The Unseen Hand - Ralph Epperson

The Secret Societies

Author Arthur Edward Waite wrote:

"Beneath the broad tide of human history there flow the stealthy undercurrents of the secret societies, which frequently determine in the depths the changes that take place upon the surface."

British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, 1874-1880, confirmed the above assertion about the control by the secret societies in the affairs of men when he wrote:

"There is in Italy a power which we seldom mention in this House (the House of Parliament) . . . . I mean the secret societies . . . . It is useless to deny, because it is impossible to conceal, that a great part of Europe. . . to say nothing of other countries. . . is covered with a network of these secret societies . . . . What are their objects?

"They do not want constitutional government. . . . They want to change the tenure of the land, to drive out the present owners of the soil and to put an end to ecclesiastical establishments."

Notice that the two goals of the secret societies, according to Disraeli, are the same as those of what is called organized Communism: the abolition of private property and the ending of the "ecclesiastical establishments," the religions of the world.

Is it possible that so-called Communism is in reality the tool of the secret societies? Is it realistic to believe that Communism is controlled by forces above it in an organized hierarchy?

Today's version of history teaches that Communism is the intended result of public demands for a change in the organization of their society, usually through revolutionary action that overthrows the old system. Is it possible that these revolutions are in reality the machinations of the secret societies, seeking to communize the world after the revolution?

There are those who believe so:

"Communism is never a spontaneous or even willing rising of downtrodden masses against the bosses who exploit them—but exactly the opposite. It is always imposed on a people from the top down by bosses who are seeking to increase their power.

"All of the agitation at the bottom is stirred up, built up, financed, and controlled by the Insiders, at the top, to give themselves the means and the excuse for seizing more power—always under the guise of stopping or preventing these revolutionary activities among the masses at the bottom. 3

"Communism is a front for something deeper. Communism is not a revolt of the "poor" but a conspiratorial plot of the "rich."

"The international conspiracy does not originate in Moscow—but probably in New York. It is not an idealistic crusade for the poor and the humble but a disguised power grab of the rich and the arrogant."

The story of modern-day Communism begins with a secret society called the Order of the Illuminati. It was about this organization that the 1953 Report of the California Senate Investigating Committee on Education, stated:

"So called modem Communism is apparently the same hypocritical world conspiracy to destroy civilization that was founded by the Illuminati, and that raised its head in our colonies here at the critical period before the adoption of our Constitution."

Another historian, Oswald Spengler, has taken the investigating committee one step further. He has linked Communism with the moneyed interests of the world. He has written:

"There is no proletarian, not even Communist, movement that has not operated in the interests of money, in the directions indicated by money, and for the time being permitted by money—and that without the idealists among its leaders having the slightest suspicion of the fact."

According to Mr. Spengler, even the leaders of Communism are not aware of the secret workings of their own movement. Is it possible that Gus Hall and Angela Davis, the 1980 Communist Party candidates for President and Vice-President of the United States, who ran on a platform opposing "the big banks and monopoly corporations that control the economy," are really being used by the very organizations they ostensibly oppose? Is it possible that the wealthy banks and monopoly corporations want and support the Communist Party because they want the Party to oppose them?

[Illustration] from The Unseen Hand by Ralph Epperson


One Communist Party member, Dr. Bella Dodd, a member of the National Committee of the Communist Party of the United States, apparently decided that there was indeed a connection between wealthy "capitalists" and the Party. She noticed that every time the National Committee couldn't reach a decision, one of their members would leave, go to the Waldorf Towers in New York City, and meet with a particular individual, later identified as Arthur Goldsmith. Dr. Dodd observed that every time Mr. Goldsmith made a decision, it was later confirmed by the Communist Party in Moscow. But what truly amazed Dr. Dodd was that Mr. Goldsmith was not only a member of the Communist Party, but an extremely wealthy American "capitalist."

[Illustration] from The Unseen Hand by Ralph Epperson


So if the preceding commentators are correct in their charges that Communism is a front for secret societies, including the Illuminati, it behooves the student of the conspiratorial view to examine the origins and history of this organization.

