Degrees of Freemasonry (American Rite)

1.0.1

"American Rite. It has been proposed, and I think with propriety, to give this name to the series of degrees conferred in the United States. The York Rite, which is the name by which they are usually designated, is certainly a misnomer, for the York Rite properly consists of only the degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason, including in the last degree the Holy Royal Arch. This was the Masonry that existed in England at the time of the revival of the Grand Lodge in 1717. The abstraction of the Royal Arch from the Master's degree, and its location as a separate degree, produced that modification of the York Rite which now exists in England, and which should properly be called the Modern York Rite, to distinguish it from the Ancient York Rite, which consisted of only three degrees. But in the United States still greater additions have been made to the Rite, through the labors of Webb and other lecturers, and the influence insensibly exerted on the Order by the introduction of the Ancient and Accepted Rite into this country. The American modification of the York Rite, or the American Rite, consists of nine degrees,viz. :
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“American Rite. It has been proposed, and I suppose with propriety, to give this name to the collection of ranges conferred within the United States. The York Rite, that’s the name by which they are usually designated, is absolutely a misnomer, for the York Rite properly includes handiest the stages of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason, consisting of in the final degree the Holy Royal Arch. This became the Masonry that existed in England at the time of the revival of the Grand Lodge in 1717. The abstraction of the Royal Arch from the Master’s degree, and its vicinity as a separate diploma, produced that amendment of the York Rite which now exists in England, and which ought to properly be called the Modern York Rite, to distinguish it from the Ancient York Rite, which consisted of only three degrees. But within the United States nonetheless extra additions were made to the Rite, through the labors of Webb and different academics, and they have an effect on insensibly exerted at the Order by the creation of the Ancient and Accepted Rite into this u. S. A… The American modification of the York Rite, or the American Rite, consists of 9 degrees, viz. :

1. Entered Apprentice.
2. Fellow Craft.
Three. Master Mason.
4. Mark Master.
6. Past Master.
6. Most Excellent Master.
7. Holy Royal Arch.
8. Royal Master.
Nine. Select Master.

A tenth degree, called Super-Excellent Master, is conferred in some Councils as an honorary rather than as a regular degree ; but even as such it is repudiated by many Grand Councils. To these, perhaps, should be added three more degrees, namely, Knight of the Red Cross, Knight Templar, and Knight of Malta, which are given in Commanders, and are under the control of Grand Commanders, or, as they are sometimes called. Grand Encampments. But the degrees of the Commander, which are also known as the degrees of Chivalry, can hardly be called a part of the American Rite. The possession of the eighth and ninth degrees is not considered a necessary qualification for receiving them. The true American Rite consists only of the nine degrees, above enumerated. There is, or may be, a Grand Lodge, Grand Chapter, Grand Council, and Grand Commandery in each State, whose jurisdiction is distinct and sovereign within its own territory. There is no General Grand Lodge, or Grand Lodge of the United States ; but there is a General Grand Chapter and a Grand Encampment, to which the Grand Chapters and Grand Commanders of some, but not all, of the States are subject.” – Albert G. Mickey (An Encyclopedia of Freemasonry)

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