A favorite target for conspiracists today as well as in the past, a group of European intellectuals created the Order of the Illuminati in May 1776, in Bavaria, Germany, under the leadership of Adam Weishaupt (Atkins, 2002). In this regard, Stewart (2002) reports that, "The 'great' conspiracy organized in the last half of the eighteenth century through the efforts of a number of secret societies that were striving for a 'new order' of civilization to be governed by a small group of 'all-powerful rulers.' The most important of these societies, and the one to which all subsequent conspiracies could be traced, is the Illuminati founded in Bavaria on May 1, 1776 by Adam Weishaupt" (p. 424). According to Atkins, it was Weishaupt's fundamental and overriding goal to form a secret organization of elite members of Europe's leading citizens who could then strive to achieve the Enlightenment version of revolutionary social change; the order's original tenets included an opposition to superstition, a rejection of organized Christianity, and an acceptance of free love (Stewart, 2002). When authorities in Bavaria became aware of the organization's existence after lightning killed a courier who was carrying documents from leaders of the Illuminati 1785, they were alarmed at the presence of this secret society in their midst and the order was outlawed in 1786 (Stewart, 2002).
Despite this legal setback, the Illuminati continued to exert some degree of influence on the social order the Jacobins embracing a number of ideas from the Illuminati during the French Revolution (Atkins, 2002). This continuing influence was the source of further official condemnations of the order. For instance, a French cleric historian by the name of Abbe Baruel suggested that the Illuminati were actually the inspiration for the French Revolution in 1797; Baruel regarded the Illuminati as being complicit in an overall assault on Christianity which was began by the Order of Templars in the Middle Ages and continued to modern times by Freemasons (Atkins, 2002). Besides the foregoing, in 1797, a professor of natural philosophy at Edinburgh University named John Robison wrote a book entitled Proofs of a Conspiracy; in this text, the author maintained that the Illuminati had in fact already insinuated themselves within Masonic lodges (Atkins, 2002).
According to Stewart (2002), the main objective of the Illuminati was to replace all existing human institutions in order to create a single, socialist government that would be capable of controlling the entire world. The order was headed by of a small group of secretive and powerful members that have been labeled the "Insiders" in order to avoid any distracting controversy concerning which of the order's leaders were communists or not. As Stewart reports, "Weishaupt set forth the methods and objectives of his Order of the Illuminati that continues to the present day, including ruthless undermining of rulers and governments, destruction of religion, use of professional agitators to foment mob action, massive use of terror to silence opposition, and manufactured smears to destroy opposition" (p. 425). In fact, Stewart goes so far as to suggest that Welch had identified an continuous chain of organizations and events from 1776 to 1966 that were attributable to a single source, which was the Illuminati, and maintains that this group was the theretofore undiscovered association between big government and communism (Stewart, 2002). While most observers would likely not go so far as this assertion, the fact remains that the Illuminati were responsible for some profound changes in the social order that ultimately had an enormous impact on the practice of business. For instance, during the 1840s, the Insiders fueled a number of revolts throughout Europe in an effort to overthrow existing governments because the French Revolution did not succeed in catalyzing the European population into widespread uprisings as yet (Stewart, 2002).
In 1848, conspiracists believe that the Illuminati under the auspices of the Insiders promulgated the organization's original so-called "Declaration of Purposes," which was in fact the more well-known Communist Manifesto; the Declaration of Purposes was published under the umbrella of Communism and was authored by Karl Marx (Stewart, 2002). In fact, modern conspiracists believe that the communist movement was simply another "tool of the total conspiracy" which was in reality the organization's action plan to achieve its nefarious goals of installing a "new world order" with a world government controlled by the Insiders (Stewart, 2002). Having successfully reorganized the Russian sphere, Stewart reports that from 1850 on, the Insiders focused on the United States as the next step in its world domination plans; in order to achieve its goals in North America, though, the Insiders would have to compel President Abraham Lincoln to approve a graduated income tax, which was a founding position of the Communist Manifesto (Stewart, 2002). Furthermore, Stewart emphasizes that, "Under the guise of communists, socialists, and anarchists, Insiders promoted the Illuminati's purposes in the United States, all under the pretense of promoting freedom, equality, and brotherhood" (2002, p. 426).
During the 30-year period from 1890 to 1920, the Illuminati's Insiders are alleged to have organized the populist and progressive movements in an push for a more collectivist government in the United States and through the proposition and enactment of various governmental regulations, a "central banking apparatus" (i.e., the Federal Reserve System), the ability to control of the economy, and social "security" laws including workmen's compensation (Stewart, 2002). Thereafter, and in what was perhaps one of the more influential initiatives attributed to the Illuminati on modern business, was their action in 1913 when they are alleged to have coordinated the requisite amendments to the U.S. Constitution that were required to enact an income tax (Article XVI) and for the direct election of senators (Article XVII), steps that diminished the power of the several states (Stewart, 2002). Indeed, Stewart suggests that the latter initiative represented an enormous move to consolidate powers in the executive department of the federal government. According to this author, "F. R. Duplantier, associate editor of The New American, claimed 'It had taken a civil war and two depressions to condition the American people to lower their guard against this clear threat to their personal liberty and the sovereignty of their states'" (quoted in Stewart at p. 426).
Although it is fairly spurious to suggest that the Illuminati were behind every initiative that took place during the late 19th and throughout the 20th century, it is clear that some authorities believe they were in fact responsible for moving the world towards a one-government arrangement wherein the Insiders would be in control. In this regard, Stewart advises, "The principle and hidden purpose of all these actions by visionary do-gooders and opportunistic politicians was to reduce the responsibilities and rights of individual citizens, while steadily increasing the quantity, reach, and the potential tyranny of governments" (p. 427). From the perspective of like-minded authorities, democracy and communism were less relevant than the fundamental goal behind their creation and sustainment. As Stewart emphasizes, "Notice the ever-present link between expanding government and communism, both created with one goal in mind, a new world order" (Stewart, 2002, p. 427).
Today, members of the Skull & Bones have managed to get the United States and its increasingly reluctant allies inextricably involved in shooting wars in two Middle Eastern nations, with the promise of a third (and maybe a fourth) in the offing while the Cheney-Halliburton insiders continue to profit. In a similar fashion, Stewart suggests that, "The Insiders instigated World War I but gave themselves away when they claimed it was an effort to make the world safe for democracy rather than republics, democracy being a code word for socialism. In 1917, the conspiracy financed and directed Lenin and Trotsky to seize power in Russia" (p. 427). Following the Russian Revolution, Stewart adds that, "The Communist arm of the conspiracy has come to be regarded, however inaccurately, as its whole body. This perception allowed Insiders to benefit from Communist progress, without themselves having carried a Communist card or belonged to the Communist Party and led misguided people and officials to see communism as the sole threat" (Stewart, 2002, p. 427).
Two years later, in 1919, various Illuminati Insiders collaborated with the so-called "internationalists" to compel the United States to join the doomed League of Nations, an international organization that would evolve into the modern United Nations which was part and parcel of their overall plans to install a one-government global enterprise. In this regard, Stewart advises, "When their League of Nations scheme failed because the U.S. Senate balked at this surrender of American sovereignty, Insiders founded the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). The CFR's primary purpose was to trash sovereignty in exchange for global government" (p. 427).
By 1933, the CFR, which represented the primary agency of the Insiders in the United States at the time, helped to arrange the…