The Illuminati was founded on May 1, 1776, by Adam Weishaupt, a Jesuit priest and a professor of Canon Law at Ingolstadt University in Bavaria, today part of Germany. There is some evidence that Professor Weishaupt had become affiliated with secret societies before he founded the Illuminati.

The founding date of May 1 is still celebrated by Communists around the world as May Day, although the purists claim that May Day is celebrated because that was the beginning date for the Russian Revolution of 1905. But this doesn't change the date of May 1, 1905 as an anniversary of the founding of the Illuminati on May 1, 1776.

Weishaupt's organization spread quickly, especially among fellow "intellectuals" at his university. In fact, all but two of its professors had become members of this organization in the first few years of its existence.

The basic philosophy that was being offered to the prospective member of the Illuminati was a reversal of the traditional philosophy taught by the church and the educational system. It has been summarized by Weishaupt himself as follows:

"Man is not bad except as he is made so by arbitrary morality. He is bad because religion, the state, and bad examples pervert him. When at last reason becomes the religion of men, then will the problem be solved."

There is reason to believe that Weishaupt's contempt of religion started on July 21, 1773, when Pope Clement XIV "forever annulled and extinguished the Jesuit order." The Pope's action was in response to pressure from France, Spain, and Portugal, which independently had come to the conclusion that the Jesuits were meddling in the affairs of the state and were therefore enemies of the government.

[Illustration] from The Unseen Hand by Ralph Epperson


The response of one ruler, King Joseph of Portugal, was typical. He "hastened to sign a decree by which the Jesuits were denounced as 'traitors, rebels and enemies to the realm . . . "

So the three nations presented "the categorical request that he (the Pope) should suppress the Jesuit order throughout the world." The Pope agreed and banned the order.

Weishaupt, a Jesuit priest, certainly must have been concerned by the Pope's action, possibly to the point where he wished to organize an institution strong enough to ultimately destroy the Catholic Church itself.

Pope Clement's action was short-lived, though, as Pope Pius VII in August, 1814 reinstated the Jesuits to all of their former rights and privileges.

Pope Pius' reinstatement did not go without notice in the United States, as ex-President John Adams wrote to his successor, Thomas Jefferson:

"I do not like the re-appearance of the Jesuits. If ever there was a body of men who merited eternal damnation on earth . . . it is this Society."

Jefferson replied:

"Like you, I disapprove of the restoration of the Jesuits, for it means a step backwards from light into darkness."

The Jesuits are still in trouble with the Church just as they were during the early 1700's. On February 28, 1982, Pope Paul II told the Jesuits "to keep clear of politics, and honor Roman Catholic tradition."

An article on the Pope's action in the U.S. News and World Report stated that the Jesuits had indeed meddled in the affairs of certain nations. The article said:

"Jesuits have played leading roles in Nicaragua's Sandinista revolution. Some Jesuits have joined Communist parties. One priest in El Salvador has claimed that his order is working for the advancement of Marxism and revolution, not for God."

The article continued by stating that Jesuits have "joined left-wing rebel movements in Central America and the Philippines, and have advocated a molding of Marxism and Roman Catholicism in what is called 'liberation theology.'

Weishaupt's contempt for religion manifested itself with his thought that man's ability to reason would set the moral tone of the society rather than the teachings of the Bible.

This thought was not new.

The Bible teaches that the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, were instructed by God not to eat the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Man was not to set his own moral precepts; he was to listen to the laws of God. Man was tempted by Satan with the ability to "be as Gods, knowing good and evil," capable of using his own mind to decide what was right and wrong.

So Weishaupt's call to man's reason to determine man's morality was not new; it was the continuing battle between man's mind and the teachings of God.

