in its buildings to announce its permanence and dependability. Masons could cite the membership of many of the nation's Founding Fathers, including George Washington and John Hancock, in Masonic orders, reinforcing their position as keystones of American civic life. American Freemasonry continued the Old World practice of charity, with Masons charity consisted of many services, mostly offered through the lodge. Masons with chronic financial proble ms might depend upon the lodge for aid. Masonry was 43 Lynn Dumenil, Freemasonry and American Culture, 1880 1930 (Princeton University Press,1984),. 14. 44 Ibid., p. 18.
25 specific lodge; individu supported, at least to an extent, wherever you traveled. Fraternal principles encouraged affiliated orphans and ecoming a Freemason ensured that a person would receive help when they 45 Lodges functioned as secular cent ers of charity, attributing a moral dimension to membership in the association. The Masonic practice of mutual aid also extended to the realm of business. Being of both a personal and a business nature in new hen traveling a Mason could visit a local lodge and show the secret signs to instantly gain a degree of goodwill with total strangers. This could prove quite useful in building both practical and social contacts. Dumenil presents a fascinating story about famous labor leader and Mason Samuel Gompers, who, when traveling through West Virginia in 1897 was stopped by a man on the street. After they exchanged the mining company t 45 Lynn Dumenil, Freemasonry and American Culture, 1880 1930 (Princeton University Press,1984), 19 21.
26 superseded the political and c lass divisions of his time. 46 At a local level, it is unclear possibility that men joined Masonry for mercenary reasons, and they repeatedly emphasized that one of the Masonic pledges included the oath that the initiate had not importance of keeping jobs away fro m Catholics, preferring Protestants. Employing a help could secure the best in the land, men who could be depended upon in any emergency. Where could any man have better credentials than 47 It is apparent that being a Mason in the company of other Masons was a social and financial boon. In effect, this patronage happened in a manner akin to friends hiring friends. American Freemasonry in the late nineteenth century was driven by social ritual. Ceremony was prolific in Masonic life, occurring upon new members joining, gaining degr ees, celebrations, and funerals. Rituals consisted of the mundane, such as prayer, skirted the line between entertainment and grave seriousness, contributing to the secular religiosity of Masonic practice. The practice of ritual was one of the key uniform 46 Ibid., p. 21. 47 Ibid., p. 22.
27 procedures of Freemasonry. Knowledge of Masonic ritual was a way in which an individual could identify as a Mason. 48 Ritual and social functions went hand in hand. gs, 49 In spite of the egalitarian universalism professed by Masons, the lodge was a f undamentally male space. Women were not allowed to even enter apart from certain occasions. Instead, women had their own Masonic organization, the Order of the Eastern Star, which consisted of female relatives of Masons. They too had their own set of ritua ls and practices, following the Blue Lodge model quite closely. Masonic lodges were emblematic of the segregation between the sexes that characterized familial relations in men extended from the home and work place during the day to places of leisure in the boys 50 In creating a fictive kinship that men could tur n to in their free time, the lodges had the potential to destabilize a member's home life. Serving as a place of perpetual leisure, where ritual and advancement were based around ideas of noncompetitive community, the lodges acted as a very attractive alte rnative to the responsibilities of heading the Victorian family. American Freemasonry was an extension of the Old World fraternal tradition. Its emphasis on community, ritual, and masculinity dovetailed with the opportunities for social and material advan cement as well as leisure that marked lodge status. The promise 48 Ibid., p. 23 24. 49 Ibid., p. 32 50 Ibid. p. 25.
28 of mutual aid among lodge brothers would also have been chief among motivations for the order's ability to c nineteenth century Masonry was a prestigious and important organization. Joining Masonry was the a long project of bolstering their image, recruiting members in good standing of their communities, and constructing grand temples meant to establish them as a powerful force in cultural life. Masonry by creating strong and persistent bonds between its members, of industry, sobriety, self 51 Freemasonry offered its members the b est of all worlds. In return for dedication and loyalty, its members gained respect, prestige, material and social advancement, and additional opportunities to exercise the leisure time gained from being part of the rising middle class. The Shriners: Frate rnal Leisure and Christian Charity The Ancient Arabic of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, otherwise known as the Shriners, emerged from the postwar environment, in an America seeking to shed the divisions of its past and looking to create and maintain a g lorious united future, while enjoying the benefits of prosperity. Freemasonry, as a set of organizations where men would spend a great deal of free time, thus adapted itself to the country's changing priorities, spawning a leisure minded order with none of the Blue Lodge's trappings of solemnity, yet sharing its idea of a grand project of the rehabilitation of a damaged world. The idea of a Masonic auxiliary dedicated wholly to fun was coined in 1870 by a set of 51 Ibid., p. 30.
29 Masonic regulars of a lunchtime gathering at the Knickerbocker Cottage, a New York bistro. Dr. Walter M. Fleming, a prominent New York Mason, envisioned a new Masonic sect that would represent the zeitgeist of post Civil War America, the seemingly endless possibility that existed. A Shriner organizat ional biography presents this era in glorious interrupt the flow of the finest wines and brandies to a city that was literally 'living up' the 52 For the nation's wealthy bourgeois leaders in the country's social capital, life was grand. The biography describes this period as The past was gone an 53 The Shriners from the outset aimed to be an organization that served the needs of society's elite, to serve as a reward for service in the grand Masonic utopian project. If the Blue Lodge was a palatial affai r, fused inherently with pomp and glory, the Shrine was defined by its silliness, led by men whose powerful position in the American social stratum left them able to be goofy without losing their position. The Shrine was an organization dedicated to prese rving the power and virility of an aging set of male social leaders. Past Imperial Potentate Dr. Hubert M. Poteat wrote In the first place, the oriental pageantry and the magnificence of costumes and regalia 54 Men who had proved themselves able to join the selective Masonic order were already usually leaders 52 Fred Van Deventer, Parade to Glory: The Shriners and their Caravan to Destiny (Pyramid Books, 1959), 13. 53 Ibid., p. 14. 54 Ibid., p. 15.
30 in society. Those who were Shriners wer e the elite of the elite, and thus were presumably older men, who could be rejuvenated by a reliable return to the freedom of careless mirth on a truly magnificent s cale. Shriners are apostles of good cheer and happiness and as such are performing a very vital function in this tragic modern world of ours. Indeed it 55 The Shriners as an as sociation recognize their wealth and privilege compared to the majority of the world, and see their public works as part of the Masonic project of improving the world. However, their contributions consist of leisure activities and displays of silliness tha t serve to display the wealth and prestige of the association's membership. Where the Masons emphasized brotherhood as a justification for the organization's core service of mutual aid, the Shriners assign their fraternity a universal quality. Poteat says there is one thing our harassed world needs more than another today, it is brotherly love. 56 Brotherhood in the hands of the Shriners was not only an organizational goal or a justification for mutual aid services, but also a model presented to the world as an example to follow, a tool to be used to make the world a happier, friendlier, more fun place. For the Shriners, brotherhood was more than a function of fictive kinsh ip; it was an expression of innocent play, of youthful imagination and wonder. The Order did not demonstrate any immediate appeal, growing extremely slowly at first. In 1876, four years after the auxiliary was founded and six years after it was 55 Ibid. 56 Ibid., p. 16.
31 conceived, there were only forty three members, all but six located in New York City. 57 When the Imperial Grand Council was founded that year, the Shrine leadership took to the task of drastic and immediate national expansion. In this atmosphere of change, Growth con almost alone... There was no money, except what Fleming and a few others contributed from their pockets. There were no insignia by which Shriners could be designated. Very simply, F leming and his associates didn't have much of an inducement for prospective 58 The Shriners could not exist on the promise of a good time alone. They needed to offer material advantages for membership, and money was necessary to fund the sorts of p arties that would make the Shrine a popular organization. To reverse this the Ritual itself. It was real cloak and dagger stuff. And though the stories he told were to be challenged in later years and called figments of his own fertile imagination they did 59 The legends Fleming brought into Shriner lore were an extension of the pseudo Arabic aesthetic that Fleming had used in his formation of the asso ciation. Fleming's legend raised the stakes surrounding the order's ritual. He drew a can tale. 60 Fleming in 1877, when recounting the tale of the origin of the order's ritual, says mutilated 57 Fred Van D eventer, Parade to Glory: The Shriners and their Caravan to Destiny (Pyramid Books, 1959), 25. 58 Ibid., p. 26. 59 Ibid. 60 Ibid., p. 28.
32 sections of the translation of the Ritual of the Arabic and Egyptian Order of the Mystic Shrine had arrived in the United States, according to Fleming, in a dimini shed form, worn down by millennia of transport from Arabia through Europe, plagued by improper translations that would require extensive work to fix. The ritual as originally presented was ranslated and filled 61 The ritual had its origins in Egypt, and Fleming details the process by which it was cross referenced with the Koran to translate its 62 In order for the ancient Arabian rituals to be translated for polite American bourgeois society, it first had to be filtered through polite academic society. The Shriners, when associating the origin of their order and ritual to the Middle East, indicate that their Christianity transformed the order for the better. The Egyptian perfection of Arabic and Egyptian inq uisitions, to dispense justice, and execute The Shrine's origins, in order to increase the mysticism and danger of the order, were attributed to the secret societies highest and best educated classes of the Mussulman nations; their ostensible object being 63 An organization that had 61 Fred Van Deventer, Parade to Glory: The Shriners and their Caravan to Destiny (Pyramid Books, 1959), 28. 62 Ibid. 63 Ib id., p. 29.
33 its mythical origins in one explicitly opposed to Christianity in the Middle East became an American association devoted to fun and Christian values. This evolution came as a point of pride to Shriners who believed Fleming's legends, who said that the order was ivested of its inconsistent Islam dogmas and its ritual adapted to the consistencies of Christian institutions and American laws, and is destined to become a 64 If the Shrine had been a successful secret police force in Egypt dedicated to opposing its religious foes, its structure and ritual had the potential to be remarkably potent as an organization aimed to promote fun, leisure, and a Christian ethos. The legend of the Shrine's origin gives the impression of a child acting out an adventure story, with the trappings of fearsome exotic secret order infused with fun and frivolity. Fleming's incorporation of an ancient Egyptian legend was continued in his description of the order's inaugural temple, appropriately named the Mec ca Temple. Much as Mecca was the center of the Islamic faith, visited by the faithful from around the world, the named Mecca Temple was meant to indicate that it would become the center of a national or global order. The architecture of the Mecca Temple wa s meant to echo its supposed Egyptian origins, much as Masonic structures were meant to bring to mind taken from the arches and gateways of the Egyptian Temple of the S un. The printing and colored transfers were perfected in the City of New York, where also the Statutes and 65 This tale recounts the passing of the proverbial torch of the Shriner ritual and aesthetic from an cient Egypt to the world's new 64 Ibid. 65 Ibid., p. 28.
34 center of culture and society, New York. Debates raged within the Shriners whether the origins of the ritual were real or a falsification, but many members did not care either insist on absolute truth. They are the ones who say that George Washington never chopped down the cherry tree or threw a dollar over the Rappahannock; they are probably right, but history was not damaged by f the order's origins were not important. He halo of honesty and strength about the head of Washington, which would reflect itself in the eyes of American youth for gene rations to come, who is to say the creation of the 66 Because the Shriners were an extension of the Masonic project to reform the world, the symbolism of the Shriner ritual as a template for a better society and a better, more satisfying brot herhood was more important than its historical legitimacy. The legend crafted by Fleming was intended to display the prominence of his new order, to bring it to the status and potential of the Blue Lodge, to encourage a new wave of membership who would app reciate the crafted reputation of a society based on ancient glories and American Christian exceptionalism. Fleming's gambit, adding layers of exoticism and mysticism to the Shrine, was successful. By 1879, the Shrine had 425 members between its thirteen temples, which were still centered in the Northeast, but had spread to Connecticut and Pennsylvania. 67 In order to assure the order's growth, Fleming had to guarantee that all temples were following the ritual, and to create a fundraising machine to pay for the grand parties the 66 Ibid., p. 26. 67 Ibid., p. 45.
35 regalia, paraphernalia, and all the requisite mechanism for the full exemplification of the onferring the ritual without all necessary components. Fleming, seeing that the order was growing and spreading geographically, aimed to create and maintain uniformity of ritual among the temples while the association was still in a nascent stage. In 1880, he pleaded with the Grand surmount all obstacles, and striven for the success, prosperity, and advancement of the Order. I only ask in return the aid and support of my constituents... I have no personal ambitions beyond the sincere interest in the welfare of the Order, to which I have devoted so much time and toil, and, I regret to say, not always encouraged by a like interest on the 68 The Shrine was a n organization aimed to provide fun and leisure for its members, but Fleming tried to emphasize the responsibility of its members to do so properly, within the bounds of the ritual he had devised. Without the ritual and its associated solemnity, the Shrine would be nothing more than a regularly scheduled party for Freemasons. The Shrine had from the outset experienced a tension between morality and levity, one expressed through its very Ritual. Shriner James McGee once said that the d as a 'relax' where Masons might escape the cares of the day and the serious formality of Masonic fraternalism, yet meet together as brothers who had 69 The Shrine was a reward for men who were allegedly dedicating a large portion of the rest of their lives to mutual aid brotherhood and the advancement of Masonic morality. Fleming wrote this into his Ritual, dividing it 68 Ibid. 69 Ibid., p. 56.
