Was A Freemason Responsible For The American Civil War?

by Midnight Freemasons contributor
Todd E. Creason

Abraham Lincoln- the last casualty of the Civil War.
We all learned the same story.  On April 12, 1861, shortly after Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated, the Civil War began when the first shots were fired by the rebel army on Fort Sumpter when Lincoln ordered the Fort, which was desperately low on provisions, to be supplied.  There’s no question that’s when the war between the states began—right?

Actually, no—that’s incorrect.

In early 1861, the President of the United States, and Freemason, James Buchanan would have been very pleased to let the already simmering Civil War fall on the shoulders of the man that would follow him in a very short time—Abraham Lincoln.  To say that President Buchanan was ill-prepared to handle something as volatile as the Civil War is putting it mildly.  There is a reason I never profiled James Buchanan in my Famous American Freemasons series.  Buchanan wasn’t a very good example, and history remembers him as the President that could have, and should have done more to prevent the war between the states.  If he had, he could have saved 600,000 lives on both sides of the bloody conflict. 

15th President and Freemason James Buchanan
However, in January of 1861, the recently occupied garrison in Charleston Harbor, called Fort Sumpter, was running desperately low on supplies.  The pressure on Buchanan was  tremendous, and he was backed into a corner, and ordered the merchant vessel the Star of the West to resupply the garrison.  But a Confederate sympathizer in Buchanan’s own cabinet, Secretary of State John Floyd, tipped off the rebel army that the supply ship was coming, and the rebel army was ready.  The first shots of the Civil War were fired on the Star of the West on January 9, 1861, when the Confederate Army unleashed its first heavy artillery bombardment of the Civil War against the supply ship.  Three of those shots hit the Star of the West, and the ship quickly turned tail and ran back to open water.

The first shots of the Civil War had already been fired, months before Abraham Lincoln became President of the United States. 

Of course one of the first things Lincoln did as President was to re-order the provisioning of Fort Sumpter.  If they were low on supplies in January, they were desperate and starving in April.  This second attempt to re-supply Fort Sumpter is the one history remembers and we learned about in school—those shots that were fired on April 12, 1861.

So yes, the President of the United States at the time the first shots were fired during the American Civil War was a Freemason. 

The Masonic Record: 

James Buchanan was a member of Lancaster Lodge No. 43, Pennsylvania.  Abraham Lincoln petitioned Tyrian Lodge in Springfield, Illinois in 1860, and later withdrew his petition when he decided to run for President of the United States.  He was afraid his petition would be seen as an attempt to pander for the votes of Freemasons—something he was unwilling to do.  It was his intention to re-submit his petition and receive the degrees of Freemasonry after his Presidency was over—a promise he never had a chance to fulfill. 

Additional Note:  It has long been believed that L. Frank Baum, the author of The Wizard of Oz based his character of the Wizard on James Buchanan.  The wizard being a man ill-prepared for the high office of leadership he held, and ill-prepared to deal with a conflict like the Wicked Witch of the West.  The Wizard held the highest office in the land, but behind that title, there was no real leadership.  It was nothing besides smoke and mirrors.  This same theory applies to the Scarecrow, who is believed to be based on the character of Abraham Lincoln.  A man from the fields and farms of the Midwest, who many believed didn’t have the brains to run the country, and surprised everyone with what he was able to do with his homespun ability to get his ideas across, and his common sense leadership style.  Most of us don’t know the rest of the story of Wizard of Oz, but eventually, the Scarecrow becomes a great leader in the land of Oz. 


  1. I'm actually a distant relative of a United States President on my maternal grandmother's side. I wish I could say it was Lincoln, but it was James Buchanan--although a lifelong bachelor, he never contributed to the family line... but that's another interesting story I'll save for another day.

  2. Hes my 5th great uncle.... So hello family


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