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The Case for the Masonic Dollar Bill

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posted on Jan, 14 2008 @ 11:13 PM
The subject has been discussed numerous times here on ATS. In most of these threads, I found that Masons always stuck to the conclusion that there is nothing Masonic about the Great Seal of the United States. If you could indulge a Cowan for a little while, I believe I might be able to make an argument that might throw some doubts on the no-Masonic influence theory.

The article most often cited by the proponents of the No-Masonic theory was written by Masonic Author of The Complete Idiots Guide to Freemasonry, Dr. S. Brent Morris. The article was distributed in the Short Talk Bulletin published by the Masonic Service Association of the United States.

Entitled, The Eye in the Pyramid, the article's main point (his thesis) is:

The Great Seal of the United States is not a Masonic emblem, nor does it contain hidden Masonic symbols.
(emphasis mine)

He then makes the following claims, which I will address one by one.

Claim #1:

Benjamin Franklin was the only Mason on the first design committee, and his suggestions had no Masonic content.

They were four members of the original committee, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams, and artist and consultant Pierre Du Simitiere.

Benjamin Franklin was a mason, this is uncontested. Although, I'd like to point out that Mr. Morris does not give us a source for his "his suggestions had no Masonic content." claim. (Hieronimus?)

For a long time, Thomas Jefferson, was thought to be a mason, however in 1960, Brother William R. Denslow, Masonic scholar and editor of the Transactions of the Missouri Lodge of Research cast doubt on Jefferson's membership. He concluded that "all claims for his membership [Jefferson] are based on association or insinuation, with no proof by records."

James W. Beless, 33° article in an article published in the Scottish Journal writes:

Jefferson may not have been a card-carrying Mason, but his philosophy and actions certainly paralleled Masonic ideals and practices.

The article continues and looks at some of Denslow's finding:

Brother Denslow showed that Jefferson was reported by Dr. Joseph Guillotin to have attended meetings of the Lodge of Nine Muses in Paris; that he had marched in a Masonic procession with Widow’s Son Lodge No. 60 and Charlottesville Lodge No. 90 on October 6, 1817, at the cornerstone laying of Central College (now the University of Virginia); that the Grand Lodges of South Carolina and Louisiana held funeral orations and processions for him following his death on July 4, 1826; and that a Blue Lodge at Surry Court House, Virginia, was named Jefferson Lodge No. 65 in 1801.

John Adams, although never a Mason attended Lodge meetings of The Nine Sisters.

In 1778, the year Voltaire became an honorary member, Benjamin Franklin and John Paul Jones also were accepted. Benjamin Franklin became Master of the Lodge in 1779, and was re-elected in 1780. When Franklin, after a long and influential stay in Europe, returned to America— to participate in the writing of the Constitution— his place as American Envoy was taken by Thomas Jefferson, the author of the United States Declaration of Independence, accompanied by his friend John Adams.

Franklin was a mason and we can also see that Jefferson and Adams were sympathetic to the Masonic cause, so it's possible that all three man thought very highly of Masonry symbolism, being aware of this symbolism its highly likely that they would've used their knowledge in attempting to design the Great Seal. To claim that they would never consider using Masonic symbols because they weren’t Masons themselves is ludicrous, or at least misleading.

Claim #2:

None of the final designers of the seal were Masons.

This is irrelevant since the eye in the triangle is clearly seen in the First committee's design in 1776. The design of the eye in the triangle, obviously, made it onto the final design. Masonic authors often counter that Franklin wasn’t on the final design committee and commit a great deal of their papers describing the Second and Third committee, despite the All-Seeing Eye in the triangle remaining in the design.

Portrait artist Du Simitiere’s design for Franklin, Adams, and Jefferson suggested shield, Eye of Providence in radiant triangle, and motto, E Pluribus Unum, all used in final design. Drawn from original in Thomas Jefferson papers.

PDF: The Great Seal of the United States
U.S. Department of State Bureau of Public Affairs

Claim #3:

The interpretation of the eye on the seal is subtly different from the interpretation used by Masons.

How subtle? Very subtle. He later describes the different nuances...

