Illuminati
Overview
 
The Illuminati is a name given to several groups, both real (historical) and fictitious. Historically the name refers to the Bavarian Illuminati, an Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

-era secret society
Secret society
A secret society is a club or organization whose activities and inner functioning are concealed from non-members. The society may or may not attempt to conceal its existence. The term usually excludes covert groups, such as intelligence agencies or guerrilla insurgencies, which hide their...

 founded on May 1, 1776. In more modern contexts the name refers to a purported conspiratorial organization which is alleged to mastermind events and control world affairs through government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

s and corporation
Corporation
A corporation is created under the laws of a state as a separate legal entity that has privileges and liabilities that are distinct from those of its members. There are many different forms of corporations, most of which are used to conduct business. Early corporations were established by charter...

s to establish a New World Order. In this context the Illuminati are usually represented as a modern version or continuation of the Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

n Illuminati.
The movement was founded on May 1, 1776, in Ingolstadt
Ingolstadt
Ingolstadt is a city in the Free State of Bavaria, in the Federal Republic of Germany. It is located along the banks of the Danube River, in the center of Bavaria. As at 31 March 2011, Ingolstadt had 125.407 residents...

 (Upper Bavaria
Upper Bavaria
Upper Bavaria is one of the seven administrative regions of Bavaria, Germany.- Geography :Upper Bavaria is located in the southern portion of Bavaria, and is centered around the city of Munich. It is subdivided into four regions : Ingolstadt, Munich, Bayerisches Oberland , and Südostoberbayern...

) as the Order of the Illuminati, with an initial membership of five, by Jesuit-taught Adam Weishaupt
Adam Weishaupt
Johann Adam Weishaupt was a German philosopher and founder of the Order of Illuminati, a secret society with origins in Bavaria.-Early life:...

 (d.
Encyclopedia
The Illuminati is a name given to several groups, both real (historical) and fictitious. Historically the name refers to the Bavarian Illuminati, an Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

-era secret society
Secret society
A secret society is a club or organization whose activities and inner functioning are concealed from non-members. The society may or may not attempt to conceal its existence. The term usually excludes covert groups, such as intelligence agencies or guerrilla insurgencies, which hide their...

 founded on May 1, 1776. In more modern contexts the name refers to a purported conspiratorial organization which is alleged to mastermind events and control world affairs through government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

s and corporation
Corporation
A corporation is created under the laws of a state as a separate legal entity that has privileges and liabilities that are distinct from those of its members. There are many different forms of corporations, most of which are used to conduct business. Early corporations were established by charter...

s to establish a New World Order. In this context the Illuminati are usually represented as a modern version or continuation of the Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

n Illuminati.

History

The movement was founded on May 1, 1776, in Ingolstadt
Ingolstadt
Ingolstadt is a city in the Free State of Bavaria, in the Federal Republic of Germany. It is located along the banks of the Danube River, in the center of Bavaria. As at 31 March 2011, Ingolstadt had 125.407 residents...

 (Upper Bavaria
Upper Bavaria
Upper Bavaria is one of the seven administrative regions of Bavaria, Germany.- Geography :Upper Bavaria is located in the southern portion of Bavaria, and is centered around the city of Munich. It is subdivided into four regions : Ingolstadt, Munich, Bayerisches Oberland , and Südostoberbayern...

) as the Order of the Illuminati, with an initial membership of five, by Jesuit-taught Adam Weishaupt
Adam Weishaupt
Johann Adam Weishaupt was a German philosopher and founder of the Order of Illuminati, a secret society with origins in Bavaria.-Early life:...

 (d. 1830), who was the first lay professor of canon law
Canon law
Canon law is the body of laws & regulations made or adopted by ecclesiastical authority, for the government of the Christian organization and its members. It is the internal ecclesiastical law governing the Catholic Church , the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches, and the Anglican Communion of...

 at the University of Ingolstadt
University of Ingolstadt
The University of Ingolstadt was founded in 1472 by Louis the Rich, the Duke of Bavaria at the time, and its first Chancellor was the Bishop of Eichstätt. It consisted of five faculties: humanities, sciences, theology, law and medicine, all of which were contained in the Hoheschule...

. It was made up of freethinkers
Freethought
Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and should not be influenced by authority, tradition, or other dogmas...

 as an offshoot of the Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

 and seems to have been modeled on the Freemasons
History of Freemasonry
The history of Freemasonry studies the development, evolution and events of the fraternal organization known as Freemasonry. This history is generally separated into two time periods: before and after the formation of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717...

. The Illuminati's members took a vow of secrecy and pledged obedience to their superiors. Members were divided into three main classes, each with several degrees, and many Illuminati chapters drew membership from existing Masonic lodges.

Originally Weishaupt had planned the order to be named the "Perfectibilists". The group has also been called the Bavarian Illuminati and its ideology has been called "Illuminism". Many influential intellectuals and progressive politicians counted themselves as members, including Ferdinand of Brunswick and the diplomat Xavier von Zwack, the second-in-command of the order. The order had branches in most European countries: it reportedly had around 2,000 members over the span of ten years. It attracted literary men such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer, pictorial artist, biologist, theoretical physicist, and polymath. He is considered the supreme genius of modern German literature. His works span the fields of poetry, drama, prose, philosophy, and science. His Faust has been called the greatest long...

 and Johann Gottfried Herder
Johann Gottfried Herder
Johann Gottfried von Herder was a German philosopher, theologian, poet, and literary critic. He is associated with the periods of Enlightenment, Sturm und Drang, and Weimar Classicism.-Biography:...

 and the reigning dukes of Gotha
Gotha (district)
Gotha is a Kreis in the middle of Thuringia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Unstrut-Hainich, Sömmerda, the district-free city Erfurt, Ilm-Kreis, Schmalkalden-Meiningen and the Wartburgkreis.-History:...

 and Weimar
Weimar
Weimar is a city in Germany famous for its cultural heritage. It is located in the federal state of Thuringia , north of the Thüringer Wald, east of Erfurt, and southwest of Halle and Leipzig. Its current population is approximately 65,000. The oldest record of the city dates from the year 899...