36 terminolo gy of the desert, the Islamic faith of Omar and the Oriental pageantry and splendor of the Arabic nabob. But in the second section Fleming let his imagination run riot, creating as it were 70 The Sh riners thus raised the stakes of fraternal leisure activities, most notably in their feasts and advertisements, which stressed the hedonistic nature of their characteristic of tribal ceremonies in ancient Araby. Masons were famous for the banquets served on occasion, but early there appeared on Shrinal banquet tables the wines and liquors never 71 The consumption of alcohol had always been a cru cial part of Masonic social gatherings, but the Shriners introduced their characteristic exoticism into a fundamental Masonic tradition. Advertisements for Shrine events drew ire from other Masonic organizations in the auxiliary's early years. For instan Imperial Council session in Cleveland showed a bottle being opened at the Oasis of Al 72 The Imperial Council struck back in 1890 against the accusations of impropriety by launching an investigative committee to write a resolution against misbehavior. This res condemns all such immoral and vulgar practices and declares that the repetition of such proceedings shall be sufficient cause for the revocation of the charter of any such 70 Ibid. 71 Ibid. 72 Ibid., p. 57.
37 73 This resolution was u nsuccessful, and was followed up in 1895 with an attack on the Shrine by the Scottish Rite, another Masonic sect. Aena T. Carson, a thirty third degree Mason from Ohio, delivered an address saying that the Shrine was damaging the reputation of Freemasonry disgrace to the organization that permits them to be sent out and are certainly a disgrace to any Masonic body that allows any organization to meet in their rooms that sends out such coarse and obscen 74 The rampant consumption of alcohol and resulting 75 To some Shriners, alcohol wasn't one method o f achieving the sociability and leisure that defined the order; it was the purpose of the association. Eventually, the successive chiding of other Masonic orders as well as Shrine leadership succeeded in diminishing the alcoholic nature of Shrine functions Alcohol remained an integral part of Shriner celebrations, but it was increasingly limited to specific places and times. As the wild nature of Shriner activities decreased, its focus on charitable contributions blossomed, most notably in the case of the famous children's hospitals. Fred Van Deventer, author of the Shrine's organizational biography Parade to Glory attributes the decrease in the consumption of alcohol to a maturation of the order. r Imperial or Masonic edicts. Rather, with the advent and development of the Shriners' Hospitals for Crippled Children as one of the 73 Fred Van Deventer, Parade to Glory: The Shriners and their Caravan to Destiny (Pyramid Books, 1959), 58. 74 Ibid. 75 I bid., p. 59.
38 76 Deventer attributes the emergence of the hospitals the first of which was built in 1922, to a profound evolution in the association. Whereas the Shrine had previously been a childlike romp through an exoticized playground structured after a mystical Middle East, it became 77 In the twentieth century, fifty years after the order was conceived, it adopted the Masonic tradition of charity. However, it did so in a characteristically Shriner manner. While charity in the Blue Lodge had be en confined mostly to members of the lodge, and limited to mutual aid for needy brothers, the Shriner hospitals were built to be grand public spectacles. A Masonic auxiliary that had been conceived of and designed by a doctor had found its characteristic i nstitution in non 78 An association deliberately designed to promote fun and frivolity while furthering the moralistic Masonic cause had found the perfect expression of its two goals. The Shrine did not display the traditional fraternal emphasis on mutual aid because this need would already have been achieved in the Blue Lodge. The childlike order would spend its resources aiding sick children, granting the organization more pres tige within the Masonic associations. The Elks: From the Tavern to the Lodge Unlike the Masons, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks was not founded as a utopian institution with an emphasis on morals and belief in God. Rather, it began, like the Shriners, as an organization built around leisure, but it expanded over time into 76 Ibid., p. 60 77 Fred Van Deventer, Parade to Glory: The Shriners and their Caravan to Destiny (Pyramid Books, 1959), 60 78 Ibid., p. 71
39 the fields of charity and service. The order was founded as a social club of theatrical professionals, many of whom were performers in minstrel shows. A 1912 organizational b early Elks were all members, but with few exceptions, of the theatrical and minstrel 79 The Elks w ere created directly in response to strict liquor laws in New York State, but the order quickly became more than just an excuse to gather and drink. After the funeral of a friend, the tive and and regulations for its government, prepare a suitable ritual, and sel decision, made in 1868, less than a year after the group had been founded, demonstrates the desirability and prestige a successful administration of the Masonic model would bestow on a fledgling organization. That they chose to emphas ize a set of cogent and cohesive rules as well as a ritualistic tradition shows the importance of standards and patterns in associational life. An association could not be as successful as a social gathering without an emphasis on a higher cause. Even the selection of a name for the reconstituted order betrays the fraternal nature of its formation. In desiring the choice of a new order from the Old World. Rejecting t he suggested name of 'Buffalos' in a close vote 79 Charles Edward Ellis, An Authentic History of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (Chicago, the author, 1910 ), 24.
40 morous of wrong, but ever ready to combat in that the newly named Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks would emulate. 80 The tension between Jolly Corks and Elks with in the association defined the Order's early years. Even though the early membership of the association was made up of actors and entertainers who had gathered in the first place to dodge drinking laws, there were disputes over what the long term purpose of the Elks should be. A contemporary writer to invest the new organization with principles and ideals in keeping with a benevolent and fraternal association while o n the other were the semi professional entertainers more 81 Obviously the Elks were, in their early years, forced to confront their destiny. Would they aim to be merely a social club fo r men or aspire to higher social standards? The Elks were a new creation, distinctly American, emerging from no European tradition. They were at first not imbued with any sort of mystical origin story, nor ideals of a higher destiny. The intense debates th at defined the order in its first year determined its fate as an organization in the Masonic model. By 1922, the Elks had expanded into a lodge system spanning the nation, with 815,000 members in over fifteen hundred lodges, a fraternal order of ritual and advancement. Unlike American Freemasonry, which was transplanted to the United States with a rich history, originating in the early modern guild system, the first Elks were at liberty to 80 James R. Nicholson, History of the Order of Elks, 1868 1952 (National Memorial and Publication Commission of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, 1953), 13. 81 Ibid., p. 17.
41 create a new association with a fresh interpretation of the fratern al model. They followed in the footsteps of groups such as the Masons and Odd Fellows, utilizing a similar institutional vocabulary and set of practices. A study of the Elks' early years reveals the process by which they decided upon their policies and pro cedures, most notably their rituals, rules, and hierarchy. The founders of the Elks wanted to form an association that lasted, was successful, and provided social and practical benefits to its members. The fraternal model was a proven way of achieving thes e goals. In less than half a year since the Order's founding, the initiation fee had increased from fifty cents to five dollars. The Elks' headquarters moved from location to location during this period, as their growth outpaced their space. In this period of rapid growth, the Elks established a preliminary constitution that defined their rules and regulations. In the Constitution's Preamble, the Equestrian, and Liter 82 This echoes the mutual aid aims of many contemporary associations. The Elks were established by their Constitution as having two degrees, with most power and pres tige deriving from the second. For instance, all committee appointments were derived from the ranks of the Second Degree. Interestingly, each meeting of the Order contained two sessions social half of the meeti that of the Freema sons. The first constitution displays the tension between business and 82 Ibid., p. 37
42 leisure that defined the Elks. 83 From the outset, the Elks placed a premium on ritual. When the association was f Elks, intended to establish two separate rituals, one for each Degree of the organization. A rs of Elk ritual are shrouded in secrecy, the minutes reveal a number of committees being founded Closing ode, Installation ode, Funeral ode, Ode for introducing a candidate, Ode to be es are not public, nor are the minutes of the meeting that created them, they indicate the extent to which ritual defined the procedure of Elk lodge meetings. 84 In 1875, seven years after the organization was founded, the labor of creating a lasting ritual, complete with music, was not yet complete. incomplete... We have been so long wanting what other orders have deemed so necessary and what would certainly enhance t would go on to take an active hand in finishing the odes, completing them in 1876. 85 Over time, the rituals of the Order would be constantly amended, in response to complaints by subordinate lodges as w ell as fears of thievery. The first such case occurred 83 James R. Nicholson, History of the Order of Elk s, 1868 1952 (National Memorial and Publication Commission of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, 1953), 37 38. 84 Ibid., p. 42. 85 Ibid., p. 43.
43 possession of its secrets, had banded together under the name of 'Order of Growlers' and were holding meetings and usi was not well received. The new Exalted Grand Rule John J. Tindale nonetheless in response said our Ritual contains objectionable features,' relics of barbarism...' which should be elimin 86 By 1884, the Ritual was revised and rewritten. One Freemasons, who required a be lief in any divine figure, the Elks would require a Christian interpretation. 87 In coming years, the 1884 Ritual, which had maintained the two degree system, was met by the strains of a growing organization, which painted it increasingly as outdated. In 189 3, a new Ritual was established which established that features of the Rit ual deemed outdated. 88 In 1895, the Ritual was once again changed, as spearhead a ritual that was uniquely Elk. 89 Associational rituals were supposed to be educational and build loyalty to the order; if the ritual did not impress members of the fraternity with the rights and responsibilities they had as Elks, it would be a failure. Th e Elks, emerging in a context full of many alternative organizations, needed to make sure 86 Ibid., p. 44. 87 Ibid., p. 45. 88 Ibid., p. 46. 89 Ibid., p. 47.
44 they stood out among the throngs of fraternal orders they competed with. Over time the constant updates to the Ritual began to grow tiresome for Elk leadership. The Lodge that the practice of having a new ritual every two or three years is not a means by ecreased its legitimacy. 90 At this time, the chief crusade regarding the ritual appliance, property, or paraphernalia, which may, by any possibility endanger the safe ty 91 Grand Exalted Ruler ly represented the mental attainment of the Brotherhood: that its beautiful teaching was here and there disenchanted by verbal atrocities... The sentiments were not presented with the desired and required symmetry and dignity and the classic grace and powe r in spiritualizing 92 constituting the complete Ritual. In Part II has been placed all the work of a comic were contained and printed in two separate books for distribution. 93 This solution would not last forever, however. The 1911 Ritual Committee decided that Part II of the Ritual was unnecessary and detracted from the Ritual as a whole. They decided to remov contented themselves merely to simplify and shorten the Ritual then in use and, at the 90 James R. Nicholson, History of the O rder of Elks, 1868 1952 (National Memorial and Publication Commission of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, 1953), 48. 91 Ibid., p. 49. 92 Ibid., p. 52. 93 Ibid., p. 53.
45 94 By finally totally he Ritual, the Elks had finally resolved one of the tensions at the core of their Order. The organizational schism between Jolly Corker and Elk persisted through the decades as the association created and refined its practices. Would the organization be one primarily defined by comedy and leisure or would it aspire to dignity and grace, adopting the middle class ideals of the era? This tension partly stemmed from the Order's theatrical origins, its founding members being of professions bolstered by the gr owing business 95 However, the Elks' theatrical origins would always be prominent in its operation and philosophy. In 1887, the Exalted Grand Ruler, in looking to change the date summer essentially a theatrical Order, formed by theatrical people in the theatrical center of our country, New York City... This noble and generous profession has ever been foremost in the cause of sweet charity, and I trust the day will never come when our Order shall drift 96 In the following decades, though, the Elks would increasingly pursue universality rather than just represent the theatrical lifestyle. For the fraternity to limit its membership would be to diminish its moneymaking potential, as well as its opportunities to grow and expand in size and societal prominence. 94 Ibid., p. 54. 95 Ibid. p. 67. 96 Ibid., p. 68.
46 Nonetheless, Elks would cite theater and Drama as cornerstones of the Order's philosophy. In 1903, actor Frederick Warde, an Elk himself, speaking at the dedication of the Guild of the Drama. It is proper that it shoul d be so because the Drama is in complete Drama. Where the Masons had adopted the trappings of religious orders and a mystical history, the Elks would rhetorically attribute their fraternity to theatrical origins. 97 The Benevolent and Protecti ve Order of Elks were formed as a social club for theatrical professionals, but quickly and consciously evolved into a mutual aid society for entertainers. Almost immediately, the original Jolly Corkers sought to expand, both geographically and also in the services they provided. The speed at which the Elks adopted the lodge model as well as a set of rituals indicates that the fraternal example set and followed by the Freemasons was both extremely attractive and an easily achieved formula. The tension in th e Elks' early years, between those who wanted a fraternal benevolent association and those who wished to maintain the Order simply as an institution for social gathering, illustrates the draw of the associational model. Within half a year of the Jolly Cork ers having their first social gathering, it underwent a profound evolution, adopting a Constitution, changing its name and purpose. The expanding Order even (quite appropriately) adopted plans to move into a building named Masonic Hall, stepping into one o f the older association's physical institutions much as it emulated its 97 James R. Nicholson, History of the Order of Elks, 1868 1952 (National Memorial and Publication Commission of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, 1953), 71.