The eye on the seal represents an active intervention of God in the affairs of men, while the Masonic symbol stands for a passive awareness by God of the activities of men.

Claim #4:

The eye in the pyramid is not nor has it ever been a Masonic symbol.

The All-Seeing Eye and the triangle are both Masonic symbols. They are also used one in the other, as you can see in in this illustration

The pyramid itself also has some Masonic symbolism…

The Triangle and Square together form the Pyramid (Figure 3), as seen l in the Entered Apprentice's Apron. In this combination the Pyramid is the metaphor for units of matter and force, as well as the oneness of man and God. The numbers 3, 5, 7, 9, have their places in the parts and points of the Square and Triangle when in pyramidal form, and imply Perfection (see Pointed Cubical Stone and Broached Thurnel).

Claim #5:

The first "official" use and definition of the all-seeing eye as a Masonic symbol seems to have come in 1797 with The Freemasons Monitor of Thomas Smith Webb -- 14 years after Congress adopted the design for the seal.

Tracing boards, or floor-cloths are inscribed with Masonic symbols and are used by a Master Mason to instruct a new initiates.

W.Bro. Ray Robinson Mullewa of Australia made the following Tracing Boards available to

Two of them struck me as particular:

with the caption: Ancient Tb, Germany 1770

6 years before the creation of the seal!


with the caption: Coll.Biblioteche Nat.Française (Collection of the French National Library)

Remember that Franklin was Grand Master of the Lodge Les Neuf Sœurs from 1779 until 1781, so he was familiar with The French Lodges’ symbolism.

Also notice the number "8" on top of the Eye in the triangle, this indicates that there was a lecture accompanying the symbol. Thus, it was already an important symbol in French/German Lodges.

I've also notices that Dr. Robert Hieronimus seems to be the major source for Mr. Morris’ article. Founding Fathers, Secret Societies: is definitely on my “too buy” list, however I couldn’t help but noticed that one of his other books is How to Pick Your Personal Lottery Numbers !!

Is this guy legit?

[edit on 15/1/08 by ConspiracyNut23]

posted on Jan, 14 2008 @ 11:15 PM
Masons in support of the Masonic Influence Theory

In New Age Magazine, now called the Scottish Rite Journal.

1960 article

The February 1971 edition of The New Age Magazine has an article about the Great Seal of America, titled The Great Seal of the United States, by Elmer W. Claypool, 32°. You can read it here:

Also, Great Seal, Masonic in nature, from Masonry in Texas, Background, History and Influence to 1846 by James D. Carter, 33°:

On the reserve, is the All-Seeing Eye within a triangle surrounded by a golden glory. Besides the obvious Masonic significance of this design, it has a cabalistic value of seventy plus three plus two hundred, equaling two hundred and seventy-three which is the value of the phrase ehben mosu habonim (the stone which the builders refused) familiar to all Royal Arch Masons.


Strangely,, which I normally find quite useful, retells Mr. Morris' conclusion and ads:

A PYRAMID is NOT the same thing as a TRIANGLE!

Which I find a bit confusing!
Why is he focusing on the "eye in the pyramid"? Is he deliberately setting up a strawman argument? I mean look at it! It's an eye encompassed by a triangle on top of a pyramid. Why expand energy claiming that the “eye in the pyramid” isn’t a Masonic symbol, when the Seal clearly shows an “Eye in a Triangle”?

In conclusion, I hope that Masons and non-Masons alike will find that Dr. S. Brent Morris’s conclusions regarding the Dollar Bill are erroneous, or at least disagree with the assertion that he has "set the record straight". IMO, there are definite Masonic influence to the dollar bill. (incidentally mythologist, Joseph Campbell agrees with me in his book, Power of Myth.)

If there are better Masonic essays describing why the Eye on the dollar bill isn’t Masonic, I would appreciate if someone would point me into the right direction.

