From the Wicked Lexington website:
Suspicion of Freemasonry is nearly as old as the fraternity itself. Since the early 1700s, groups have accused Freemasons of everything from plotting world revolution in their lodge rooms to worshiping Satan in their initiation ceremonies.
Equating Masonic secrecy with darkness, sin, immorality, intemperance, treason, and the devil, anti-Masons have maligned the fraternity with both misconceptions and deliberate misstatements.
For hundreds of years, Freemasons have promoted fellowship, charity and education among its members. Despite this positive mission, they have also needed to battle these mistaken beliefs about the organization.
By looking at anti-Masonry in a historical context, objections to Freemasonry have often accompanied changes in society, such as religious revivals in America to totalitarian regimes in Europe.
In addition to helping understand the history of Freemasonry in America, the anti-Masonic movements and ideas shed light on the social, political and religious history of the United States.
Over time, anti-Masonic propaganda has taken many forms. Exposés of Masonic ritual have been printed since the early 1700s.
In the 1820s and 1830s, following the kidnapping and presumed murder of a former Mason who threatened to publish an exposure of Masonic ritual, Americans began producing anti-Masonic newspapers, almanacs, broadsides and other pieces. During this same period, a political party that promoted anti-Masonic candidates formed.