One well-known example of man's rebellion to the laws of God occurred when Moses of the Old Testament of the Bible brought God's laws in the form of the Ten Commandments to the people. While Moses was absent, the people had constructed their own god, a mouthless golden calf incapable of offering any instructions or moral teachings. It is easy to worship something that does not require any obedience nor has the ability to issue laws by which to live.

So man continued his rebellion against God. Weishaupt furthered the trend by teaching that man could free himself by emancipating himself from religion. Even the name of his organization, the Illuminati, revealed his concern about man's mind. The "Illuminated Ones" of the Illuminati would be those possessing the greatest ability to discern the truths of the universe gleaned from the workings of the human mind. Once unhindered by religion, pure reason would lead man out of the spiritual wilderness.

Those who believe in the teachings of God as revealed to man through the Holy Bible do not believe that God's laws are restrictions on man's freedoms, but are exactly the opposite. They enable man to enjoy his freedom by not fearing the plundering of his life, liberty and property by others.

The commandment "Thou shalt not kill" restricts man's ability to kill his neighbor, thereby increasing man's ability to live. "Thou shalt not steal" encourages man to allow his neighbor to accumulate the property he needs to sustain his own life. "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife" discourages adultery and encourages fidelity, thus strengthening the sacredness of God's institution of marriage.

God's laws allow maximum freedom to those who will abide by them. Man becomes less free when his wife, his property, and his very life belong to those who feel they have the right to take them from him.

Weishaupt even admitted that he was founding a new religion when he founded the Illuminati. He wrote: "I never thought that I should become the founder of a new religion."

So the goal of the new religion became the substitution of the religious man with the illuminated man: man solving man's problems through the use of his mind. Weishaupt declared:

"Reason will be the only code of man. . . . . When at last reason becomes the religion of man, so will the problem be solved."

Weishaupt believed that man was a product of his environment and that man would be happy if he could re-structure the environment completely.

Today that teaching is the foundation of the philosophy in the courts that frees criminals even before the victim can file the charges against the criminal. The rational, illuminated mind sees that the society, the environment, and not the criminal, is at fault for the actions of the individual. This thinking holds that the society must be punished for the acts of the criminal, and that the criminal must be released back into the society so that it can be punished for the failure to meet the criminal's needs.

So Weishaupt saw religion as the problem because religion taught that only moral means may be utilized to achieve a moral end. Weishaupt saw this as an obstacle to his achieving his desired result: the complete alteration of man's society. He wrote:

"Behold our secret. Remember that the end justifies the means, and that the wise ought to take all the means to do good which the wicked take to do evil."

Any activity, either moral or immoral, becomes moral or acceptable to the member of the Illuminati as long as that activity promotes the goals of the organization. Murder, looting, wars, whatever, becomes acceptable behavior to the real believer of the new religion.

Another major obstacle to man's progress, according to Weishaupt, was nationalism. He wrote: "With the origin of nations and peoples the world ceased to be a great family Nationalism took the place of human love . . .."

Weishaupt was not an anarchist (one who believes in the absence of government) but believed that there was a need for world government to replace what used to be the national governments. This entity was in turn to be ruled by the members of the Illuminati: "The pupils (of the Illuminati) are convinced that the order will rule the world. Every member therefore becomes a ruler."

So the ultimate goal of the Illuminati, and hence all of its successors, becomes power: worldwide power. The power of government over all the people of the world.

If Weishaupt wished to so alter man's life in a manner only his supporters wanted, than it becomes imperative that his goals be kept secret from his intended victims. He wrote:

"The great strength of our order lies in its concealment: let it never appear in any place in its own name, but always covered by another name and another occupation."

Under the protection of its concealment, the order quickly grew. However, as has been the case with all of the secret organizations that controlled the so-called Communist organizations, it did not attract, nor was it intended to attract, the "downtrodden masses," the "lowly" peasant-worker it was supposedly created to assist. It drew from the near powerful, the representatives of that layer of society just underneath the power holders. For instance, a partial listing of the occupations of some of the members of the Illuminati revealed this statement was true: marquis, baron, lawyer, abbe, count, magistrate, prince, major, professor, colonel, priest, and duke.

