A statue of a Confederate general, Albert Pike (1809-1891), stands on a pedestal at the foot of Capitol Hill, near the Department of Labor building, the only statue of a Confederate general on federal property in Washington, D.C. Pike was honored, not as a commander, but as a leader of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry.
Albert Pike was born in Boston on Dec. 29, 1809. He studied at Harvard and was considered a genius, able to read and write in 16 languages. At various stages of his life he was a frontiersman, journalist, poet, philosopher, crusader for Native Americans, prominent Washington lawyer and a Civil War general.
In 1831 Pike moved to Independence, Mo., where he joined an expedition to Taos, N.M. His horse broke down and Pike was forced to walk the remaining 500 miles. In 1833 he settled in Arkansas where he purchased and published a newspaper. He studied law and passed the bar in 1837. He became the first reporter for the Arkansas Supreme Court and wrote a book titled The Arkansas Form Book, a guidebook for lawyers.
During the Mexican-American War, Pike joined the cavalry and was commissioned as a troop commander. He later got into a duel with his own commander over differences of opinion. Although several shots were fired, no one was injured and the two combatants were persuaded by their seconds to call it quits.
After the war, Pike settled in New Orleans in 1853 where he practiced law and wrote a book about Roman and French law. In 1857 he returned to Arkansas and made several contacts with Native American tribes in the area. On their behalf, he negotiated an $800,000 settlement between several tribes and the federal government.
When the Civil War started, Pike was appointed as Confederate envoy to the Native Americans and negotiated several more treaties. In November of 1861 Pike was commissioned as a brigadier general and given a command in the Indian Territory where he trained three Confederate regiments. Once again, Pike butted heads with his military superiors, this time resulting in an order for his arrest for insubordination. Rather than face military discipline, Pike turned in his resignation in absentia and escaped into the Arkansas hills.
After the Civil War, Pike relocated to New York and later to Canada. In 1865 President Andrew Jackson, a fellow Freemason, gave him a formal pardon for his military misdeeds, which were found to be lacking in evidence. Free to practice law once again, Pike became an associate justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court. In 1867 he practiced law in Memphis, Tenn., where he also served as editor of the newspaper Memphis Appeal. He finally moved his law office to Washington, D.C., in 1870 and became editor of the Patriot newspaper.
As a 33rd degree Mason, Pike was a founding father and leader of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in the southern United States. From 1859 until his death, he was Grand Commander of North American Freemasonry.
On May 1, 1776 (the original May Day), a Bavarian anarchist named Adam Weishaupt formed a secret society known as the Illuminati (the "enlightened ones"). Its ultimate goal was the formation of a one world government that would be covertly controlled by the secret society.
In 1834 Giusseppe Mazzini, an Italian who later founded the Mafia, was selected by the Illuminati to head worldwide operations. Mazzini recruited Pike into the Illuminati. Pike liked the idea of a one world government and wrote a ritual tome to guide like-minded Masons into the top rank (33rd degree), a secret Illuminati tier within the Freemason structure. Of the tome, Mazzini wrote, "Through this supreme rite, we will govern all Freemasonry which will become one international center, the more powerful because its direction will be unknown."
Near Hot Springs, Ark., you can travel along Albert Pike Road into the Ouachita Mountains where you will discover a series of magnificent formations known as Albert Pike Rocks.
Some men live lives of quiet desperation. Others dare to ride into the valley of death with gusto.