[edit on 15/1/08 by ConspiracyNut23]

posted on Jan, 14 2008 @ 11:28 PM
Excellent and very comprehensive post Conspiracynut. I have always though that there were Masonic influences on the one dollar bill's reverse, but this is a fairly recent occurence, relative to our nations founding, and limited soley to the appearence of the Great Seal of the United States. Its application by the Roosevelt administration, I feel, can be attributed to the Presidents Masonic affiliation. While the pyramid and the all-seeing-eye are not proprietary emblems of Masonry, and are indeed incorporated by others, I think their use on the one dollar bill does have a Masonic undertone while still not being completely Masonic in nature as a whole.

posted on Jan, 14 2008 @ 11:44 PM
Excellent post, dude. Thoroughly researched, well articulated and thoughtfully laid out.

You've got my ATS award, and have changed my perspective on the issue.

posted on Jan, 15 2008 @ 08:40 AM
Good post, although I do disagree with some points. I am unsure of what the significance is of who was and was not a mason on the committee that designed the dollar bill. It wouldn't matter if they were all masons, or all not masons to me. After all, when masons gather together they do not spend all of their time trying to put "masonic influence" on whatever it is they are doing...I'll response to the rest of it later. Off to teach a class!

posted on Jan, 15 2008 @ 08:44 AM
reply to post by ConspiracyNut23

I concur that this was a good post, but I still must disagree with the conclusion. Also, I think you misinterpreted the quote about John Adams. Not being a Mason, he never attended any meetings of the Lodge of the Nine Muses, or any other Lodge. His son became a very active anti-Mason.

posted on Jan, 15 2008 @ 08:53 AM
Thanks Roark and AugustusMasonicus

reply to post by LightinDarkness

I'm merely trying to refute the claim by Dr. S. Brent Morris that "there are no Masonic symbol" on the dollar bill.

I am not suggesting in any way that this somehow validates conspiracy theories that claim Masonic influence over the world.

If you were put on a design committee with the intention of designing an emblem. Isn't it likely that you would use the wide repertoire of symbols that your Masonic studies have already thought you?

Looking forward to your contribution.

[edit on 15/1/08 by ConspiracyNut23]

posted on Jan, 15 2008 @ 09:04 AM

Originally posted by Masonic Light

I think you misinterpreted the quote about John Adams. Not being a Mason, he never attended any meetings of the Lodge of the Nine Muses,

Reading back on the quote, that is quite possible. The "American Envoy" could have been referring to State matters, not Masonic ones. Would you say Adams was sympathetic to Masons? Did he himself speak for/against it?

I thought you would find the tracing boards interesting.

Also, have you ever heard of Dr. Robert Hieronimus? (I think I saw him in a "disinformation company" lecture, is this guy a legitimate source? He is Mr. Morris' main source.)

[edit on 15/1/08 by ConspiracyNut23]

posted on Jan, 15 2008 @ 05:29 PM
reply to post by ConspiracyNut23

May I ask, I'm a idiot when it comes to symbology, if it isn't masonic what are the other alternatives of what influenced its use on the Great Seal?

I looked up Du Simitiere and came up with this after much sifting but do not know how credible it is, but it is certainly interesting and offers a slightly different perspective.

When work on the Great Seal of the United States was begun (literally on July 4, 1776) the artistic consultant who originally suggested the symbol of the eye in the triangle surrounded by a glory was none other than Pierre Eugène Du Simitière (P.E.D.), a friend of Benjamin Franklin. Du Simitière was an extremely unusual man. In 1894 a mysterious manuscript was found and has since been validated as having been created by him. The manuscript concerns itself with the art of cryptography and hidden meanings!

The words above the eye (ANNUIT COEPTIS) are supposed to be a quote from Vergil. This may be true, although the quote is not exact. In Vergil it is ANNUE COEPTIS and roughly translates as "Our Bold Venture." It is possible that P.E.D. modified the words for a reason. If you look at the word COEPTIS you can find the letters PISO, in much the same way as in the word IPPOS, the horse mascot of the Piso family, or PISTOR (the baker), their other nickname. If you substitute R for N, S for T and reverse the UI you get the word ARRIUS. The remaining letters of COEPTIS are C, E and T. In effect, the words ANNUIT COEPTIS are a kind of cryptographic representation of ARRIUS C PISO! Considering that P.E.D. was into letter-substitution cryptography it is possible that the decryption of the letters are as he intended! Nothing is for certain, but a study of P.E.D. is being done to find out more details about his cryptographic techniques. The hope is that the actual cypher he used to encrypt the words ANNUIT COEPTIS may be discovered and used to prove the accuracy of this admittedly intuitive unscrambling.