These were the occupations of the individuals who, without fear of discovery, could meet secretly and conspire against the government, the army, the church and the establishment. These were the people who did not possess the ultimate power of control over their respective fields of endeavor, but they saw the Illuminati as the means of achieving their goals of individual power.

The members of the Illuminati whenever together or in correspondence with fellow members assumed aliases to conceal their real identities. Weishaupt assumed the name of Spartacus, a Roman slave who led an uprising against the Roman government centuries before.

What was the goal of these conspirators?

Nesta Webster, one of the major researchers into the Illuminati, has summarized their goals as follows:

  1. Abolition of monarchy and all ordered government
  2. Abolition of private property.
  3. Abolition of inheritance.
  4. Abolition of patriotism (nationalism).
  5. Abolition of the family (i.e. of marriage and all morality, and the institution of communal education of children).
  6. Abolition of all religion.

In 1777, Weishaupt was initiated into the Masonic Order, the Lodge Theodore of Good Council, in Munich, Germany. His purpose in joining was not to become part of this benevolent order, but to infiltrate it and then to control it altogether.

In fact, the Masons held an International Congress at Wilhemsbad in July, 1782, and "Illuminism was injected into Freemasonry by indoctrinating the Masonic leaders . . . ."

However, the secrecy of the Illuminati was soon broken in 1783 when "four professors of the Marianen Academy . . . were summoned before the Court of Enquiry and questioned on . . . the Illuminati."

The Bavarian government had discovered the philosophies and purposes of the Illuminati and, more importantly, its desire to overthrow the Bavarian government. Hearings were held and the government abolished the order. But discovery of the organization was perhaps a blessing in disguise: the members fled the persecution of the Bavarian government and they took the Illuminati with them, establishing new societies all over Europe and America.

The Bavarian government countered this expansion by warning other European governments about the exact purposes of the Illuminati, but the rulers of Europe refused to listen. Those decisions would later come back to haunt these governments. As Nesta Webster observed:

"The extravagance of the scheme therein propounded rendered it unbelievable, and the rulers of Europe, refusing to take Illuminism seriously, put it aside as a chimera (a foolish fancy)."

The fact that the rulers of Europe wouldn't believe the goals of the Illuminati is a problem that is recurring all over the world today. It is difficult for the observer to believe that such a giant, well organized conspiracy does exist, and that the goals they envision for the world are real. This disbelief by the public is what fuels their success and it behooves the Conspiracy to plan their events in such a way that the truth becomes so incredible and so preposterous that no one would believe that they were intentionally created.

A Frenchman named Danton said this in French, and loosely translated, what he said means: "Audacity, audacity, always audacity."

One of the countries to which the Illuminati fled was America, and they formed their first chapter in Virginia in 1786, followed by fourteen others in different cities. They organized the Gallo-Italian Society, and with the onset of the American Revolution, disciples in America began to call themselves the Jacobins.

Much of what is known about the Illuminati today comes from a book written in 1798 by Professor John Robison, a professor of Natural Philosophy at Edinburgh University in Scotland. He entitled his book Proofs of a Conspiracy Against all the Religions and Governments of Europe Carried On in the Secret Meetings of the Free Masons, Illuminati, and Reading Societies. Professor Robison, himself a Mason, had been asked to join the Illuminati but felt he should investigate the order before he joined. Robison concluded that the association had been formed "for the express purpose of rooting out all the religious establishments and overturning all the existing governments of Europe."

These charges, even today, have fallen on deaf ears among many of Robison's fellow Masons. One of the more scholarly works supporting the Freemasons is a book entitled An Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry by Albert Mackey, M.D., himself a 33rd degree Mason, the highest level attainable in the Masonic Order.

Dr. Mackey makes these statements about Professor Robison's book: Many of his statements are untrue and his arguments illogical, exaggerated, and some of them altogether false. (His) theory is based on false premises and his reasonings (are) fallacious and illogical.