47 social ones. 98 The Elks would go back and forth in adopting certain Mason institutions, such as a degree system, but nonetheless used the characteristically Masonic lodge model to exped ite the Order's national expansion. The Elks also had a tortured relationship with the idea of leisure in their early years. The Jolly Corkers had explicitly been an organization based around leisure, namely the consumption of alcohol. Its earliest members were professionals who made a living through leisure. Yet, the Order claimed to aspire to higher goals of fraternity, charity, and service. These ideals seemed to contradict the jovial and rambunctious nature of the Elks' early days. The Elks were just on e of many associations that emerged after the Civil War, but they were extraordinarily successful, surviving and thriving for over a century. Where the Jolly Corkers probably would have remained a local social group and vanished over time, the transformati on into the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, complete with a constitution, ritual, and guiding purpose, allowed the organization to prosper. Much like the American Freemasons, the Elks and many other fraternal orders offered opportunities for advan cement, both within the association as well as in society as large. At the same time, the practice of mutual aid functioned as a potential safety net for members, one that also provided a social space to relax and indulge in ritual and community. Conclusio n Men of the American middle class in the second half of the nineteenth century flocked to the numerous associations that emerged. In the wake of an Industrial Revolution that inspired rapid urbanization, challenging the centuries old traditional order a ssociations such as the Freemasons, Shriners, and Elks partly fulfilled the role of the early modern trade guilds and fraternal orders in that they gave the promise of 98 Ibid., p. 34.
48 community and support in times of need. In addition, they provided an opportunity to bui ld relationships with like minded men, both business and social. Associations were built around and in fact helped create a shared identity. In the case of the Masons, it was required for members to hold a belief in God, while the Elks functioned, at least originally, as an organization of theater professionals. As long as members remained in good standing, they would be welcome to receive the social and economic benefits of association membership. Fraternal orders created a family outside of the family, on e that was devoid of the responsibility of Victorian era patriarchy. The American voluntary association of the late nineteenth century was a refuge, an escape from work and women, a place where one was directly rewarded for being a good friend and having f un. Associations provided parallel opportunities for advancement, with titles bearing fanciful names and exotic ceremonies. They gave their members a place where men could let loose and have a good time, often to the detriment of their relationships at hom e. Voluntary associations were tailor made for the needs of a rising middle class of men in the nineteenth century who both had high hopes for and a great anxiety over a rapidly approaching future. In the midst of rapid social, economic, and political chan ges, fraternal orders provided men a safe haven that served their practical and social needs. Against a background of industrialization, class tension, shifting family and gender roles, international American expansion, and the fallout from the Civil War, men could drink and play among their friends, confident in the rewards they received for brotherhood.
49 Chapter Two: Fraternal Orders, Federalism, War, and National Identity During the First World War, future president Herbert Hoover organized a conference meant to bolster the country's food conservation drives. On July 12, 1917, Hoover, the Food Administrator convened a gathering of the leaders of the nation's voluntary associations in order to stress the necessity of food conservation as well as pledging in which Hoover had met with assemblages of religious as well as patriotic organization s. These three types of institutions were seen as ways to reach the maximum number of Americans possible, to influence the public and private lives of the country's citizens. 99 Sir Lee Stewart Smith, Grand Master of The Knights Templar writes of his experie nce at the United States, consisting of Knights Templar, Scottish Rite, Blue Lodge, Mystic Shrine, Grotto, Eastern Star, Odd Fellows, Moose, Knights of Columbus, Order of Hibernians, many women's organizations, both Protestant and Catholic, Jewish, Welsh, eer variety of American organizations present at the meeting is remarkable, featuring Masonic auxiliaries, international associations, American fraternal societies, and ethnic organizations. The associations unanimously adopted a set of resolutions proclai ming their dedication to food conservation. 100 Hoover's decision to bring the leaders of 99 William Clinton Mullendore, History of the United States Food Administration, 1917 1919 (Stanford U niversity Press, 1941), 94. 100 Proceedings of the Grand Commandery, Knights Templar and Appendant Orders of the District of Columbia, Volumes 23 28, (1918), 366.
50 fraternal associations to Washington demonstrates that they were viewed similarly to churches as organizational institutions with the ability to use their influence over the American public to aid the war effort. Voluntary membership associations functioned as more than just meeting spaces, organizational centers for social events and charity. They reflected and informed a growing sense of nationalism and national identi ty that grew in the wake of the Civil War. When a person joined an association, they were not merely pledging allegiance to a particular lodge and the resulting set of brothers and responsibilities. They were joining a network of related chapters, declarin g to people throughout the country that they were of like mind and principle, beholden to a greater multitude than merely their friends and neighbors. Voluntary associations became more predominant in public life, as more and more people joined organizatio ns. Associations based around religious, ethnic, and political ideas were formed in great numbers, and quickly became a favored means of organization among Americans. As the United States assumed its new position as a world power at the close of the ninet eenth century, voluntary associations became a ubiquitous organizational method for politics and social life. Finally, by the time of the First World War, the nation's voluntary associations served to augment war preparedness and mobilization. As the Ameri can state attempted grander and greater projects, associations could be a valuable asset or a hindrance. In this chapter, I will explore the ways in which associations contributed to and reflected the growing sense of a national identity that emerged in fu ll force after the Civil War's Union victory. I will also explain the give and take relationship between associations and the state, expressed through war and expansion. Associations transcended the local, functioning as nationalizing agents and
51 political actors. Jacksonville, Illinois: A Translocal Associational Hub The process by which diverse localities increasingly adopted a nationalizing associational model is best expressed by the biography of one such town. Don H. Doyle's study of the town of Jackso nville, Illinois from its founding in 1825 until 1870 provides a useful prologue to a study of associations and national identity. Doyle describes Jacksonville as a town built just as the state began to be populated by settlers, hoped for by its boosters t town. These goals were continually denied by either more fortunate rivals, or the population of a p town experienced an influx of immigrant laborers, mostly Irish, German, and Portuguese, making up one third of the population by 1860. Jacksonville was home to severe rel 101 Jacksonville was emblematic of the translocal America, a collection of interconnected and cities and commun ities, that emerged during and after the Civil War, experiencing the very conflicts that would drive the nineteenth century, regional, ethnic, religious, and political. The development of a cohesive social identity in Jacksonville was further 101 Don H. Doyle, "The Social Functions of Voluntary Associations in a Nineteenth Century America n Town," Social Science History 1, no. 2 (1977): 335.
52 hampered by only 27 per cent of the population remained as residents of Jacksonville; in the next on t stable core of residents, those with at least a decade of adult life in Jacksonville, 102 Associations managed to thrive in Jacksonville, even though it had a shifting population that tended not to establish permanent roots in the community. In a young town whose leaders harbored massive ambitions for the future of their community, it was necessary to identify individuals w ho would best perform the public and private duties that would lead to success. To achieve this end, voluntary associations o coincidence that Jacksonville's associational leaders were also town leaders, in business and government. The actions of association inordinate amount of the limited space t hey allotted to local news to report the creation of a new reform society or literary club. These accounts could include the names of elected officers, a full description of the meeting, including the names of everyone who spoke, seconded a motion, or call upon their actions and participation at meetings. In the 1860s, city directories dedicated and all their offic for associations functioned to both ease the creation of a local identity for the 102 Ibid.
53 one's na me reported in the local news paper as the Corresponding Secretary of the American Colonization Society, or in the city directory as the Worshipful Master of the Masonic Harmony Lodge, was to announce to a young community of newcomers one's credentials as 103 Because the town's associations were cross class, cross professional organizations, being a leader of one demonstrated to the surrounding community that a man was not simply good at his job, but was a leader of me n, regardless of politics or regional origin. Because Jacksonville was a town straddling the many divisive lines of its era, associations that attempted to avoid conflict through apolitical practices attempted to provide a neutral meeting ground for town speople to interact socially while avoiding strife. While being agents of cultural integration, associations also served to forge distinct racial and gender divides, with organizations such as the Colored Washingtonian Society and the Hibernian Temperance 104 Jacksonville's voluntary associations demonstrate that associations which consciously avoided discussion of political or religious affiliation could help to overcome, or at lea st obfuscate the latent divisions within the white middle class. Jacksonville's associations were made up of a diverse population of the country's may have been one o f the most important achievements of Jacksonville's voluntary 103 Ibid., p. 338. 104 Ibid.
54 associational activity, establishing reform societies in the fields of education, temperance, and abolition. Despi percent of the population, and the flurry of organizations in this latter period clearly 105 Voluntary associations proved to be a solution for the societal divides that plagued the middle deliberately uniting enlightened men of Christian spirit to promote social progress on a local and national level As sect and party created a series of deepening chasms in American society, voluntary organization seemed to promise a new vehicle for 106 As the country's sectional divides grew more and more prominent in political and cultural discourse, and the threat of a civil war became a controversial principles altogether. Fraternal lodges were especially keen on rejecting tests of religions, political doctrine or any other social goal beyond the circle of the did not obscure the fact that the town was a hotbed of sectional and religious divide, but it did emphasize the local ties over national ideological separation. As Doyle puts it, the men who made up associations were constantly reminded that they also shared certain local, class interests as businessmen, as property owners, as town promoters, as men of family, and as lea 107 In this way, reform movements and fraternal organizations tended to implicitly accent local ties, 105 Ibid., p. 339. 106 Ibid., p. 340. 107 Ibid., p. 341.
55 despite being a na tional phenomenon. Despite being organizations that emphasized and enhanced local ties, associations also allowed and supported the mobility characteristic of small towns such as Jacksonville in the middle of the nineteenth century. National associations moving in or out of the community. They filled a vital need for individuals on the move by allowing them to transfer their membership, and all the social and economic benefits s standardized across withdrawing "by card." Transient members were normally given a year to reestablish membership, and all local lodges were expected to honor these t ransfer cards as a matter nineteenth century, a way to implicitly transport a good reputation from town to town served an ambitious person well. As Doyle puts it, associa portable certification of the status and reputation he established in his former community, and it was a key which gave him access to a whole network of business and social contacts in what might otherwise be an entirely strange comm 108 Associations thus removed a large element of risk from moving to a new location, creating an orderly process to jump start one's business and social lives in a new place. The ability to transfer associational benefits broke down barriers between localities, removing one of the major roadblocks discouraging a person from moving to another part of the country. The shared experience of the associational middle class from lodge to lodge thus lent itself to the creation of a non provincial national ide ntity for Americans in small towns or the big city. Towns such as Jacksonville, positioned between 108 Ibid., p. 346.
56 North and South, home to religious and political divides, with relatively diverse and mobile populations, exhibit the contribution associations had in the cr eation of a translocal America, with similar organizations pattered across many communities, providing similar services, reducing the distinctions between localities. Voluntary Associations and Nat ionalization after the Civil War Doyle's study of Jackson ville, Illinois demonstrates the effects of associational life on one small American town, but such organizations, rampant throughout the country, were emblematic of and contributed to the nationalizing process of post Civil War society. Voluntary associat ions in the post war period were influential not only for the way they fostered the growth of a national and middle class identity, but also for their associations destined to a ttract very large memberships were launched at the conclusion of the Civil War, in the late 1860s, than in any other five year period in all of U.S. History. Dozens of additional foundings of eventually large groups followed across the immediate post Civil 109 The creation of organizations such as the Elks and Shriners were covered earlier in this study, as was the resurgence and expansion of the American Freemasons. The rise to prominence of these associations did not occur in a vacuum. The unique conditions that followed the American Civil War created an environment conducive to the foundation and expansion of voluntary associations of various forms throughout the nation. The growth of association primarily local or attributable to 'spontaneous' grassroots organizing. Local people and 109 Theda Skocpol, Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life (Univer sity of Oklahoma Press, 2004), 47.
57 leaders certainly mattered, but they were called into action by and worked hand in hand with, national ly ambitious leaders bold and visionary men and women who launched 110 The Civil War had inspired an immense voluntary drive within the American public. The needs of both armies, in terms of materials and soldier necessity on civilian as well as elected leaders to assemble local volunteers into community and state units and then combine those assemblages into great armies and civilian relief operations. The Civil War was fought by volunteer groups organized across 111 In short, the Civil War acted as a training exercise for American voluntarism. The needs of organizing a war greater in scale than any other in American history tested the abilit y of its citizens and government to organize. Dovetailing with a reformist sentiment that had grown through over a century of abolitionist, education, and temperance organizations, the America that emerged after the Civil War would be one with greater asso ciational tendency than it had had before the conflict. Union victory in the Civil War spurred an associational sentiment among familiar with federated models of popular organized as representative national state fifths of associations launched by ambitious leaders who, from inception, envisaged creating national organizations, even if it took them some time to realize their 110 Ibid. 111 Ibid., p. 49.
58 associations launched in th e decades after the Civil War than in any other era of U.S. history, association builders of this watershed era were more likely to have planned national projects from the start than were founders of ultimately very large associations active in any other ( 112 The experience of fighting the war directly influenced the formation of national fraternities, such as the swollen federal civil service and devi sed a ritual of sacrificial brotherhood that appealed not only to former 113 The Knights of Pythias would become a national organization in the mold of the Freemasons, even echoing the olde r association's auxiliaries, with the Pythian Sisters filling the same role as the Order of the Eastern Star, and the Dramatic Order Knights of Khorassan being 114 The Knights of Pythias would grow, becoming the country's third largest fraternal association, and the first to receive a charter under an act of the United States Congress. 115 The Knights would come to feature such prominent members as three presidents, two vice presidents, and Louis Armstrong. The Patrons of Husbandry, or The Grange, another organization that would come to great prominence in the decades to come, was founded in 1867. It emerged from a combination of public and private connections. Founded by Minnesotan federal agricu ltural official Oliver Kelley, the association was founded because of a collision of 112 Theda Skocpol, Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life (University of Oklahoma Press, 2004), 49 52. 113 Ibid., p. 52. 114 The Order of Knights of Pythias, Dramat ic Order Knights of Khorassan." Accessed April 25, 2013. http://www.pythias.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=60&Itemid=53. 115 "225 U.S. 246." Accessed April 25, 2013. https://bulk.resource.org/courts.gov/c/US/225/225.US.246.235.html.
