May 1, 1776: The Bavarian Illuminati is formed. Adam Weishaupt was a Jesuit trained German philosopher. Born in 1748, he was only five when his father died. He came under the tutelage of his godfather, Johann Adam Freiherr von Ickstatt who taught law at the University of Ingolstadt, as had the senior Weishaupt. Ickstatt influenced the young child with the philosophy of Christian Wolff as well as that of the Enlightenment. Adam began his formal education under the Jesuits at the age of seven. He graduated from the University of Ingolstadt in 1768 with a doctorate of law and in 1772 became a professor of law. After the suppression of the Jesuits by Pope Clement XIV, Adam became a professor of canon law, which up to that time had been taught exclusively by Jesuits.
On this day, he founded the Illuminati in the Electorate of Bavaria. He took the name of Brother Spartacus within the order. The order itself we non-egalitarian and not run democratically. The entire society was a group of spies and counterspies with each cell reporting to an unknown superior. This structure was adopted by many other later groups. Adam was initiated into the Masonic Lodge in 1777 and tried to combine the two groups into a means of enlightening the world with an understanding of reason to dispel superstition and prejudice. He became disenchanted with the rule of both religion and government.
Both secular and religious abuses were brought to light by the Illuminati and the group even went so far as to propose gender equality and the education of women. The freethinking members took a vow of secrecy and pledged obedience to their superiors even as they proselytized for freedom and equality. The members were divided into three main groups, each of which had several degrees or levels and many chapters drew membership from the existing Masonic lodges. One of their prime goals was a separation of church and state, specifically the interference of the Roman Catholic Church in European government. Many of the leading intellectuals of the time counted themselves as members and branches opened in many European countries.
In 1777 Karl Theodor became ruler of Bavaria. He outlawed secret societies and had backing from the Church. Dissention within the group swelled and a government edict of March 2, 1785 increased panic and disruption. Adam had fled and his documents and correspondence were seized. Other ranking or famous members were also under scrutiny. The society was vilified by authority but before the end of the century, books were published leading to theories that the Illuminati still survived. Today, there are many societies claiming to come from this original freethinking enlightened group. They are also named in many current conspiracy theories.
Follow the evidence wherever it leads. – Socrates
The world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes. – Benjamin Disraeli
None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Give me control of a nations money supply and I care not who makes the laws – Mayer Amschel Rothschild
Also on this day: Spam Begins – In 1978 DEC sends out the first spam e-mail.
Figaro – In 1786, Mozart’s opera, The Marriage of Figaro premiered.
Plant Taxonomy – In 1753, Species Plantarum was published.
Mother’s Day Founder – In 1864 Anna Marie Jarvis was born.