He wrote that the founder of the Illuminati, Professor Weishaupt, was "a Masonic reformer. Weishaupt could not have been the monster that he has been painted by his adversaries."

In fact, Dr. Mackey praised the Illuminati: "The original design of Illuminism was undoubtedly the elevation of the human race."

Dr. Mackey dismissed the Illuminati as being no threat to civilization because he apparently felt that the organization had disappeared: " . . . by the end of the last century (by 1900) it had ceased to exist"

This might be true, as far as the name Illuminati is concerned, but there is strong evidence, mainly through the perpetuation of the philosophy through like-minded organizations, that the Order perpetuated self by frequently changing its name and surfacing again.

In 1798, shortly after the publication of Professor Robison's work on the Illuminati, American minister Reverend G.W. Snyder sent a copy of the book to President George Washington, who was a very visible member of the Masonic Order. On September 25, 1798, President Washington wrote a letter to Rev. Snyder:

"I have heard much of the nefarious and dangerous plan and doctrines of the Illuminati, but never saw the book until you were pleased to send it to me. It was not my intention to doubt that the doctrine of the Illuminati had not spread in the United States. On the contrary, no one is more satisfied of this fact than I am."

But not all of America's founding fathers agreed with President Washington. Thomas Jefferson, after reading part three of the writings of another exposer of the Illuminati, the Abbe Barruel, wrote: "Barruel's own parts of the book are perfectly the ravings of a Bedlamite." (Webster's dictionary defines a Bedlamite as an inhabitant of the Bedlam hospital for lunatics in London, England.)

Jefferson also wrote the following about the founder of the Illuminati:

"Weishaupt seems to be an enthusiastic philanthropist. Weishaupt believes that to promote the perfection of the human character was the object of Jesus Christ. His (Weishaupt's) precepts are the love of God and love of our neighbor."

(Note: It is truly amazing that two people could read the works of Weishaupt, or the writings of those who were out to expose him for what he was, and come away with two such divergent opinions about his purposes. Yet there are still defenders of the Illuminati even today.)

[Illustration] from The Unseen Hand by Ralph Epperson


Some of the more vocal critics of the Illuminati believe that they were instrumental in fomenting the American Revolution itself. But a simple review of the nature of this revolution will show the difference between a revolution created by the Illuminati and the American Revolution. Life magazine summarized it quite well in its series on Revolutions:

"The American revolution was strictly a war of independence. It gave later revolutions a noble ideal and gave America itself the freedom to pursue its own destiny, but it left the structure of American society in all essentials unchanged."

In other words, the American Revolution did not dissolve the family, abolish religion, nor eliminate the national borders, the three targets of the Illuminati. The American Revolution was fought to disengage the United States from the government of England. This fact is confirmed by the Declaration of Independence. The founding fathers wrote: "When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another. . . ."

But the Illuminati has had its hands directly in other revolutions, the most notable being the French Revolution of 1789.

The facts of their involvement in this uprising are not well known. The traditional explanation of the French Revolution is that the French people, tired of being oppressed by King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, rose up in opposition to the monarchy and started the revolution by storming the Bastille prison. This activity, according to the official historical record, started the revolution that was to culminate in the replacing of the monarchy with the so-called "French Republic."

The French people commemorate the start of their "revolution" by making Bastille Day, July 14, an annual holiday. This further supports the contention that the people of France truly revolted and overthrew the King of France.

However, those who have studied the revolution in depth have discovered the real reason for the storming of the Bastille prison. As Nesta Webster explained in The French Revolution,

"A plan of attack on the Bastille had already been drawn up, it only remained now to set the people in motion."

The plan of attack was to storm the Bastille, not to release the hundreds of "oppressed political prisoners" supposedly imprisoned there, but to capture the needed weapons to start the revolution. This was confirmed by the fact that, when the mob reached the Bastille, so-called "torturous" prison of the "oppressive" King Louis XVI, there were only seven prisoners incarcerated there: four forgers, two lunatics, and the Comte de Solages, incarcerated for "monstrous crimes against humanity" at the request of his family. In fact, "The damp, dark dungeons had fallen into complete disuse; since the first ministry of Necker in 1776, no one had been imprisoned there."