59 governmental orders, fraternal brotherhood, and class interest. The Grange was founded of the devastated South. Using Masonic ties to make personal contacts in the defeated To fill this need, Kelley worked with federal officials from throughout the co untry to founding of thousands of additional 116 The Grange was created as a top down national organization meant to represent the interests of a particular ec onomic group. Its founder aspired for his order to directly impact the legislation of the United appropriate a million... dollars annually for the Department of Agriculture. .. Hardly any member of Congress would wish to vote against appropriations that would be called for 117 The Grange was designed to be a political tool, albeit one that took on an associational form. Despite being an organization built from the top down, it nonetheless was a vehicle for local farmers to pursue their interests, such as rural free growth of many local granges exceeded the capacity of the n ational leadership to effectively coordinate the organization's activities. The antimonopoly sentiment that contributed to the proliferation of local chapters produced hostility toward all concentrations of authority, including that of the National Grange. 118 Kelley's vision had 116 Theda Skocpol, Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life (University of Oklahoma Press, 2004), 52 53. 117 Adam D. Sheingate, The Rise of the Agricultural Welfare State: Institutions and Interest Group Power in the U nited States, France, and Japan (Princeton University Press, 2000), 59. 118 Ibid., p. 60.
60 radically decentralized association of local and state chapters fearful of any national 119 The case of the Grange as a post Civil War associa tion demonstrates the tension between national and local interests that heavily informed internal debates of associations in this time. Was the true core of a voluntary association in its national leadership or in its local chapters? As associations adopte d a federalist organizational structure, did they lose the ability to serve the best interests of their members? While leaders such as Kelley would have said that an organization's national character gave it strength, his local opponents would have disagre ed, preferring to use the associational advantage to represent their parochial interests. Voluntary associations, despite their proliferation throughout the nation in the second half of the nineteenth century, developed with a distinctly Northern flavor. The large or medium sized northeastern and midwestern cities and later from a few far western sites, while southern membership lagged in previously established national fe Confederate veterans' federations demonstrates the discrepancy in sectional associational tendencies after the war. While the powerful and influential Grand Army of the Republic (GA R) was created in 1866, its Confederate counterpart, the United Confederate Veterans were formed in 1889. The Confederate organization was first founded at the same time as the GAR's peak membership. As associations that were designed to allow veterans to organize and pursue their interests, the victorious Union showed much more willingness 119 Ibid.
61 mo 120 In short, winning the war inspired a generation of Americans to pursue associational life in the public and private arenas. Skocpol associates the rise of associations in American life to an exclusionary impulse just as 121 This tendency in many arenas of American life has historically led to war, nativism, class conflict, and imperialism. Associational members join such groups to gain material, political, or ideological benefits. Thus, the prominence of American associations is inextricably linked to its expansion ist agenda, which hit an early peak near the turn of the century, culminating during the Spanish American and First World Wars. Wars and Associations: Imperialism and Patriotism Voluntary associations developed a firm connection with military imperialism in the late nineteenth century. By the time of the First World War, America's associations proved to be among the largest supporters of the war, and helped to organize and mobilize the home front. However, this was not an American innovation of 1917; the their burgeoning empire. British Freemasonry had earlier proven to be a useful adjunct to the nation's imperial project. Freemasonry was directly associated with the Brit ish military. According to Jessica Harland boasted at least one lodge that accompanied it on its imperial sojourns. Freemasons in the army helped plant permanent lodges among civilian populations in colonies of a 120 Theda Skocpol, Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life (University of Oklahoma Press, 2004), 55 56. 121 Ibid., p. 59.
62 Freemasonry did not merely accompany the state's military into colonial territory, it also exported the brotherhood by requesting warrants to set up their own lodges in their new also played a part in the spread of Freemasonry throughout the empire, establishing or was expected to 122 If the sun never set on the British Empire, nor did it set on British nationalist associationalism. In the 1880s, the Grand Master of Scotland expressed the sheer importance of British Freemasonry as an imperialist tool, sayi has gone, we are able to say there has Masonry gone, and we have been able to found 123 Within the vast British Empire, Masonry proved to provide the same sort of se rvices American associations would within the country. A wide swath of the global British population moral and spiritual refinement, material assistance, and social advancement in all parts of the empire... Belonging to the fraternity made life easier for Britons who ran, defended, 124 In fact, Freemasonry made empire easier. In the same way that American associations eased travel around the cou ntry by providing an implicit set of credential that could be transferred from community to community, the imperial universality of British Freemasonry created a sort of imperial citizenship that transformed the vast swath of the world under the British fl ag into an extension of the domestic 122 Jessica L. Harlan d Jacobs, Builders of Empire: Freemasons and British Imperialism 1717 1927, (The University of North Carolina Press, 2007), 2. 123 Ibid., p. 3. 124 Ibid., p. 3 4.
63 British state. 125 The branch of American Freemasonry that became so important to the form and function of American voluntary associations was started in the colonial era as part of the organization's global diffusion. In a time when the British settlers of America sought to maintain a connection to their distant homeland, Freemasonry served this purpose, allowing colonists to continue practices nearly identical to those they had done in Britain. Even though American Freemasonry was divorced from the imperial nature of its British progenitor in the course of the American Rev olution, it nonetheless maintained a complicated single, transatlantic institution. British American Masons did not seek independent Masonic government until after the conf lict had resolved in the colonies' favor. Throwing Even as war raged between Britain and its American colonies, Masons were expected to maintain their fraternal devot ion to the institution. The drive to diminish conflict within the order was expected to maintain the ruling status of British imperialism in the Americas, but the tenets of Freemasonry ended up supporting both sides of the conflict. 126 Freemasonry was a mas sive asset to the Revolution and its revolutionaries. It contributed heavily to the cohesion and success of the Revolution's politics and military 125 Ibid., p. 31 32. 126 Ibid., p. 113.
64 Continental Army... 42 per cent of the army's generals joined the brotherhood before or lower status officers an entr e to polite society and social endorsement and contributed to the development of an esprit de corps among officers who came from very diverse 127 Much like its British counterpart, the Continental Army d eveloped ambulatory lodges that allowed military Freemasons to gather wherever they were stationed. The spread of Freemasonry throughout the Continental Army directly counteracted the inherent lack of cohesion among the various colonies and their represent atives. The adaptation of British Freemasonry into the of the army ended, Freemasonry eased the tr ansition of veterans into civilization society by enabling 128 Freemasonry, being the main vehicle of American associational life during the Revolutionary War, demons trates the universality of the applications of the associational model. It was used as a social and organizational tool by officers on both sides of the conflict, as well as easing the transition of the colonies from being mere holdings of the British Empi re to establishing a nation (and a Freemasonry) of its own. After the Civil War, the nation, though politically and legally reunited, still had not overcome the regional differences and debates that had caused the war in the first place. Though the Union victory seemed to have decided the question of secession's 127 Ibid., p. 114. 128 Ibid., p. 115.
65 legality, the antebellum tensions had not diminished. American civic leaders sought so solve this problem through internal and external means. While the nationalizing effects of voluntary associati ons, imposing a federal system of sociability and organization, have been discussed earlier in this chapter, American foreign policy also contributed to the decline of sectionalism. In the period following the Civil War, the United States pursued an increa singly expansionist foreign policy, turning the focus of its citizens outward while decreasing the inter regional strife that had defined American politics up until that point. As Americans sought to expand their way of life and governmental philosophy aro und the world, they lessened their focus upon the centuries old North South divide. In this process, best expressed by the imperialist opportunities of the Spanish American War, the country's voluntary associations saw a chance to unconsciously follow the pattern set by imperial British Freemasonry and follow the flag to new American colonies such as Cuba and the Philippines. After the war broke out in 1898, Elk Grand Exalted Ruler Meade D. Detweiler released a circular recommending that each lodge adopt a resolution in support of the of Elks, emphatically and exclusively an American Order, in this hour of the nation's appeal to patriotism in defense of its rights and t he rights of humanity, responds to its sense of duty, its love of country, and its devotion to the great American ideas which gave 129 The resolution, in addition to merely supporting the war, pledged financial support for Elks who enlisted in the military during the conflict. The resolution demonstrates the willingness of Elks to support what was viewed as a global nationalist 129 James R. Nicholson, Hist ory of the Order of Elks, 1868 1952. (National Memorial and Publication Commission of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, 1953), 180.
66 endeavor, while simultaneously emphasizing the profoundly domestic nature of the association. The year 1898 had been one of massive growth for the Order, increasing its membership by around twenty percent, from 36,515 to 44,252. In the heat of this expansion, some Elks sought to follow American influence to the former Spanish Elks Lodges in Honolulu, Manila, 130 The Elks, who had previously emphasized their Americanness, were hesitant to expand their as sociation beyond national borders. In this sentiment, Elk leadership displayed a reticence to export their fraternity to a region of the world they deemed not ready for their influence. Even today, the Elks have barely left the United States, with a single lodge in each of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Panama Canal Zone. 131 As such, they have remained firmly within the boundaries set by American imperialism, allowing the organization to remain distinctly of the United States. The Shriners, another association that originated in the United States, considered and rejected the idea of international lodges. At the 1899 Shriners gathering in Buffalo, Imperial Council with a p rogram to establish temples in England, Mexico, or the Sandwich Islands. He didn't even mention the Philippines, for which there had been and civilian personnel, woul d have followed the British imperial pattern set by the 130 Charles Edward Ellis, An Authentic History of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, (1910), 230. 131 Bene volent and Protective Order of Elks, "Elks.org:: Local Lodges." Accessed April 25, 2013. http://www.elks.org/lodges/.
67 132 Even today, the Shriners barely have an international presence outside of North America, with one shri ne in each of Germany, Panama, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. 133 Unlike the British Freemasons, who had augmented imperialism, American associations, who had very little reason to fear expansion, seemed reticent to follow suit. This hesitancy to get invol ved in international affairs faded in the next two decades, and was totally gone by the time of the First World War. Even then, their program did not constitute international growth as much as the expansion of the fraternity's power and prestige in the con tinental United States. The First World War: Associations as Partners and Adversaries of American Internationalism By the time the United States entered the First World War, its associations had become massive, prominent in public and private life. The co coexisting voluntary membership organizations... Almost all of these associations were federations, in which regularly meeting local chapters sent representatives to regular state 134 These assoc iations spanned both local and national society, and multiple decades of constant growth had made them a vital part of the increasingly national nature of American life. The First World War was the country's first military conflict comprised mainly of sold iers conscripted nationally rather than joining state militias. Domestic organization for the war, much like that which had occurred during the Civil War, required coordinated organization between the government and 132 Fred Van Deventer, Parade to Glory: The Shriners and their Caravan to Destiny, (1959), 74. 133 Shriners International, "Locations." Acces sed April 25, 2013. http://www.shrinersinternational.org/Locations.aspx. 134 Skocpol, Theda et al., "Patriotic Partnerships: Why Great Wars Nourished American Civic Voluntarism," in Shaped by War and Trade ed. Ira Katznelson and Martin Shefter (Princeton Un iversity Press, 2002), 135.
68 federal agencies and business groups, with some participation by the leadership of the 135 In addition to this narrative, which tends to predominate discussions of the First World Wa r, characterized by institutions such as the War Industries Board and Food Administration, existed a vibrant connection between the government and voluntary associations. Where the Civil War had spawned a number of associations that were necessary to prose cute the war and manage its many resources, the First World War engendered far fewer. Twentieth already networked with a rich array of popularly rooted, cross class voluntary federations, many of which were able and very willing to enter into wartime partnerships 136 The government would come to depend on these partnerships in order to achieve their wartime goals of recruitment and resource management, to sell er to achieve these goals, the government and it needed groups with extensive networks and 137 The federal associational structure described earlier in this chapter, which grew to mirror that of the national government after the Civil War, was key in organizing and winning the First World War. ar campaigns involving the national, state, and local bodies of more than two dozen leading voluntary federations (and many smaller from drafting, training, and support ing troops, to raising money to pay for the war, to 135 Ibid., p. 152. 136 Ibid., p. 156. 137 Ibid., p. 157.
69 heightening industrial and agricultural production, to conserving resources in order to repeated the sorts of services they h recreational to the spiritual, supporting the newly mobilized soldiers in training camps, in fraternity of American life to the brutal European war. 138 Associations like the YMCA, which were at the forefront o f asso ciational life in the Great War, were granted great power to spread their influence to the war front in conjunction with the responsibilities they had to mobilize the war effort. The war created a hierarchy of voluntary associations, as organization s less closely tied to the war effort were subservient to those that were. For instance, the ons such as the YMCA was not matched by many other associations during the war. Even though the success of the American war effort required immense contribution from many on of efforts. So they required associations to work together and limited the number that could revolutionary in associational co mmunities and particular associations tended to maintain direct ties to units of 'their men' in the military, without going through central authorities either to gain information 138 Ibid.