As nobody knows for sure if P.E.D. was a Mason, he sheds little light on the relationship of the eye to Freemasonry. It is more likely that P.E.D. was enough of a scholar (he was fluent in Latin, Greek and Hebrew) to have deduced the authorship of the New Testament himself, or perhaps with the help of an unknown teacher. If he were a Mason he would have been a French Mason and might have had privileged knowledge from that source. In any case, the provenance of the symbols in Masonry or Illuminism is tempting but highly speculative.

There is an interesting discussion on the authorship of the new testament here.

I wonder if, Du Simitiere being as learned in symbology and cryptology as the above article claims, that he was attempting to represent the Piercing eye of revelations (Arianism) seeing through the triangle representative of trinitarianism.

Just an idea.

Edit to add link

[edit on 15-1-2008 by KilgoreTrout]

posted on Jan, 15 2008 @ 05:33 PM
No, I would not put masonic emblems on something just because I'm on a committee designing an emblem. Nor would any other mason I know, because masonry while a great institution is a fraternity and does not consume my life that much. This would be like expecting when Buddhists gather together they are going to spend time trying to create images that would look like Buddha. I also note that all of the committee members were men, and did not spend time putting phallus shaped objects on the dollar bill - although I'm sure someone (not the OP, referring to some of the antis on here) will find one on there eventually so we can claim a masonic link between that the national monument.

I would also ask how is it that these other committee members who "sympathized" with masonry enough to insert "masonic influence" on the dollar bill design...never even bothered to actually join. It seems odd to me. If you like the fraternity that much, I'd also expect you to join.

I'd also offer that if masons were really going to put a masonic symbol on there, they would put a major symbol. The all seeing eye is quite simply not a huge symbol in masonry, and if they wanted to actually make it masonic why not the square and compass? A book representing the VSL? It seems very odd to pick what IS in all reality a very minor symbol (in its use in the fraternity) to assert your influence.

Finally, I personally do not see why it matters whether the eye is or is not a masonic influence. What does it matter if it is? Although I do not think it is, I also can't see why anyone would care even if it was...

posted on Jan, 15 2008 @ 05:45 PM
now THIS is a damn good post! This should absolutely be posted as an ATS premium article, and you should be compensated (pending some more content of your own to balance out all the external sources).

Thanks, I'll be using this as a constant reference for... well, as long as ATS is online I guess!

posted on Jan, 16 2008 @ 02:08 AM
reply to post by LightinDarkness

I think that ConspiracyNut23 has demonstrated though that there is a masonic connection to the symbol - particularly French and German masonry. Given the French involvement in the American Revolution it seems probable that Du Simitiere could have selected a French Masonic symbol. As I asked in my post, if it isn't masonic what is its revelence, as in where did the inspiration come from?

I personally feel that the OP has proven that the symbol is masonic, French/German masonic. All that is open to debate is how it ended up in the seal? If it is not used in Anglo/scottish masonry then a little mystery exists, which IMO points to the french influence in the development of the revolution, which both Du Simitiere and Franklin (who is known to have visted lodges throughout Europe) may have sought to (cryptically) acknowledge.

posted on Jan, 16 2008 @ 08:13 AM
reply to post by KilgoreTrout

The symbol of the All Seeing Eye is used in all Rites of Masonry, including the York and Scottish Rites as worked in the United States. The interesting thing is that the symbol was instituted in the Seal by non-Masons (Jefferson and Adams).

While it is true that it is a "Masonic symbol", it has also been a Christian symbol, a Hindu symbol, and an Egyptian one. The practically universal use of the symbol to represent the omnipresence of God, I believe, accounts for its presence within the Great Seal.

posted on Jan, 16 2008 @ 09:27 AM
No, he has not demonstrated a connection at all - nor has he claimed this. To do so would be to commit a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. Just because events fall into a historical order does NOT indicate causation.