The second erroneous presumption about the causes of the French Revolution is that the revolution was the action of the masses of the French people. This concept of large numbers of Frenchmen supporting the revolution is erroneous, because, in truth "Out of the 800,000 inhabitants of Paris only approximately 1,000 took any part in the siege of the Bastille. . . "

Those who were directly involved in the storming of the prison were in fact paid by those who directed the entire affair.

"That brigands from the South (of France) were deliberately enticed to Paris in 1789, employed and paid by the revolutionary leaders, is a fact confirmed by authorities too numerous to quote at length; and the further fact that the conspirators felt that such a measure to be necessary is of immense significance, for it shows that in their eyes the people of Paris were not to be depended on to carry out a revolution. In other words, the importation of the contingent of hired brigands conclusively refutes the theory that the Revolution was an irrepressable rising of the people."

In addition, not only Frenchmen were employed by those directing the revolution:

". . the motley crew of 'brigands,'. . . thirsting for violence, consisting not only of the aforesaid Marsailles (those Frenchmen from the 'South,' cited above) and Italians, but also. . . of large numbers of Germans."

One who was in a position to witness the actual siege of the Bastille in Paris was a Dr. Rigby, who was in Paris as a tourist during the French Revolution. His letters to his wife during these days offer an interesting insight into what actually happened. Nesta Webster, in her book The French Revolution, commented on Dr. Rigby's correspondence:

"So little commotion did the siege of the Bastille cause in Paris that Dr. Rigby, unaware that anything unusual was going on, went off early in the afternoon to visit the gardens of Monceaux."

Another of the observers of the French Revolution was Lord Acton, who confirmed that there was a hidden hand at work at fomenting the French Revolution:

"The appalling thing in the French Revolution is not the tumult but the design. Through all the fire and smoke, we perceive the evidence of calculating organization. The managers remain studiously concealed and masked; but there is no doubt about their presence from the first"

The plan of the conspirators was simple: to create "popular" grievances in order to exploit them to their benefit. They created five particular grievances to create the impression that the King himself was responsible. It was hoped that the difficult conditions would be sufficient to arouse enough people to join those already hired so that it would appear that the revolution was indeed one with popular support. The conspirators could then control the events and bring about their desired results.

The first of these contrived grievances was the shortage of grain. Webster says:

"Montjoie asserts that agents employed by the Duc d' Orleans deliberately bought up the grain, and either sent it out of the country or concealed it in order to drive the people to revolt."

So the Duc d' Orleans, a member of the Illuminati, purchased large quantities of grain to cause the people to take their grievances to the King whom they were led to believe had caused the shortage. It was, of course, the Illuminati that spread the story that the King had intentionally caused the grain shortage. This tactic is similar to the one detailed by Jan Kozak in his book Not A Shot Is Fired, written about 160 years later.

(Note: this technique was also used to provoke Revolution in Russia.)

The second of these contrived grievances was the enormous debt that caused the government to tax the people to pay for it The national debt was estimated to be 4 1/2 billion livre, worth about $800 million in the dollar of the day. The money had been borrowed by the French government to assist the United States in the American Revolution of 1776. (The connection between the Illuminati of France and the founding fathers of the American Revolution, will be discussed in a later chapter of this book.) It has been estimated that two-thirds of the French debt had been created by those loans.

The third contrived grievance was the false impression that the French people were starving. Dr. Rigby, previously mentioned, stated that: ". . . we have seen few of the lower classes in rage, idleness and misery."

Nesta Webster explained further:

". . . Dr. Rigby continues in the same strain of admiration—an admiration that we might attribute to lack of discernment were it not that it ceases abruptly on his entry into Germany. Here he finds a 'country to which Nature has been equally kind as to France, for it has fertile soil, but as yet the inhabitants live under an oppressive government.' At Cologne, (Germany) he finds that 'tyranny and oppression have taken up their abode.'"