70 effort. Access to military units was tightly controlled and granted to official national mobilizers exclusively. 139 This is not to say, however, that other associations were not crucial to the ome 43 federated networks and more than 12,500 congregations and chapters were reportedly involved in food conservation drives... Iowa may well have been one of the most civically engaged states, but it was not unique. Voluntary associations reports and ot her state and community taking place at all levels of society and government, administered at a local level by willing associations. In the summer of 1917, the Bene volent and Protective Order of Elks entered to offer in service at the front order to accomplish this, the consideration to the sick and wounded on the battlefields of France and equip base appropriated one million dollars for these goals, establishing a Wartime Relief Commission to distribute the funds. The Elks built hospitals on the war front and at home, in France, Boston, Ohio, and even proposing one in New Orleans. These domestic projects, meant to house injured soldiers, spanned the nation, North and South. 140 The Elks, in an institutional biography, portray their assistance to the Salvation Army during the war as crucial to the success of that organization's cause, citing Commander 139 Ibid., p. 161. 140 James R. Nicholson, History of the Order of Elks, 1868 1952 ., (National Memorial and Publication Commission of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, 1953), 241 244.
71 y without hesitancy that our organization could not have achieved its exceptional success in this war, but for the splendid, practical, Salvation Army instruments provided wa rtime to relief to many soldiers overseas. 141 first fraternal organization whose aid was sought in the movement for food conservation between the government and national associations during the war. Elk membership grew by almost 60 percent in the course of th e war. 142 service under the Stars and Stripes in every part of the vast war machine and when peace Pershing, delivering a speech at New organization or body of men whose patriotism, whose loyalty, and whose benevolence have contributed in a greater degree... We have felt the national benefits of your efforts to carry forward the principles for whi 143 The Elks, participating in both war front and domestic organization, invested themselves heavily in the result of the conflict, and by extension, the expansion of Wilson's foreign policy overseas. Associations not only served logistical purposes for the war effort, they also 141 Ibid., p. 245. 142 Skocpol, Theda et al., "Patriotic Partnerships: Why Great Wars Nourished American Civic Voluntarism," in Shaped by War and Trade ed. Ira Katznelson and Martin Shefter (Princeton University Press, 2002), 167. 143 Jam es R. Nicholson, History of the Order of Elks, 1868 1952. (National Memorial and Publication Commission of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, 1953), 249 250.
72 helped raise morale. The Shriners, for instance, contributed their festivities to the cause. 144 Th other patriotic organizations... The Shriners were not only the best parade group in every city, but invested in Liberty Bonds. Special Liberty Loan auctions were held. The Imperial Potentate was call ed in by Food Administrator Herbert C. Hoover, and the Shrine patriotic propaganda of the day, and curtailed its traditional largesse to support the war effort in terms of funds and rations. Nonetheless, the Shriners continued to pride themselves for the conviviality and joy they brought to the national mood. As sorrow, the Mystic Shrine has added a touch of happiness with its ceremonials and afforded an opportunity of touching elbows with friends and giving one another the moral support so much needed when civilization itself has been tottering, while at the same time it has cooperated with e the Shrine the opportunity to do what they always did, and be rewarded for it. During the War, the Shrine passed the quarter of a million mark in its membership, with 11,649 serving in the militar y and almost 2,800 Nobles joining the order while in uniform. 145 The 144 Skocpol, Theda et al., "Patriotic Partnerships: Why Great Wars Nourished American Civ ic Voluntarism," in Shaped by War and Trade ed. Ira Katznelson and Martin Shefter (Princeton University Press, 2002), 163. 145 Fred Van Deventer, Parade to Glory: The Shriners and their Caravan to Destiny, (Pyramid Books,
73 affluent Shriners doubled in size during the course of the war, due partly to heavy recruitment within the military, as well as evidencing the culmination of the massive membership drives o f past decades. The men who had joined the Freemasons in previous decades came of age within the order, being able to achieve their highest ranks while participating in the patriotic profusion of the war effort. 146 Voluntary associations provided perhaps th eir greatest impact on the way they lent popular or widely accepted at its outset. Involve ment in the clash of empires on the Old World seemed to be in direct contradiction to the nation's founding principles, laid out in Washington's Farewell Address. Promoting the war through local organizations had a profound impact on the success of Washing ton's pro war media blitz. As historian Preston problems of war administration more efficiently... but it could not have enlisted an equal rticipation of local community leaders, as well as the government gained the advantage of increased mobilization in its war effort, the and this needs of supporting the war effort dovetailed with the ideals of the country's associations, 1959), 97. 146 Skocpol, Theda et al., "Patriotic Partnerships: Why Great Wars Nourished American Civic Voluntarism," in Shaped by War and Trade ed. Ira Katznelson and Martin Shefter (Princeton University Press, 2002), 177.
74 women's clubs and auxiliaries. Idealizations of patriotism, community service, and brotherhood and sisterhood along class lines were already standard in American civic the American public and its government without compromising their values, in fact bolstering them through participation in one of the largest national projects the country had ever engaged in. 147 The First World War was not universally beneficial for America's voluntary ndeavor, this war was conducted by U.S. Authorities uneasy about managing a society divided by encompassing nature of the government's propaganda blitz in the face of widespread dissent created an atmosphere extreme ly harsh to dissident groups. As the Wilson administration sought to associate American public opinion with an Anglo themselves on the wrong ethnic side of the international alignment of friends and ene American groups such as the Ancient Order of Hibernians, who retained a nationalist resentment of England, grew until World War I, h and, the Knights of Columbus, another Irish war effort and was made an official partner with the War Department. During and after the war, the Knights of Columbus gained members and prestige, partially at the expens e 148 Cooperation with the American war effort 147 Ibid., p. 164. 148 Ibid., p. 164 165.
75 required a total submission to the American cause, even if it came at the expense of ethnic interests. For an association to survive and thrive in the war, it would have to discard its roots. The decline of associations unwilling to support the British cause pales in comparison to the fate of German American organizations. Having long enjoyed a rich social and cultural life in the United States, being one of the major im migrant groups to distinctive 149 Reflecting the age old fears of immigrants to the United States serving as sleeper agents for their hom e countries, the government attacked German organizations it deemed potentially subversive. For instance, the German as being potentially harmful to the war effort, the organization lost much of its membership, causing it to disband and donate its remaining funds to the Red Cross, an officially sanctioned national organization. Pressure against ethnic organizations iden tified with the 150 The First World War was famously used by Woodrow Wilson as an opportunity to promote the idea of the United States as an interna tional actor. In order to accomplish this task, he had to work to convince a population averse to unnecessary international entanglements to intervene in the Great War. The quashing of dissent extended to associations diametrically opposed to aspects of th e war effort. The 149 Skocpol, Theda et al., "Patri otic Partnerships: Why Great Wars Nourished American Civic Voluntarism," in Shaped by War and Trade ed. Ira Katznelson and Martin Shefter (Princeton University Press, 2002), 150 Ibid., p. 166
76 articulation of an American international identity came at the expense of the vibrancy and diversity of the nation's associational life. Some associations did grow and thrive, but only ones who followed the American war agenda. Fraternal associations lost their ability to be engines of protest as well as patriotism. Conclusion Even as the war aims of the Wilson administration decreased the diversity and overall representativeness of the country's voluntary associations, the experience of the war nonetheless demonstrated the evolution of the organizations as national actors. The increase in prominence of fraternal associations was spurred by national projects such as war and territorial expansion. The modern voluntary association emerged fr om the organizational necessities of the Civil War and reached their zenith in the First World War. The strength of fraternal associations in this period resulted from the way they adapted to the nation's increasingly federalist political and social struc ture. If the Civil War's bloody battles had stymied the hopes of the country's rise as an international power in the middle of the nineteenth century, the following period evidences as conscious retreat from sectional feuds. In the wake of a war that had p itted brother against brother, the allure of fraternal organizations that created a national brotherhood seemed apropos. Voluntary associations proved to be a useful organizational tool for the national government, placed alongside churches and patriotic a ssociations as key methods of creating an interface between the state and its citizens. Associations helped to create and reinforce a national identity for those who joined them, easing the transition from a country of isolated communities to translocal in terests, a group of feuding regions to an expansionist inte rnational force.
77 Chapter Three: Fraternal Associations as Institutions of Oppression and Agency The Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the World was an African American fraternal order created in the mold of its white predecessor three decades after the founding of the original fraternity. It faced its fair share of legal difficulties as it resisted the secret ritual of an organization that had rejected black membership. The assoc with the black Knight s of Pythias, the largest African American fraternal association, had given him the organizational training to establish an association of his own. He was obtain a co 151 This raised the ire of the white Elks, who declared at their 1906 Grand Lodge convention that the year would be notable for imitato or to use the name, insignia, officer titles, rituals, or ceremonies of the BPOE and a 152 This was a direct challenge to 153 In 1905, the st age 151 sity: The Origins and Development of Social Science History 2004;28(3):388. 152 Ariane Liazos, "Duty to the Race: African American Fraternal Orders and the Legal Defense of the Right to Organize," Social Science Hi story 28, no. 3 (2004): 503 153 Ibid., p. 508.
78 the national BPOE, the Yonkers police arrested an IBPOEW member for wearing a 154 The white Elk horror at having to share an associational ide ntity with the African Americans they had rejected spurred over a decade of legal debate. The most powerful and prominent fraternal voluntary associations were made up of and dominated by white middle class males who used the organizations as tools for so cial advancement and sociability. American associations have tended to echo the gender and racial inequalities present in the domestic and public spheres. Despite many of the nation's immigrant ethnic groups gaining agency through membership in or creation of voluntary organizations, women and African Americans had to contend with a social structure that limited their ability to organize without objection. In this chapter, I will be examining the role played by those who had been excluded from mainstream as sociational life. Women had to contend with the tension between their domestic duty as moralizing forces and their striving to take part in private associational life, expressed through the conflict between temperance societies and fraternal organizations. Women, even when integrated into associational life, were admitted in a reduced and subservient capacity to their fathers and husbands. Similarly, African Americans were uniformly rejected from white associations, thus founding their own parallel and dist inctive fraternal orders in order to achieve personal and racial advancement. Ranging from copies of white associations, down to their very rituals, to new and unique organizations, African Americans had to overcome legal and social hurdles in order to cre ate and maintain fraternal orders. Even though mainstream white fraternal orders did not welcome full female or black membership, the model nonetheless proved useful to those its 154 Ibid., p. 503.
79 organizations scorned. If voluntary associations acted as an extremely popula r organizational method by which ambitious and sociable people could advance in society, they also served to reinforce the unequal social structure of their era. However, they also acted as a method for the oppressed to organize and fight for greater equal ity. Women's Auxiliaries: Moral Centers for a Fraternal World The nineteenth century fraternal order had been defined by its exclusion of women. The many activities organized and experienced by members of these associations familial, and restricted to men (though women might in 155 The gender divisions stringently exercised by among men, to reinforce men's separation from women, and thus to validate and facilitate 156 Fraternal organizations thus tended to echo masculine supremacy in society, as well as reinforcing it by granting men exclusive meeting places outside the home. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, this traditional order seemed to be under attack on multiple fronts. Women were traditionally considered to have a great deal of authority in the domestic sphere. On the other hand, the public sphere was supposed to be a masculine domain, yet wom en, agitating for suffrage and temperance, challenged masculine domination in politics and society. Contemporary male critics asserted that women, by pursuing activities outside of the home, were rejecting their domestic duties as wives and mothers, allegi ng that entry into the public sphere was degrading the feminine commitment to the creation of a moral and stable 155 Mary Ann Clawson, "Nineteenth Century Women's Auxiliaries and Fraternal Orders," Signs 12, no. 1 (1986): 41. 156 Ibid.
80 157 Moral c rusades such as the movements for temperance and the abolition of slavery were thus folded rhetorically into the domestic arena. 158 These debates over gender roles in public life fostered a tricky division in the associational domain. As men attempted to us e fraternal associations as a way to create a persistent and dependable masculine dominated social space, the realities of the expansion within the feminine public sphere forced the organizations to adapt. At first, fraternal associations tried to expand t he domestic sphere into the lodge, incorporating women symbolically into the fraternal system while preserving its fundamentally masculine organizational nature. This solution proved temporary, as women, increasing ever more frequently in organized public activities, demanded a more active role in lodge life. Fraternal leaders sought a compromise, a solution that would accommodate the women who did not want to shirk the d omestic division of labor entirely wanted to maintain their role while also pursuing their social and political agenda in public. Their autonomy and masculine approval nineteenth accommodation as well as domination, as men and women challenged each other's 159 If the lodge was supposed to function as a man's family 157 Ibid. 158 Caroll Smith Rosenburg, Disorderly Conduct: Visions of Gender i n Victorian America (Oxford University Press, 1986).; Nancy Cott, No Small Courage: A History of Women in the United States (Oxford University Press, 2004).; Robyn Muncy, Creating a Female Dominion in American Reform, 1890 1935 (Oxford University Press, 1994). 159 Ibid., p. 42.
