America and Freemasonry are inexorably linked, and for good reason. Many of the founding fathers were Freemasons, as were others that shaped the country over the centuries. There is virtually no aspect of American culture, from history to politics to comedy and even to the space program, which is untouched by masons.
The Freemasons have a legendary hand in the founding of the country, with illustrious members such as George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. But, there are many other figures who figured prominently in both U.S. history and Freemasonry. Daniel Boone, pioneer and domestic explorer was a mason, as were both William Clark and Meriwether Clark, of Lewis and Clark fame. Paul Revere, the famous rider who warned of the British arrival, was a mason. Many U.S. presidents in addition to Washington were also Freemasons, such as Andrew Jackson, James Garfield, Hubert Humphrey, James Monroe, William McKinley, Harry S Truman, William Taft, James K. Polk and both Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt.
The space program has also seen its share of Freemasons, including astronauts Gus Grissom, killed in an accidental explosion, James B. Irwin, member of a moon mission, and Edgar Mitchell who flew in one of the Apollo missions. Also members of the Freemasons were Buzz Aldrin, the second person on the moon and John Glenn, the first American to fly in orbit around the Earth.
America has also been shaped in other ways by masons, including the carving of Mount Rushmore by Gutzon and Lincoln Borglum, who were father and son Freemasons. The richest person in America was once a mason- John Jacob Astor, the famous titan of industry, was the Master and Grand Treasurer of his lodge. The man who wrote the Pledge of Allegiance, Francis Bellamy, and the most famous head of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, were both masons. Politician members include William Douglas, member of the Supreme Court, Barry Goldwater, senator and presidential candidate, George Wallace, governor and presidential candidate and Sam Houston, senator and governor of Texas.
The American entertainment world has also been touched by the Freemasons. Some of the most enduring early movie and television stars were masons, including Gene Autry, Mel Blanc, Bud Abbott (of Abbott and Costello), Douglas Fairbanks, Clark Gable, Oliver Hardy and Danny Thomas. Harry Houdini, known for the mystery surrounding his performances of illusion was also a member of the organization shrouded in mystery, eventually becoming a Shriner. The many members of Freemasons who are involved in American politics and entertainment continue to this day, and will perhaps continue as long as America and the Freemasons endure.