The fourth major grievance caused by the Illuminati and its fellow conspirators in the government was massive inflation which was bankrupting the working classes. 55 million assignats were printed in a short time and this was partially the cause of the shortages. The government's response was to impose food rationing, and this further continued to anger the people. This tactic is, once again, similar to the strategy detailed by Jan Kozak.

The fifth distortion of the truth was the alleged "oppressive" reign of King Louis XVI. The truth is that France was the most prosperous of all the European states prior to the Revolution. France held one-half of the money in circulation in all of Europe, and in the period of 1720 to 1780, foreign trade was multiplied by four. One half of the wealth in France was in the hands of the middle class, and the "serfs" owned more land than anyone else. The King had abolished forced labor on public works in France and had outlawed the use of torture in interrogation. In addition, the king had founded hospitals, established schools, reformed the laws, built canals, drained the marshes to increase the quantity of arable land, and had constructed numerous bridges to ease the flow of goods inside the country.

So in this, the first of several "revolutions" to be reviewed in this book, we see the classic example of the Conspiracy at work. The benevolent King was fostering a rise of the middle class by encouraging a better and healthier society. This situation was intolerable to those who were in the layer just underneath the ruling class, as the rising middle class began to assume power themselves. The conspirators intended to eliminate not only the King and the present ruling class but the middle class as well.

The enemy of the Conspiracy is always the middle class, and in the other revolutions to be reviewed elsewhere in this book, it shall be shown that the Conspiracy foments these contrived "revolutions" for just that purpose.

So the French Revolution was a fraud and hoax. The people were being manipulated for reasons not made known to them.

The invisible hand that guided the entire French Revolution was the Illuminati, only thirteen years in existence, yet powerful enough to cause a revolution in one of the major countries of the world.

But the members of the Illuminati had laid down the plans for the Revolution years before, and had infiltrated another secret group, the Masons: "France's galloping revolution was assisted in the decades previous to 1789 by the growth of the Masonic Brotherhood."

Freemasonry had come to France in 1725, but by 1772, the organization had split into two groups, one of which became known as the Grand Orient Lodge of Freemasonry. The first Grand Master, the equivalent of president, of the Lodge was the Due d' Orleans, also a member of the Illuminati.

The Grand Orient Lodge spread quickly throughout the entirety of France so that by 1789 there were a total of 600 lodges all over France as compared to only 104 in 1772. Members of the Grand Orient were also active in government, as 447 of the 605 members of the Estates General, France's parliament, were members.

The plan of the Illuminati was to infiltrate the Masonic Order, convert it into a branch of the Illuminati, and then use its secrecy as the vehicle to overthrow the monarchy. The new head of the government would be the Due d' Orleans. The strategy worked for a while, but later the Duc suffered the ultimate penalty for his treason against the French government: he died on the guillotine.

What, then, was offered to the French people instead of their old society? What was to be the guiding force behind the new society offered by the Illuminati? That question was answered by an author who has studied the Revolution:

"The French Revolution represented the first attempt to use the religion of reason. . . as the foundation of a new order of society."

In fact, in November, 1793:

". . . the multitude assembled in the Cathedral of Notre Dame to worship the Goddess of Reason, personified by an actress . . . placed naked by government decree upon the altar "

So the French Revolution was created to replace God with the "Goddess of Reason." The conspirators offered the French people the essential program of the the Illuminati: man's mind would solve man's problems.

In spite of all of the evidence of the planning, however, there are still those who believe the French Revolution was the spontaneous activity of an oppressed population rising up against a tyrannical king. Life magazine, in a series of articles on the subject of Revolution, wrote:

"The French Revolution was not planned and instigated by conspirators. It was the result of a spontaneous uprising by the masses of the French people."

There are reasons other than historical ignorance that Life magazine takes this position, and these will be examined later in a subsequent chapter.