.

In 1777 Karl Theodor
Charles Theodore, Elector of Bavaria
Charles Theodore, Prince-Elector, Count Palatine and Duke of Bavaria reigned as Prince-Elector and Count palatine from 1742, as Duke of Jülich and Berg from 1742 and also as Prince-Elector and Duke of Bavaria from 1777, until his death...

 became ruler of Bavaria. He was a proponent of Enlightened Despotism and his government banned all secret societies including the Illuminati. Internal rupture and panic over succession preceded its downfall, which was affected by the Secular Edict made by the Bavarian government. The March 2, 1785 edict "seems to have been deathblow to the Illuminati in Bavaria." Weishaupt had fled and documents and internal correspondences, seized in 1786 and 1787, were subsequently published by the government in 1787. Von Zwack's home was searched to disclose much of the group's literature.

Barruel and Robison

Between 1797 and 1798 Augustin Barruel
Augustin Barruel
Abbé Augustin Barruel was a French Jesuit priest. He is now mostly known for setting forth the conspiracy theory involving the Bavarian Illuminati and the Jacobins in his book Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism published in 1797...

's Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism
Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism
Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism is a book by the French Jesuit, the Abbé Augustin Barruel....

and John Robison
John Robison (physicist)
John Robison FRSE was a Scottish physicist and mathematician. He was a professor of philosophy at the University of Edinburgh....

's Proofs of a Conspiracy both publicized the theory that the Illuminati had survived and represented an ongoing international conspiracy, including the claim that it was behind the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

. Both books proved to be very popular, spurring reprints and paraphrases by others (a prime example is Proofs of the Real Existence, and Dangerous Tendency, Of Illuminism by Reverend Seth Payson, published in 1802). Some response was critical, such as Jean-Joseph Mounier
Jean Joseph Mounier
Jean Joseph Mounier was a French politician and judge.He was born at Grenoble . He studied law, and in 1783 obtained a judgeship at Grenoble. He took part in the struggle between the parlements and the court in 1788, and promoted the meeting of the estates of Dauphiné at Vizille , on the eve of...

's On the Influence Attributed to Philosophers, Free-Masons, and to the Illuminati on the Revolution of France.

Robison and Barruel's works made their way to the United States. Across New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

, Reverend Jedidiah Morse
Jedidiah Morse
Jedidiah Morse was a notable geographer whose textbooks became a staple for students in the United States. He was the father of Samuel F. B. Morse, the man who developed Morse code.-Early life and education:...

 and others sermonized against the Illuminati, their sermons were printed, and the matter followed in newspapers. The concern died down in the first decade of the 1800s, though had some revival during the Anti-Masonic movement
Anti-Masonic Party
The Anti-Masonic Party was the first "third party" in the United States. It strongly opposed Freemasonry and was founded as a single-issue party aspiring to become a major party....

 of the 1820s and 30s.

Modern Illuminati

In addition to the supposed shadowy and secret organization, several modern fraternal groups claim to be the "heirs" of the Bavarian Illuminati and have openly used the name "Illuminati" in founding their own rites. Some, such as the multiple groups that call themselves by some variation on "The Illuminati Order", use the name directly in the name of their organization, while others, such as the Ordo Templi Orientis
Ordo Templi Orientis
Ordo Templi Orientis is an international fraternal and religious organization founded at the beginning of the 20th century...

, use the name as a grade of initiation within their organization.

Modern conspiracy theory

Writers such as Mark Dice
Mark Dice
Mark Dice is an author, pop culture critic, and political activist based in San Diego, California.Dice and his supporters have been reported to "flood the airwaves of call-in radio and television shows," a practice called phone mobbing, to promote these ideas. His first book, a 450-page manifesto...

, David Icke
David Icke
David Vaughan Icke is an English writer and public speaker, best known for his views on what he calls "who and what is really controlling the world." Describing himself as the most controversial speaker in the world, he has written 18 books explaining his position, and has attracted a substantial...

, Texe Marrs
Texe Marrs
Texe W. Marrs is an American conspiracy theorist, who runs a Christian ministry called Living Truth Ministries, based in Austin, Texas.He was previously an officer in the United States Air Force and a faculty member at the University of Texas....

, Ryan Burke, Jüri Lina and Morgan Gricar have argued that the Bavarian Illuminati survived, possibly to this day. Many of these theories propose that world events are being controlled and manipulated by a secret society
Secret society
A secret society is a club or organization whose activities and inner functioning are concealed from non-members. The society may or may not attempt to conceal its existence. The term usually excludes covert groups, such as intelligence agencies or guerrilla insurgencies, which hide their...

 calling itself the Illuminati. Conspiracy theorists have claimed that many notable people were or are members of the Illuminati. Presidents of the United States are a common target for such claims.

A key figure in the conspiracy theory
Conspiracy theory
A conspiracy theory explains an event as being the result of an alleged plot by a covert group or organization or, more broadly, the idea that important political, social or economic events are the products of secret plots that are largely unknown to the general public.-Usage:The term "conspiracy...

 movement, Myron Fagan, devoted his latter years to finding evidence that a variety of historical events from Waterloo
Battle of Waterloo
The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday 18 June 1815 near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, then part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands...

, The French Revolution, President John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

's assassination and an alleged communist plot to hasten the New World Order by infiltrating the Hollywood film industry, were all orchestrated by the Illuminati.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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