This explains everything anyone needs to know.
All secret societies trace their origins back to the ancient mystery religions practiced in Sumeria, Egypt, and Babylon
The first mention that the Great Seal was connected to the Freemasons came in 1884, when Harvard Professor Eliot Norton wrote that the reverse of the Great Seal of the US was a “dull emblem of a Masonic fraternity.” It seems the good Professor was a little lacking on knowledge and didn't have all the facts surrounding the creation.
The first committee charged with creating the Great Sea was established on July 4th, 1776, and was composed of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams with Pierre du Simitiere as the artist. Ben Franklin was the only Freemason. Franklin proposed a design a scene similar to Moses at the Red Sea with the Egyptian Pharoah being overwhelmed with the phrase “Resistance to Tyranny is Obedience to God.” Jefferson proposal was Israel being led through the wilderness while Adam’s was of Hercules between the rugged path of Virtue and the flowery meadow of Sloth. These were all rejected. Du Simitiere contributed much to the future design, such as “E Pluribus Unum” , the shield, the Eye of Providence in the radiant triangle.
The Second committee was composed of James Lovell, John Morin Scott, and William Churchill Houston with the help of Francis Hopkinson (Signer of the Declaration of Independence, helped design American flag, and designed many government seals). Hopkinson's first design had a shield with thirteen diagonal red and white stripes, supported on one side by figure bearing an olive branch and representing peace, and on the other an Indian warrior (which later be replaced with a soldier) holding a bow and arrow, and holding a shiver. The crest was a radiant constellation of thirteen stars. The motto was "Bello vel pace paratus", meaning "prepared in war or in peace“ (a theme used later with the Eagle holding the olive branch and arrows). The reverse, in Hopkinson's words, was "Liberty is seated in a chair holding an olive branch and her staff is topped by a Liberty cap. The motto `Virtute perennis' means `Everlasting because of virtue.' The date in Roman numerals is 1776.“ From this committee the following would be incorporated into the final design: the white and red stripes within a blue background for a shield, a radiant constellation of 13 stars, and an olive branch.
The Third committee was composed of John Rutledge, Arthur Middleton, and Elias Boudinot with the help of William Barton (a heraldic expert). This time, the figures on each side of the shield were the "Genius of the American Confederated Republic" represented by a maiden, and on the other side an American warrior. At the top is an eagle and on the pillar in the shield is a "Phoenix in Flames". The mottos were "In Vindiciam Libertatis" (In Defense of Liberty) and "Virtus sola invicta" (Only virtue unconquered). On the reverse, there was used a pyramid of thirteen steps, with the radiant Eye of Providence overhead, and used the mottos "Deo Favente" (With God's Favor, or more literally, God Favoring) and "Perennis" (Everlasting). The pyramid had come from another Continental currency note designed in 1778 by Hopkinson, this time the $50 note, which had a nearly identical pyramid and the motto "Perennis". Barton had at first specified "on the Summit of it a Palm Tree, proper", with the explanation that "The Palm Tree, when burnt down to the very Root, naturally rises fairer than ever", but later crossed it out and replaced it with the Eye of Providence, taken from the first committee's design. Again, Congress rejected the submitted design. From this committee the following would be incorporated into the final design: eagle and a pyramid of 13 steps
The Fourth and final committee was composed of only Charles Thomson, Secretary of the Congress, who took elements of the previous committees and added “Annuit Coeptis”, “Novus Ordo Seclorum” and finally came out with the design we have today. Charles Thomson had received classical training and worked as a Latin tutor at the Academy of Philadelphia.
So many theorists believe that "Novus Ordo Seclorum" translates into "New World Order" when in reality it translates to "New Order of the Ages" and America was. With assistance, we had trounced on one of the mightiest empires the world had seen in a long time. The country had limitless potential and we were establishing a "government of the people, by the people, for the people."
Some of the theories include the number 13 which many speculate is a very significant number with Freemasonry. I've read about all sorts of elaborate measures taken to saturate the Great Seal with 13 because it correlates to something within Freemasonry, yet they always seem to dismiss the simple and obvious explanation of the original 13 colonies.