As masonic light has said, the "eye" is a symbol of many religions. Your question also assumes people never make up symbols - that they *must* get it from some "older" source. This is not true. People make up symbols all the time. And when they do - seeing as how there are quite a few people around making things up - they tend to come up with things that resemble other symbols. When people do this the desire to seek some sort of "connection" is again a post hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacy. People like to draw connections between symbols because it enforces some notion of a "common consciences" in the humanistic tradition, but all the historical evidence shows most of these connections are spurious.

I again ask the question - who cares? Even if it were to be masonic (and I do not believe it is), what does it matter?

posted on Jan, 16 2008 @ 10:14 AM
I'll let the others debate the points and just sit back and watch this time. I don't agree 100% but I'd say about 90-95%.

I did want to post, though, just so I could say publicly that this is an exemplary post. Good rsearch, good sources (conspiracy archive is questionable but I'll give you the benefit), and most importantly, author commentary. In lieu of WATS, which is no more, I starred it and flagged it.

Great work, CT23. Respect.

posted on Jan, 16 2008 @ 03:55 PM
Thank you Masonic Light for answering my query and I agree with you and have confirmed for myself that the symbol is in fact Christian.

While the "Eye" may be used in many religions, the eye within the triangle is, as far as I can find, only Christian in usage. It may have some lineage with classical Greece and Rome (particularly Plato) but I think that for the purpose of the OP it is only its European usage that is significant and particularly its adoption by the Deist movement of the mid 17th to 18th century. I am sure most of the learned masons will agree that the Deists were instrumental in the revitalization of the Freemasonry movement, particularly speculative Freemasonry.

The Deists emerged from the Renaissance critical of the superstition and prophecy of the catholic or orthodox christainities and rejected the triune or trinity of god, preferring the Platonian view of the “craftsman” and overseeing god (I don’t think that I need to spell out the significance there). Deism originated in Britain but quickly found favour in post-reformation Europe and Scandinavia. And I think that the modern adoption of the All Seeing Eye most likely has its origins in Germany or rather Prussia. Sadly, as we know much of the Freemasonry heritage of Prussia was destroyed by Himmler and the SS, but a clue to the origins of its adoption lies above the door of Aachen Cathedral.

Aachen Cathedral is a sacred place, to the Holy Roman Empire (it is where Charlemagne is interred) and to the Prussians who were the first embrace the protestant reformation there. Aachen is also one of the few places in Germany that resisted the force of Nazism, and later where Prussian Generals of the Wehrmacht fiercely held out for two months against the US First Army in 1944. But I digress…

To suggest that the creators of the Great seal simply made it up seems to me hopelessly naïve or a most profound coincidence which would be far more indicative of a collective consciousness than following the historical useage.

Du Simitere, certainly seems to have rejected orthodoxy as his sketches of the celebrations of Guy Fawkes Night clearly demonstrate.

As it is impossible to ascertain whether du Simitiere was a Freemason I would hazard, that not only is the All Seeing Eye symbolic of masonry but also, enclosed within the triangle, came to be representative of a rejection of the sovereignty of Rome and England. These were all learned men, and again it is naïve to think that someone as well traveled as Franklin would be unaware of its German and French Masonic usage. More so, that it is not existent in this form in the York and Scottish rites, which remained loyal (I presume) to the triune, seems confirmation of this fact.

What is perhaps also noteworthy is that when the seal was incorporated into the design of the dollar bill in 1935 that Roosevelt, Henry Wallace and Henry Morgenthau Jr, all three Freemasons, were instrumental in that decision.

The Eye of Providence is symbolic of the Divine Providence of man, free will, the rejection of dogma and the perfectibility of man – all qualities that epitomize, not only the feelings of those integral to the declaration of independence but also, in my understanding, of Freemasonry.

