During the past three hundred years, those who've opposed Freemasonry have been both small in number and stature. The one exception was the sixth President of the United States, John Quincy Adams. Writers have speculated on the reasons for this but since Mr. Adams has been dead for over 150 years, answers from him will never be forthcoming. (We'd also take the liberty of editorializing by stating that one prominent person in 300 years isn't too bad a record for such a large organization. That notwithstanding....)
Described by historians as a man of "cold and forbidding manners", Adams was caught in the political intrigue of the dying Federalist party, coupled with the unrest in the country as westward expansion occurred and many towns in the East were deserted. He, like other politicians of the time, found the "Morgan Affair" a convenient straw man. This resulted in his public and zealous anti-Masonic activity. Ostensibly, his 'letters' (published as a book) were to provide the politicians of the time with arguments that could further exploit the earlier fervor and political unrest.
As Secretary of State (1817-1825), Adams helped to formulate the Monroe Doctrine and after his presidency he served in the House of Representatives where he advocated antislavery measures. (For those who view history through current movie interpretations, we'd also note that the movie Amistad is far from reality!).
A political history professor at the University of Virginia commented "Yet Adams, after his own blighted Presidential tenure, showed himself to be a belated but adept convert to political populism, jumping into the muckiest popular campaign of his day -- anti-Masonry."
Students of history will also know that John Qunicy Adams was elected the 6th President of the United States by the House of Representatives where a group of votes was held by Henry Clay who selected Adams over Andrew Jackson. (Clay was - interestingly - thereafter named Secretary of State!)
When the next election occurred, Jackson - a Mason who had nearly deprived him of the Presidency entirely - won, thus limiting Adams to one term. It was a defeat he did not appreciate!
Suffice it to say, we give President Adams the same right to his opinion that all persons should have. At a time when the United States was undergoing tremendous 'growing pains', we accept the fact that one person did not feel comfortable supporting the friendship, brotherhood, and fraternity which has marked Masonry in all ages. It is clear that he felt embittered and excluded from the organization but the true reasons for those feelings are now lost in the mists of time.
Some anti-Masons have tried to claim that John Adams was also against Masonry; there is no evidence whatsoever to support that contention.
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