81 outside of the home, how could it be reconciled with the demands of one's legal and religious responsibilities as a father and husband? The ensuing compromise would marry the two families, enveloping the domestic structure within the fraternal. The attempts to reconcile Freemasonry and femininity were complicated by the tensions between the order and conceptions of the duties of the feminine sphere. Freemasonry, as a social institution in the United States, advertised itself as a way to attain and maintain morality. This goal, which was at the very center of the utopian ugh the 160 Because Freemasonry and antagonism at a time when so many Americans, both men and women, believe d that 161 Women were seen as a positive influence meant to counterbalance the corrupting effects of the business world. Because ned for being cut off from the ennobling influence of women; it was said that their rites were devised to harden the heart, stultify the conscience, and to eradicate every degree of 162 Masonic associations were thus set against domesticit y, not only because they encouraged a masculine life away from the household, rife with drinking and socialization, but also because they challenged the female monopoly on republican virtue. 160 Ibid., p. 45. 161 Ibid. 162 Mary Ann Clawson, "Nineteenth Century Women's Auxiliaries and Fraternal Orders," Signs 12, no. 1 (1986): 46.
82 Women played, even in the antebellum period, a large role in vol untary reform movements. Even though these memberships would later be perceived as anti domestic, a danger to the established familial order, they emerged from a milieu that had encouraged women to pursue moral righteousness inside and outside the home. Wo men's moral mission and charity work as early as the 1790s; and by the 1830s, they were deeply committed to a host of reform organizations from Bible and tract societies t hrough the 163 Participation in such l crusade most associated with women in particular, bridged the gap between women's domestic role as a moral force and the dawn of women's movements pursuing the sex's special interests. Despite being programs of moral reform to society as a whole, women's voluntary reform 164 The ability to organize politically to achieve a religious and moral goal such as temperance tended to protec t wives and daughters from drunken male abusers. This was necessary because the law was insufficient in its protection of female dependents from domestic male figures. Women were socially granted the upper hand in matters of religion and morality, and temp erance societies represent the conscious use of this advantage by women for self defense and advancement. In order to promote abstinence from alcohol, temperance societies would organize 163 Ian Tyrrell, "Women and Temperance in Antebellum America, 1830 1860," Civil War History 28, no. 2 (1982): 130. 164 Ibid.
83 lectures that demonized alcohol, stressing its detrimental effects u pon the family. They 165 They not only addressed the harmful effects of alcohol upon me n and their families, but also stressed the universality of the problem. The wives and children of drinkers were said to suffer, rich or poor, and men who would drink outside the home were said to be detrimental to the physical and spiritual health of a fa mily. Such drinking commonly took place in male fraternal gatherings, where men could focus on sociability outside of the family. In the eyes of temperance societies, fraternal lodges, bastions of drinking and false families, led to men shirking their end of the domestic responsibilities. Women t to agitate for women's political and property rights, which seemed 'so far distant' from achievement because they were effect ou r happiness more directly than the splendid privileges or immunities of a political character, especially the right of every woman to have a sober husband. 166 In antebellum temperance societies, women used their social advantages of being seen as moral su periors to men, leveraging their reputation and domestic duty as moral evangelists to pursue a political agenda. Even though they tended to eschew the right of suffrage, they nonetheless worked to improve their 165 Ibid., p. 139. 166 Ibid., p. 140.
84 condition within an unequal system of domesti city. If fraternal orders offered brothers the opportunity to take care of each other, to expand the definition and benefits of family to fictive kin they associated with socially, temperance societies were designed to offer a similar benefit. They encoura ged the growth of a sisterhood that was cognizant of the unbalanced nature of the domestic contract and sought to rectify it. Some associations, such as the Odd Fellows and Masons, attempted to reconcile the domesticity dispute by bringing women into the associational fold, albeit in a established honorary degrees for women. 167 Women had been key contributors to the anti Masonic frenzy in American politics and culture for the first half of the nineteenth century. In an attempt to reduce sources of future antagonism to Masonic associations, Freemason Robert Morris established the Order of t he Eastern Star in 1850. Similarly, Odd Fellow Schuyler Colfax urged the creation of the Rebekah degree. These auxiliaries were open to both men and women, but were only available to women who were wives and daughters to lodge members. In an attempt to dem pt the help she would have 168 Even though 167 Mary Ann Clawson, "Nineteenth Century Women's Auxiliaries and Fraternal Orders," Signs 12, no. 1 (1986): 46. 168 Ibid., p. 47.
85 women were not inclined to support or trust the Masonic o rders that kept men away from their families, Morris asserts that women would be best served to take the mutual aid opportunities presented to them due to their association with the lodge. Masons and Odd Fellows created orders explicitly to emphasize these benefits while coaching women in the proper duties of domestic life. As I wrote in Chapter 1, fraternal associations functioned as mutual aid societies. Women's auxiliaries were conceived as a way to convert hostile female opponents into ones who realize such as the Freemasons attempted to provide a second, all male, family for their and to demo nstrate to women its commitment to their well 169 Despite his desire for women to become more invested in Freemasonry, Robert Morris nonetheless wanted 170 The boisterous realities of lodge life thus challenged the sexual division of spiritual labor. The Odd Fellows had emp hasized women's moral duties in domesticity, as well as the possibility for fraternal mutual aid in its formulation and creation of a Ladies' Degree. Degree would be rest ricted to Scarlet Degree holders and their wives. Second, these 169 Ibid., p. 47. 170 Ibid., p. 48.
86 century portrayal of woman's special gifts but also some backing off from the idea of full fraternal self sufficie 171 Women were, at least in the case of the Odd Fellows, integrated into fraternal associational life, much as their husbands and fathers were. Feminine opposition to the all male world of brothers in the lodge ha d revealed the weakness of the system; men could not claim a full emphasis on moral development if their wives were absent from such a large portion of their lives. Integrating women into the fictive kinship of the fraternal lodge did not entail sisterhood to the association's brothers. Instead, the demands of domesticity were entwined with the lodge's system of mutual aid. Just as men were brothers to all within the lodge, women would be wives and mothers to all, at least when performing their fraternal re sponsibilities. The 1919 edition of the ritual of the Order of the Eastern Star demonstrates the purely domestic nature of the order. The titular star features five points, each representing a degree of the association. Each degree is named after a biblic al figure, defined by their daughter; Ruth, the widow; Esther, the wife; Martha, the sister; and Electa, the 172 Whereas the duties of fraternal associations consisted of men's responsibilities for other men, the Order of the Eastern Star emphasized the principle of men and women mutually administering duties and benefits to each other within the 171 Ibid., p. 49. 172 Order of the Ea stern Star General Grand Chapter, Ritual of the Order of the Eastern Star, (Chicago: 1919), 2.
87 benefits are due by Masons to t he wives, daughters, mothers, widows and sisters of 173 The lengthy initiation ceremony into the order was aimed to reinforce the domestic role of women as a moralizing force. The candidate is i nstructed through stories about each of the female biblical figures who represent the five points of the Eastern Star. For instance, Adah, the daughter, sacrificed her own life in order to ensure that her father held true to a vow he had made. She is said 174 On a similar note, candidates were presented the story of Esther, the Jewish wife of a Persian King, who risked her life to prevent the massacre of the Jewish people in his king dom. Esther's willingness to die in an attempt to prevent her husband's 175 The stories of Ada h and Esther, who represent daughters and wives, reveal the order's emphasis on the moral duties of womanhood, supplementing the Masonic project to reform the entire world. If Freemasonry was supposed to be the utopian seed of a better society, the women o f the Order of the Eastern Star were expected to coax that seed and make sure it grew properly. After being verified as worthy of the order due to familial association with a about Masonic brother in promulgating the principles of Brotherly Love, Relief an d Truth. Here 173 Ibid., p. 3. 174 Ibid., p. 46. 175 Ibid., p. 53.
88 we may aid, comfort and protect each other in our journey through the labyrinth of human life, and by cheerful companionship and social enjoyments, lighten the burdens of 176 The existence of a feminine Masonic order was thus a com promise, meant to simultaneously assuage some of the association's most vehement opponents while serving to enrich the moral lives of male Masons. The involvement of women in a male dominated fraternal organization was constrained by the tenets of domestic ity and bound by ritual to the support of husbands, fathers, and sons. Women had been a public challenge to the existence and practices of fraternal associations. Their crusades against alcohol and the resulting absentee husbands and fathers were a threat to the private world of brothers and lodges. In order to neutralize the disparity between husbands and wives in the associational arena, women were brought into the lodge fold in a subservient capacity. Their purpose was not sociability, but rather respons ibility as a wife or mother, rather than a fraternal sister. African American Associations : A Separate Nation of Joiners African Americans, despite being excluded from the fraternal associations that proved so dominant in white society, nonetheless enjoye d a vibrant parallel associational lower class, Negroes are more inclined to join associations than are whites; in this respect... Negroes are 'exaggerated' Americans 177 Theda Skocpol and Jennifer Lynn Oser assert that black fraternal federations operated parallel in both era and structure to white dominated associations. Their position in society was quite distinct, however, as te groups, and local lodges were often smaller 176 Ibid., p. 40 41. 177 nt of Social Science History 2004;28(3):369.
89 and more fragile. Where they were organized, however, African American fraternal groups often created more lodges per capita and involved a higher proportion of adults 178 In a country hos tile to the democratic and social rights of African Americans as a group to organize, the idea of a mutual aid society would have African Americans always had a stro ng proclivity to form mutual assistance groups tied enjoyed the slightest modicum of rights to organize. Pre Civil War southern cities, for example, exempted mutual aid societies from laws otherwise 'forbidding the meetings of groups. The abundance of 179 African American associations arguably had more appeal than their white counterparts, and grew to share their translocal nature They ran the gamut from fraternal societies to moral reform groups, serving to advance the position of African Americans in a country that had proven hostile to their fundamental rights. African American fraternal associations, despite the many roadbloc ks put in their way, followed a similar trajectory of growth to white groups. Skocpol and Oser point out Civil War and proliferated again during the 1880s as blacks were facing the end of Reconstruction and the loss of many political rights and at a time when white insurance 178 Ibid., p. 372. 179 Ibid., p. 375.
90 American organizations further expanded in the wake of the in creased restrictions of Jim other avenues of civic organization and economic advancement were tightening for 180 The promise of mutual aid and social advancement was key to the growth and prominence of African American groups, much as it also was for the Elks and Shriners. Even though some types of associations, such as temperance associations and national military veterans' organizations, allowed equal black membershi p, the majority of major fraternal societies, including the Masons, Elks, Knights of Pythias, and Odd Fellows, spouse values of patriotism and universal brotherhood and sisterhood under God, African Americans invariably protested 181 When protest failed, African Americans established parallel associations t o receive the same benefits their white counterparts had. These associations tended to have similar names and rituals to white associations, albeit with different goals and motivations in their admission practices. Some, such as the Prince Hall Masons, wer e extraordinarily strict in regard to who they allowed to enter the fraternity. Prince Hall Masons: A Parallel Bourgeois Identity The Prince Hall Masons have the distinction of being the oldest and best known example of a parallel African American fratern al association. The order originated in 180 Ibid., p. 382. 181 Ibid., p. 383.
91 formed African Lodge No. 1. The new lodge had bylaws that heralded the twin ideas of black Freemasonry. The African Lodge evinced its being less limited in its admissions future Prince Hall Masons wished to establish 182 received a charter from the Grand Lodge of E ngland itself, the mother lodge of Massachusetts, but the Americans had not responded was friendly with many of Boston's leading Masons. 183 race in America, to force the equal treatme nt of all men according to their individual 184 Prince Ha ll Freemasonry concerned itself with ending slavery improvement so they could effectively perform as first 185 Prince Hall Masonry dedicated itself to raising the status of African Americans within society to equality with whites, while promoting individuals who were deemed by the lodges the 182 William Alan Muraskin, Middle Class Blacks in a White Society: Prince Hall Freemasonry in America (University of California Press, 1975), 31 32. 183 Ibid., p. 32. 184 Ibid. 185 Ibid., p. 33.
92 best of their race. prestigious, relative ly small fraternity... While the Order has always been relatively exclusive and difficult to enter, this appears to have been more true in the years before community wide interest; over two thousand of the 'best colored people' attended the 186 Because the Prince Hall Masons wanted the highest quality members, they eventually began to play down the mutual aid elements of their association. other fraternities used to attract a membership. They did not want to appear to be competing for adherents, nor to be forced to lower their requirements in order to maintain th 187 As the Prince Hall Masons were, above all, an organizat ion dedicated to the social advancement of its members, a bastion of middle class aspiration and glorification, rather than as a scheme for mere economic and social security. t he formation and maintenance of a black middle class community separate from the st 186 Ibid., p. 40. 187 Ibid., p. 40.
93 guard the inner portals of our Fraternity. See that none enters whose character will not 188 ites for deviate from acceptable bourgeois behavior a test the Masons have felt would leave 189 Muraskin descr ibes the process of whittling down applicants to one simple question membership committees ic 190 Prince Hall Masonry was economically exclusive, demanding fees much like its Blue Lodge counterpart. The constant dues paid by brothers had the purpose of limiting the accessibility of membership. As the 1922 Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Masonry is not intended for the rabble, in order to appreciate it, applicants should pay a rship of the 191 Prince Hall Masonry echoes the Blue Lodge's emphasis on the fundamental belief in the advancement of people with merit. Like the Blue Lodge, Prince Ha ll Masonry practiced exclusionary admissions practices in order to avoid the 188 William Alan Muraskin, Middle Class Blacks in a White Society: Prince Hall Freemasonry in America (University of California Press, 1 975), 43. 189 Ibid., p. 44. 190 Ibid., p. 46. 191 Ibid., p. 47.