I believe that the OP has not only brought together a great thread but also relieved what has been a stagnant few months here on the SS board. Nice one ConspiracyNut23

posted on Jan, 16 2008 @ 04:58 PM
reply to post by ConspiracyNut23

This article discusses the Masonic influence on the dollar bill, although I must admit that I assumed everbosy knew of the masonic influence on the dollar, and particularly readers of this site.

posted on Jan, 17 2008 @ 07:42 AM
reply to post by LightinDarkness

No, I would not put masonic emblems on something just because I'm on a committee designing an emblem.

Well, either they used the symbol from Masonic symbolism, Christian symbolism, Hindu symbolism or Egyptian symbolism. They didn't make it up. Dr. Morris claims that none of the symbols could have possibly come from Masonic symbolism.

Also let's not forget this is at the time of "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" when Masonic philosophies were extremely pertinent to the times.

This would be like expecting when Buddhists gather together they are going to spend time trying to create images that would look like Buddha.

Where I am, the swastika, as a Buddhist symbol, is used in everything from corporate logos to political pamphlets.

I again ask the question - who cares? Even if it were to be masonic (and I do not believe it is), what does it matter?

Mr. Morris cares and claims with authority that it isn't. The purpose of this thread is to examine if it is.

I'd also offer that if masons were really going to put a masonic symbol on there, they would put a major symbol.

Good point.
Maybe it had a greater importance in French Lodges?

reply to post by The Axeman

(conspiracy archive is questionable but I'll give you the benefit),

I was aware of the questionable source used. However, he is supposedly quoting the New Age articles verbatim. I've really enjoyed his essay on the Bavarian Illuminati and he seems like a good source, I doubt he would change words from actual quotes. Of course anyone with access to the New Age Magazine archive could easily verify its legitimacy. Thanks for the kudos.

reply to post by KilgoreTrout

Thanks for looking into the Du Simitière links. Seems he was also sympathetic to Masonic ideas.

reply to post by golddragnet

The Dr, Morris article, "The Pyramid in the Eye" which I went into in the OP is largely responsible for this phenomenon. Many Masons feel, that Dr. Morris' relatively weak article has "set the record straight".

[edit on 17/1/08 by ConspiracyNut23]

posted on Jan, 17 2008 @ 07:47 AM
Questionable sources?

If we look closely at the sources use for Mr. Morris' article, we find that most of his sources came from a single book, Hieronimus, America's Secret Destiny. (link in OP)

here are the sources...


[1] Robert Hieronimus, America's Secret Destiny (Rochester, Vt.: Destiny Books, 1989), p. 48.

[2] Patterson and Dougall in Hieronimus, p. 48.

[3] Hieronimus, p. 81.

[4] Hieronimus, p. 51.

[5] Hieronimus, p. 57.

[6] C. Thomas and W. Barton in Hieronimus, p. 54.

[7] Thomas Smith Webb, The Freemasons Monitor or Illustrations of Masonry (Salem, Mass.: Cushing and Appleton, 1821), p. 66.

[8] Jeremy Ladd Cross, The True Masonic Chart or Hieroglyphic Monitor, 3rd ed. (New Haven, Conn.: By the Author, 1824), plate 22.

It is difficult to believe that Mr. Morris' claims with such authority that it is impossible that Masonic symbols are found on the Great Seal when he has consulted so few titles to arrive at his conclusion.

I couldn't find lots of info on the Hieronimus book, but here's a quote supposedly from the same book...

However, this symbol of the All-Seeing Eye within a pyramid was appropriated in 1776 by the Illuminati. [Robert Hieronimus, Ph.D., America's Secret Destiny, White Magic book, p. 59]

Granted, the linked site is not a credible source, but if the quote is indeed found in America's Secret Destiny, why is Dr. Hieronimus taken seriously by a Masonic scholar?

(I'm assuming of course that the quote is false, and that the Illuminati did not use the All-Seeing Eye, if true than that would be a whole other ball of wax)

Is Dr. Bob Hieronimus legitimate?

posted on Jan, 17 2008 @ 09:05 AM

Originally posted by Masonic Light
The interesting thing is that the symbol was instituted in the Seal by non-Masons (Jefferson and Adams).

I haven't heard that. Do you have more info on that?

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