Many point out that because Freemasonry today uses the All-Seeing Eye as a symbol and that the Great Seal has the Eye of Providence above the pyramid that they must be connected. One thing I have learned in my research and time in Masonry is that symbols do not have a singular or exclusive meaning, interpretation, or use. While both interpret to represent God, the Divine, this doesn't constitute a direct connection or that the Masons are somehow involved with the design. Symbols for a long time were the preferred method of non-verbal communication as so many were illiterate.
Again, as I said above, even faced with the facts some people will hold tight to their theories.
Here are the facts. George Washington appointed Pierre Charles L'Enfant to design Washington DC, which was established in 1790 when an act of Congress authorized a federal district along the Potomac River and conveniently situated between the northern and southern states.
Thomas Jefferson had created a sketch of the city comprised of a square grid street system. L'Enfant took this design further and applied radials upon. From each of these radials stemmed streets that would shoot diagonally across the city intersecting the grid system. L'Enfant placed Congress on a high point with a commanding view of the Potomac, instead of reserving the grandest spot for the leader's palace as was customary in Europe, to display the American attitude of reserving the high point of the city for the Legislature whose duty it is to represent the People and the States. These wide boulevards stemming from the radials allowed for easy transportation across town and offered views of important buildings and common squares from great distances.
Eventually L'Enfant's head strong behavior earned him the ire of Washington, who fired him after one year of employment. According to the Encyclopedia Americana:
L'Enfant forged ahead regardless of his orders, the budget, or landowners with prior claims.
When he left the US, he took his designs with him. The duty of remaking the plans fell upon Andrew Ellicot and Benjamin Banneker (a freed black man). Banneker was able to recreate the plans in their entirety from memory.
Of all the men who dealt with the designs, of this future Seat of Government, was George Washington. Some have stated that L'Enfant was a Mason, but according to Brent Morris in his book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Freemasonry, stated:
Eager Freemasons with more enthusiasm than facts have claimed L’Enfant as a brother. It is unfortunate for them that there are no documents, either primary or secondary, showing L’Enfant was a Mason.
To counter this, Pierre F. de Ravel d’Esclapon, of New York, wrote an article called "The Masonic Career of Major Pierre Charles L’Enfant" who states there exist minutes of Holland Lodge in NY that show L'Enfant getting proposed and initiated, but makes no more further statements as to whether he made it to become a Master Mason. I find his article intriguing, but the evidence is circumstantial and muddies the water. Even if he had been initiated, if he had not progressed any further he would not have been considered a full member nor entitled to the rights of membership. Regardless of his affiliation, he was fired and the designs remade from Banneker are what we see today.
The conspiracy theorist states that there exists a inverted pentagram (as seen in the picture above), but if you notice I have one line that is blue. I made that line blue because Rhode Island Ave NW doesn't go all the way through to K St NW. Rhode Island Ave NW stops when it runs into Connecticut Ave NW. The pentagram is not complete.
Some also state that you can find the Square and Compasses (one of the most prominent Masonic symbols out there), but I'd like to point out that when you place a radial street system upon a grid system, you'll find the Square and Compasses. With an intricate crisscross of streets, you're bound to find various images. In fact, as you can see in the picture above, you can spell "JESUS" in the streets of Washington DC, but you don't hear anyone condemning it as some deviant scheme of the Christian faith.
from It. (Sicilian) mafia "boldness, bravado," probably from Arabic mahjas "aggressive, boasting, bragging." Or perhaps from O.Fr. mafler "to gluttonize, devour."
In 1738 Francois Nivelon published A Book Of Genteel Behavior describing the "hand-in-waistcoat" posture as signifying "manly boldness tempered with modesty." Miller says that the hidden hand was a feature of some statues of the ancient Greeks and Romans and that later painters based their poses on classical models. The pose was recommended by certain classical writers as a useful posture for orators. Aeschines of Macedon (390-331 B.C.), an actor, orator and founder of a school of rhetoric, who wrote an important book on oratory, postulated that speaking with one's arm outside the toga was considered ill-mannered.