94 wh 192 As a parallel association, the Prince Hall Masons match the purpose and practice of the Blue Lodge quite closely, despite having been rejected by that order. Their stringent practices of admission were an attempt to prove that they could match or even improve the dedication of their order to the principles of morality, dignity, brotherhood, and equality. The initial rejection the Prince Hall Masons had faced in their bid to be approved by American Freemasonry was an affirmation th at blacks, even free ones, were by no means equal in American society. They would not be able to exist in the same organization as white Freemasonry, and thus sought to prove that their fraternity was stronger and more selective than its white counterpart. The Prince Hall Masons ended up being a training ground for black associationalism. The fraternal lodges that emerged in the nineteenth century would be created by African Americans who had received an introduction to associational life through Prince Hal l Masonry or its descendants. Despite being rejected by mainstream Masonry, or perhaps because of it, American blacks continued to model their fraternal orders after the ones that had and would continue to scorn them. Improved Elks and Prince Hall Shriner s: Imitation and Backlash Unlike the Prince Hall Masons, which had been founded before the fraternal boom of the midcentury, later African American fraternal orders would be seen as attacks upon the white associational order. The black Elks, who I introdu ced earlier in the chapter, were one such organization, and had to fight in court for their very existence. To win this struggle, the Improved Elks engaged in a process of national organization, as the upport lodges and members facing 192 Ibid., p. 53 54.
95 time, the order was consumed by an internal sectional debate, as the association struggled to decide whether its center should be in Ohio or New York. 193 As the order engaged in an and the reformation arose. Washington persisted and America was set free... Might we not take fresh hope and try on struggles against centralized foes infringing the freedom of their subjects, the struggle of Improved Elks vs. Elks was one aimed at liberalizing the right to organize in a fraternal model. To win this fight, the Elks used two strategies, first distancing themselves from Lodge had passed an internal law forbidding members to wear BPOE pins and formed a committ Elks had had about the Improved Elks, the Improved Elks hoped to cease the litigation their lodges faced. Also, Improved Elks leadership opened lines of communication with t striving, in our weak and humble way, to help better the conditions of our unfortu nate 194 In this period, however, the Improved Elks were playing a double game. tions in the world war but added that such loyalty was even more impressive because it existed 193 Ariane Liazos, "Duty to the Race: African American Fraternal Orders and the Legal Defense of the Right to Organize," Social Science History 28, no. 3 (2004): 504. 194 Ibid., p. 5 08.
96 despite 'the fact that this race of ours has been continually the victim of caste prejudice 195 Such appeals to patriotism would have appealed to t he Elks, who prided themselves on their wartime patriotic contributions. As I wrote in Chapter 2, the First World War was an experience through which the nation's fraternal orders were able to join together and organize on the national stage. An appeal fro m the black Elks based on the war created feelings of good faith with the white Elks. Their participation in the war effort would have indicated that the Improved Elks were a brother fraternal order, invested in the nation's present and future. Meanwhile, moving toward direct political activism, urging members to vote, endorsing specific 196 Scott and the Improved Elks tried to present themselves as unassumi ng and nonthreatening to the white order, but still worked to improve the lives of African Americans nonetheless. all state and local lodges to end their litigation, and a lthough a few persisted, they did so 197 The Improved Elks managed to solve their legal problems and win the right to exist as an organization. The order d moderate use of alcohol, and emphasis on educational programs, community service, and agitation for black civil 198 The Improved 195 Ibid. 196 Ibid. 197 Ibid. p. 509. 198 The Origins and Development of
97 Elks were thus successful as an organization of mutual aid, sociability, and societal advancement, albeit one less selective and exclusionary than the Prince Hall Masons. The Elks, however, still maintained their rejection of the black Elk lodges. In order to survive, the Improved Elks were forced to distance themselves as much as possible from the original Elks. The legal ordeal, lasting over a decade, proved that the legal system was hostile to the existence of the black El ks. Racially motivated laws were passed not only to ensure that the black Elks were distinct from the original order, but also to discourage their existence. In the end, Improved Elk leaders were forced to kowtow to white Elks and downplay their mission of racial advancement to gain the right to continue to exist. The Shriners, notable as an extremely popular Masonic auxiliary, one that even challenged the primacy of the Blue Lodge, were also emulated as a parallel fraternal federation by the African Ameri can community. During the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, a American Prince Hall Masons met in Apollo Hall on State Street to launch their own Shrine order, called the Anci ent Egyptian Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shriners faced a trying legal battle against the original white association. In defending their right to organize, the black Shriners saw themselves as protecting black Masonry in forms of black Masonry and simply started with the Shriners as the smallest branch, with only 3,000 members by the mid 199 To the black Shriners, it seemed like one of Social Science History. 2004;28(3):389. 199 Ariane Liazos, "Duty to the Race: African American Fraternal Orders and the Legal Defense of the
98 the largest Masonic auxiliaries was attempting to bury the smallest Prince Hall association, and did so in 1914, with the white Yaaran Temple successfully suing against the black Rab ban Temple in Atlanta, Georgia. The struggle against the white Shriners the Shriners did not have state level organizations, with only a national Imperial Council bind ing local temples together. This national body assumed a leading role in the defense organization was at stake, quickly moved to raise funds and retain legal counsel to defe nd unanimously voted to empower the Imperial Council to finance an appeal for the Rabban 200 People on both sides of the lawsuit saw the case as an opportunity to set a precedent that would determine the future of the black Shriners organization, either destroying it and other Prince Hall groups forever or guaranteeing their legitimacy in the face of their opposition. The early losses of the Prince Hall Shriners in spired a celebratory mood amongst the white Shriners. A 1916 article in the Crescent the official Shriner publication, entitled the tension amongst the white Shriners over t Shrine, throughout the entire jurisdiction have been anxiously watching the results of the Right to Organize," Social Science History 28, no. 3 (2004): 509. 200 Ibid., p.510.
99 in the Union [could] now proceed th e same way by court proceedings to stamp out the 201 Imperial Council of the white Shriners focused much attention on broadening the legal attack on their black counterp art... they began another wave of litigation that spread to 1919 to 1922, defeating the black Shriners was a topic of discussion at every national convention. They form While the white Shriners' objections to Prince Hall associations was carefully described as an aversion 202 Like the Elks before them, the Shriners sought to use the legal system to their advantage, not only maintaining the separation of Prince Hall Shriners, but trying to ensure that the black order would cease to exist. The Shriners would not accept black brothers in their fraternity, and they would not allow the ir brand to be associated in any way with African Americans. In 1929, the African American Shriners managed to bring their case to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Prince Hall Shriners tried to portray the injunctions against their shrines as being racially mo tivated and hence violations of their Fourteenth Amendment rights. They attempted to use the successful precedent of the 1912 case that gave the African American Knights of Pythias the right to exist as a parallel order. They tried to 201 Ibid., p. 511. 202 Ibid.
100 use a legal argument confusi ng the two organizations and denied that the whites had an exclusive right to the name, asserting that it was widely known and accepted that there were separate black and Sh t intent' on the part of the African American Shriners, agreeing that both organizations 203 In other words, as long as the Prince Hall Shriners intended only to recruit African American members, they were protected from litigation by the association they emulated. The Supreme Court had form. The Court maintained the legal separation between the races; bla cks and whites would not be brothers when it came to voluntary associations. African Americans would have the right to emulate white fraternal organizations, but not to join them. Distinctive Associations: Moral Missions and Racial Advancement While many African American fraternal associations paralleled white groups in name and ritual, many others were distinctive, not being modeled after any white group. peculiarly Afr ican American groups also used regular membership dues to fund funeral benefits and perhaps sickness payments. The 203 Ibid., p. 513.
101 distinctive orders seem to have been even more likely than the major parallel fraternal orders to pool member resources to create cooperative businesses and sustain orphanages, 204 These orders, usually having biblical inspired state, and finally expanded across state bou ndaries to become transregional endeavors of the largest such organizations was the Independent Order of Good Samaritans and York City in 1847 as a gender integrated unfo rtunate and distressed families of those who pledge themselves to abstain from all an, dominated by whites and African Americans met in separate local and state lodges. 205 The that they repudiated extreme racism. Nevertheless, in practice, the lodges were segregated, and 206 As a Christian organization based around a moralistic concept, it would have seemed hypocritical for the Order of 204 y: The Origins and Development of Social Science History 2004;28(3):391 392. 205 Ibid., p. 392 393. 206 Anne S. Butler, "Black Fraternal and Benevolent Societies in Nineteenth Century America," in African American Fr aternities and Sororities: The Legacy and the Vision ed. Tamara L. Brown et al. (2012), 91.
102 Good Samaritans to be racially segregated. By the 1870s, however, whites had retreated from the organization, leaving it as an exclusively black society. The Order of Good Samaritans was quite similar to women's temperance organizations in form and function. Like them, it was based on religious principle, but it also extended its religiosity to its admission practices. The Order of Good Samaritans fits firmly in the mold of nineteenth century active participants in the grand sessions, although they did not fill the top leadership positions. They planned and participated in all public events, such as an annual parade, fund raisers, and religious programs, and mentored and sponsored the juvenile and lodges built cemeteries and offered old society of teetotalers, the Governing documents for this order include a table of fines for adultery, intoxication, refusing or neglec ting to attend a funeral, refusing or neglecting to sit up with sick or diseased members, failing to attend meetings, failing to vote, and using the words Miss Madam or Sir commitment to the o rganization's ideals. 207 As a morally based association, one that accepted both male and female members, the Good Samaritans did not have the leisure appeal of fraternal organizations, but instead worked to promote a cause of moral reform. Originating in the moral crusades that fought against slavery, the Order of Good Samaritans combined a utopian world view with the practical work of assisting in the 207 Ibid., p. 92.
103 daily lives of free African Americans. Another distinctive African American fraternal organization that und erwent a substantial transformation in its early years was the Mosaic Templars of America. Founded in 1882 in Little Rock, Arkansas, the Mosaic Templars was created by former and associations, the order's name was biblical in origin, drawing from the story of Moses, or the children of Israel. Thus, strong emphasis was placed on love, charity, moral development, placed them in separate branches, even featuring a women's auxiliary called the Court of Calanthe. 208 In the years following the Civil War, the Mosaic Templars featured many Reconstruction style programs for former slaves, such as a national building and loan s. Other programs included an endowment, a hospital, a burial and monument division, and a nk Department was added for the purpose of training youth both boys and girls military 209 Like other distinctive associations, the Mosaics were more likely to offer social programs as an enticement for membership, not worrying that their me ssage would be diminished by material incentives. In fact, the material incentives, being in part a charitable work operated by an organization aimed at assisting former slaves, were the 208 Ibid. 209 Ibid., p. 93.
104 association's very purpose. Unlike fraternal orders which obscured th eir mutual aid benefits by emphasizing sociability, the Mosaics did not fear the admission of members driven by material want. As an organization focused around morality and charity, they encouraged it. Despite their uniqueness, perhaps because of it, dis tinctive African American most part attain the same size or institutional solidity as the largest and most prestigious rent social cache, parallel associations had overshadowed within internal associational rhetoric by fraternal imagery, was nonetheless a draw for new members. This trend was expressed well by a 1910 advertisement for the and Most Successful Negr 210 On the other hand, distinctive African chronicler of the United Brothers of Friendship and Sisters of the Mysterious Ten put it, e badge of distinction, and therefore are not elbowing our way into for distinctive associations was couched in the language of African American advancement. For instan ce, in listing reasons that people should join the International Order of Twelve and Knights and Daughters of Tabor, an advertisement said that Tabor 210 African American Frate Social Science History 2004;28(3):401.
105 aces the character of ancient black people, and is amazingly rich, Americans were as adept as whites at organizing and advancing their agenda through the language and o rganization of fraternal associationalism. 211 Black associations provided necessary support to African Americans who had to overcome centuries of slavery and segregation. They offered support and sociability, attempting to advance the morality and class stat us of their members. The division between black and white associations mirrored the racial divides of their era, yet African American fraternal orders were an attempt to shatter the very inequalities that spawned them. Conclusion The associational experie nces of women and African Americans during the golden age of American fraternalism demonstrates the exclusiveness of an organizational model based around the fostering and empowering of a single white male bourgeois identity. Even though, and perhaps becau se, associations such as the Masons, Elks, and Shriners were remarkable ways for middle class whites to achieve social mobility, they rejected the full membership and influence of non white male individuals. Whether they were corralled into a moralizing au xiliary or spurned as a whole, women and African Americans nonetheless tended to establish their own means of fraternal organization, albeit with a unique spin. Women used their cultural authority in matters of morality to establish organizations of their own, ones aiming to reform the world around them. In response to the moral threat presented by women and religio political orders, and the opposition they had presented to fraternalism and Freemasonry in particular, women were allowed into associations thr ough auxiliaries, albeit in a limited role. The entry of women 211 Ibid., p. 401 402.
