United States Presidents who were Freemasons

George Washington
James Monroe
Andrew Jackson
James Polk
James Buchanan
Andrew Johnson
James Garfield
William McKinley
Theodore Roosevelt
Howard Taft
Warren Harding
Franklin Roosevelt
Harry Truman
Gerald Ford

Abraham Lincoln was not a Freemason. He did apply for membership in Tyrian Lodge, Springfield, Ill., shortly after his nomination for the presidency in 1860 but withdrew the application because he felt that his applying for membership at that time might be construed as a political ruse to obtain votes. He advised the lodge that he would resubmit his application again when he returned from the presidency.

Lincoln never returned. On the death of the president, Tyrian Lodge adopted, on April 17, 1865, a resolution to say "that the decision of President Lincoln to postpone his application for the honours of Freemasonry, lest his motives be misconstrued, is the highest degree honorable to his memory."

Lyndon Johnson received his first degree on October 30, 1937. After receiving the degree he found that his congressional duties (elected in 1937) took so much time he was unable to pursue the masonic degrees.

Ronald Reagan has often been referred to as a Freemason. President Reagan is not a Freemason although he is an honorary member of the Imperial Council of the Shrine. President Reagan has on numerous occasions been involved in Shrine and masonic functions throughout his career.

The confusion as to his membership arises from a ceremony held in the Oval Office of the White House on February 11th, 1988, when a group of Freemasons presented President Reagan with a certificate of honor from the Grand Lodge of Washington, D.C., then he was made an Honourary Scottish Rite mason. The title of Freemason can only be conferred by a Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. In Reagan's case this was not done, probably because the ceremonies would have taken a full day to confer and the president's time was limited; therefore,President Reagan should only be referred to as a Shriner or Scottish Rite mason. The Shrine and Scottish Rite are concordant bodies and cannot confer the title Freemason on any person.

George Bush has also on numerous occasions been referred to as a Freemason.The confusion as to President Bush being a member arises from the swearing in ceremonies at his inauguration. President Bush took his oath of office on the George Washington Bible which belongs to St. Johns Lodge in New York City. Because the Bible belonged to a Masonic Lodge many writers assumed he was a Freemason. The Bible was used at the request of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies

This Bible was first used on April 30, 1789, by the Grand Master of the Masons in New York, to administer the oath of office to George Washington, the first president. Other presidents who took their oath of office with this Bible are Warren G. Harding, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Jimmy Carter.