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Freemasonry In America
The U.S.A. has the largest contingent of Freemasons in the world, almost two million, in 15,000 lodges. The popularity of the Masonic movement is mainly due to its charitable and community actions. There has always been a strong tradition of solidarity in America, which is a heritage of its pioneer past.
The specificity of American Freemasonry is in fact this strong bias and involvement in community work, at all levels. At least fourteen of the past forty-five Presidents of the United States were Master Masons, as were several of the Founding Fathers. For many Masons, helping the community to reduce inequality and promote social welfare is more important than working on oneself in order to progress spiritually, so the esoteric aspects of Freemasonry are played down. For all that, the “regular” Grand Lodge tradition imported from England insists on both aspects, and, as in Great Britain, separates specific ritualistic Lodge meetings where Masonic progression is treated and only male Freemasons are admitted, from the charity projects in which non-Mason partners and family can participate. Another typically American specificity is that the progression from Initiation to Master Mason is very rapid, only two or three months in some cases.
There is however also a historical reason for the importance given to charity work.
Freemasonry had become a very important movement in America, until something stopped its progression at the beginning of the 19th century. In 1826-27, a huge scandal totally ruined the good reputation of Freemasonry. The result was that the movement had to choose between two options: disappearing completely or becoming a charity organisation. The choice of survival as a predominantly charity movement gradually led it to reduce the spiritual side of Freemasonry.
 Masonic Service Association of North America: Statistical Study of 2005. The federal structure of American government has led to each state having its own Grand Lodge.
 For details, see C.Hodapp: Freemasons for Dummies, 2nd 2dition, Wiley, p.279 - 281