106 into associational life fused the gender politics of fraternal orders with the dynamics of domesticity that had previously challenged their moral legitimacy. In such associations, women had the ir status as wives and mothers extend outside the home, applied to an order previously comprised only by brothers. Meanwhile, black associations, whether they paralleled white fraternal orders or were entirely distinctive, were dedicated to the advancement of African Americans in the country that consistently denied them the right to join traditional associations and stymied their ability to form new ones. Even when institutions such as the United States Supreme Court granted black associations legal protec tion, it was under the assumption that the order would remain separate but equal from their white counterparts. When black associations rapidly increased in size and number in the mid to late nineteenth century, it was against the backdrop of abolitionism, the Civil War, and the freeing of slaves into a society that did not intend to make integration easy. The associational model that had proved so powerful in white society as an institution of leisure, business, and mutual aid thus was established by the b lack community as an organizational technique that would hopefully reform society and provide African Americans the necessary assistance to ease the transition. The experiences of women and African Americans prove that voluntary associations were a powerfu l method of advancement as well as discrimination. The same formula was used to advance the cause of the oppressed as well as to suppress them further.
107 Conclusion : The Decline of the Fraternal Family A 1948 article about the first half century of the Fra ternal Order of Eagles drew a Eagles are American democracy. They seek no par 212 The Eagles saw themselves as not only a phenomenon that could only exist in an American style democracy, but rather the manifestation of the nation's highest ideals and its grandest possibilities. Fraternal associations remained a vit al and vibrant part of American civic life for decades after the First World War. Through the Progressive Era, Prohibition, the New Deal, and a Second World War, fraternal orders functioned as outgrowths and facilitators of American democracy and sociabili ty. Certainly, associations saw themselves as expressions of the nation's most cherished principles. Such demonstrations of American exceptionalism were not unique to the Fraternal Order of Eagles, yet another lodge based fraternity founded by theater pro fessionals in search of leisure and mutual aid. The order was created in 1898 Seattle by six competing theater owners who met to discuss a musicians' strike. In response to the threat of lower class solidarity, they decided to end their rivalry and form an organization called the 213 Within a few weeks of i ts founding, the members of this order, which tended to meet on various local theater stages, rebranded their 212 Theda Skocpol, Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life (University of Oklahoma Press, 2004), 99. 213 The Phoenixmasonry Masonic Museum and Library, "Fraternal Order of Eagles." Accessed April 28, 2013. http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/masonicmuseum/fraternalism/eagles.htm.
108 organization with the most patriotic trappings possible, adopting the Bald Eagle as their mascot and namesake. They quickly became an order with t fraternally for mutual benefit, protection, improvement, social enjoyment and association, all persons of good moral character who believe in a Supreme Being to inculcate the 214 The Eagles grew more quickly than the other fraternal orders I have studied, having founded within ten years 1,800 lodges and gaining 350,000 members. 215 The organization's growth was aided by the ubiquitous nature of associationalism after the turn of the c entury. The Eagles had many prominent members, including seven United States Presidents, as well as prominent sports and entertainment figures. They claim to have had a significant impact on political and social life, inspiring Social Security Laws through their mutual aid functions. 216 The Fraternal Order of Eagles emerged later than many of its fraternal competitors, but it incorporates their core tenets mutual aid, the search for leisure, and a fusion of morality, charity, and patriotism that dovetail in to an exceptionalist discourse. The world of American associational fraternalism that spawned the Elks, Shriners, and Eagles did not last. By the 1960s, the communal ideals that had spawned so many fraternities had been significantly altered, even deemed archaic. These associations had been defined by their exclusivity, especially when it came to African Americans and new racial and gender ideals took hold in American publ ic life and as more and more 217 In a country that would increasingly see 214 Ibid. 215 Ibid. 216 Ibid. 217 Theda Skocpol, Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life
109 segregation and inequality as counter to its ideals, organizations that had discrimination built into their procedures would be rejected. Fraternal orders that were defined by white Christian manhood would be outmoded. If a large part of the appeal of fraternal associations had been the opportunity to rub elbows with the civic and business leaders of one's community, an order accepting only white men would dismiss the possibility of engaging with the increasing numbers of women and African Americans who were engaging in civic and professional life. As the 1960s gave way to a heady atmosphere of national reform, traditional voluntary associations lost legitimacy as a way to achieve social change. National movements, with operatives spread across the country, gave way to centralized organization, headquartered in Washington D.C. As the process of achieving national influence became more complex, it becam e ever more crucial to be close to the action. institutional niches through which to attempt influence... For all sides on every issue, there were heightened incentives to be right there in the national capital with an expert 218 Whereas before a federalist structure mirroring the national government itself had been the most effective means of gaining public support, with grassroots campaigns aimed at the mul tiple levels of society and government, the growth of national media and interest group politics in the nation's capital marginalized the localities that had been crucial to American governance decades earlier. The nation's fraternal orders had benefited f rom the growth of the federal state after the Civil War, but as the trend of increased nationalization continued, the diffuse model of federalized (Unive rsity of Oklahoma Press, 2004), 180. 218 Theda Skocpol, Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life (University of Oklahoma Press, 2004), 201.
110 associationalism proved increasingly ineffective as the twentieth century wore on. America's fraternal order s had been led and maintained by local elites in communities across the country, presiding over cross class organizations. In each locality, fraternal associations were led by professionals and businesspeople who considered themselves to be trustees of the personal ties to regions, states, and localities... Notables did have to commence their civic careers through local involvements with many other citizens and then work their way 219 In the second half of the twentieth century, this sense of rootedness eroded from the country's leading classes. They no longer saw themselves as products of and for their national or local w ell being by working with other specialists to tackle complex technical 220 With this change, traditional fraternal orders would be less attractive to professionals, who would be less inclined to participation in cross class organizations with a local community basis. Among this group, fraternal orders have been replaced by professional associations. Today, for instance, organizations such as the American Medical Association are much more appealing to a doctor than the Masons or Elks. The mutual aid benefits granted by the old fraternal orders are less of a draw to the wealthy than the professional mutual aid offered by professional associations. While fraternal associations, for a variety of reasons, were increasingly outmoded by changes in politics, culture, and society, fraternalism itself, the organizational ethos imported from Enlightenment Europe, diminished also as a membership principle. Fraternalism, which had its origins in cross class artisan societies, was challenged by 219 Ibid., p. 213. 220 Ibid., p. 214.
111 service clubs, which, like professional societies, was limited to proprietors and professionals. Service Club Federations, such as Rotary, Kiwanis, and Lions, were founded in the early 1900s and became commonplace by the 1920s. The creation of not lead to a wholesale exodus of businessmen from fraternal orders, but it did offer a new and prestigious rival for their energy, commitment, and leadership 221 One could be a member of both types of organization, but many business leaders found tendency for small proprietors to distance themselves symbolically from wage 222 The class stratification of the service club replaced the all important mutuality of the fraterna l order. Service of one's community evolved from a sense of brotherhood and shared responsibility to a personal project, exemplified by the Rotary 223 Service club ideologies brought self interest to the forefront, i nfusing it with community and charity to create a new sort of order that discarded the self important trappings of grandiose fictive kinship. In the service club, members were not family they were partners in business and serving their communities. By di scarding the trappings of family that had been so pivotal to fraternal orders, service clubs removed the tension with domesticity that the traditional fraternal orders had to deal with. As the ideal of a companionate marriage rather than a domestic contrac t was increasingly adopted by society, the fraternal order's promise of a home away from home began to seem unattractive to prospective members. Service clubs, even as male only organizations, presented less of a challenge to married life. Rather than hold ing late 221 Mary Ann Clawson, C onstructing Brotherhood: Cla ss, Gender, and Fraternalism (Princeton University Press. 1989), 261. 222 Ibid., p. 262. 223 Ibid.
112 night meetings filled with drinking and revelry, service clubs tended to hold events during expected to be separate, the service club respected the evening as a t ime for marriage and 224 This concession to the family was nonetheless further indication of the upper class nature of service clubs, as lower class workers could not afford to take an hour for lunch to participate in these activities. Fraternal orde rs lost their appeal as family came to be seen less as a burden and more as a privilege. They tried to replace family life while service clubs made a conscious effort to augment it. By examining the ways in which traditional fraternal associations declin ed in power and prominence in the twentieth century, I hope to emphasize the attractiveness they had presented to earlier generations of ambitious men who aspired to a cross class vision of national brotherhood. Fraternal orders were exemplary of the post Civil War interplay between government and a society undergoing an extreme evolution in class, technology, and social relations. They allowed generations of men to gather, socialize, and pursue advancement in society, infusing their daily lives with a sens e of grand importance. Fraternal orders show the man of the turn of the century at his best and worst, gathering in large numbers for patriotic and charitable projects and supporting members of his fictive kin while also demonstrating racism and disdain fo r women. Fraternal associations enhanced the nation's democratic potential, involving a huge number of men in the politics and society of their communities, providing a springboard for the sociability that was required for national service. Meanwhile, they were also reflective of the profound changes that the country underwent in this period, with class 224 Mary Ann Clawson, C onstructing Brotherhood: Class, Gender, and Fraternalism (Princeton University Press. 1989), 262.
113 lines being drawn and calcified, and a national government beginning to increasingly reach into the lives of its civilians. Fraternal orders each offered th eir members a utopian vision of the world, seemingly granting the opportunity for entrance into a brotherhood stronger than actual family, with concrete benefits and a chance at moral superiority. At the same time, a fraternal brother was guaranteed opport unities for fun and sociability. Fraternities in the golden age of associational membership offered something for every man who wished to join. Organizations such as the Masons, Elks, Shriners, and Odd Fellows were suited to the era that spawned them filli ng the familial, social, and patriotic needs of generations. Even though they still exist today, they do so in a severely diminished form, seen by many as humorous and exotic throwbacks to an earlier time. Fraternal associations were truly the archetypical organization of their period, characterizing the triumphs and tragedies of a complex era.
114 Bibliography Anne S. Butler, "Black Fraternal and Benevolent Societies in Nineteenth Century America," in African American Fraternities and Sororities: The Legacy a nd the Vision ed. Tamara L. Brown et al. (2012) Clawson, Mary Ann. Constructing Brotherhood: Class, Gender, and Fraternalism (Princeton University Press. 1989) Mary Ann Clawson, "Nineteenth Century Women's Auxiliaries and Fraternal Orders," Signs 12, no 1 (1986), 40 61. Cott, Nancy. No Small Courage: A History of Women in the United States (Oxford University Press, 2004). Doyle, Don H. "The Social Functions of Voluntary Associations in a Nineteenth Century American Town," Social Science History 1, n o. 2 (1977): 333 355. Dumenil, Lynn. Freemasonry and American Culture, 1880 1930 (Princeton University Press, 1984). Charles Edward Ellis, An Authentic History of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (Chicago, the author, 1910). Harland Jacobs, Je ssica L. Builders of Empire: Freemasons and British Imperialism, 1717 1927 (The University of North Carolina Press, 2007). Liazos, Ariane. "Duty to the Race: African American Fraternal Orders and the Legal Defense of the Right to Organize," Social Science History 28, no. 3 (2004), 485 534. Jacob, Margaret. The Origins of Freemasonry: Facts and Fictions (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007).
115 Mullendore, William Clinton. History of the United States Food Administration, 1917 1919 (S tanford University Press, 1941). Muncy, Robyn. Creating a Female Dominion in American Reform, 1890 1935 (Oxford University Press, 1994). Muraskin, William Alan. Middle Class Blacks in a White Society: Prince Hall Freemasonry in America (Univer sity of California Press, 1975 ). Nicholson, James R. History of the Order of Elks, 1868 1952 (National Memorial and Publication Commission of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, 1953) Order of the Eastern Star General Grand Chapter Ritual of the Order of the Eastern Star ( Chicago: 1919). Proceedings of the Grand Commandery, Knights Templar and Appendant Orders of the District of Columbia Volumes 23 28, (1918). Putnam, Robert D. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community (Touchstone Books, 2001). Schlesi nger, Arthur M. "Biography of a Nation of Joiners," The American Historical Review 50, no. 1 (1944): 1 25. Sheingate, Adam D. The Rise of the Agricultural Welfare State: Institutions and Interest Group Power in the United States, France, and Japan (Princ eton University Press, 2000). Smith Rosenburg, Caroll. Disorderly Conduct: Visions of Gender in Victorian America (Oxford University Press, 1986). Skocpol, Theda. Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in
116 American Civic Life (Unive rsity of O klahoma Press, 2004). Social Science History, 28, no. 3. (2004), 367 437. Skocpol, Theda et al., "Patriotic Partne rships: Why Great Wars Nourished American Civic Voluntarism," in Shaped by War and Trade ed. Ira Katznelson and Martin Shefter (Princeton University Press, 2002) Stillson, Henry Leonard. The Official History and Literature of Odd Fellowship: the Three Lin k Fraternity (Frater nity Publishing Company, 1897). de Tocqueville, Alexis. trans. Henry Reeve, Democracy in America (University of Chicago Press, 1835 ). Tyrrell, Ian. "Women and Temperance in Antebellum America, 1830 1860," Civil War History 28, no. 2 (1982). 128 152. Van Deventer, Fred. Parade to Glory: The Shriners and their Caravan to Destiny (Pyramid Books, 1959).