Commercial Providence: The Secret Destiny of the American Empire is a book written by Patrick Mendis in which he puts forward a new theory about the founding conviction and commercial vision of the Founding Fathers of the United States. In his book, Commercial Providence: The Secret Architecture of the American Empire (2010), the author reveals the anatomy of America’s Special Providence and explains the commercial meaning expressed in the ancient symbols and the secret architectural design of Washington, D.C. In the fictional narrative of The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown links both of these to Freemasons. Mendis, however, offers up a more complete understanding of the historical narrative associated with symbolism in the capital.

Origin and Summary of the Theory

The theory of Commercial Providence is directly linked to the Founding Fathers, especially George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, two of the most famous Freemasons, who collectively held an ancient belief that America’s Special Providence was associated with a more secular idea of God, i.e., what they called “Nature’s God.” At the birth of our new nation, the Founders maintained “God [Providence] had favored their undertakings,” or Annuit Coeptis, as shown on the Great Seal of the United States. These founding architects were building a monument to “Nature’s God” as they understood it when they designed the nation’s capital to correspond with three stars that form a celestial triangle in the sky above Washington, D.C.

Within this triangle lies the Virgo constellation, which had a great deal of symbolic importance to Masonic leaders like Washington, Franklin, Paul Revere, and others who had intimate knowledge of Freemasonry and symbolism. In astrology, Virgo is ruled by Mercury, the Roman god of commerce, innovation and communication. The hope of these Founding Fathers, expressed in this symbolism, was that America would also be led by commerce, innovation and communication. Not only did the architects incorporate this astrological and esoteric knowledge into the architecture of the capital, but they also embedded this ideology into the U.S. Constitution by designing our nation to be a “Commercial Republic” in which the Union was joined together through trade and commerce—not religion, as is frequently debated today.

The American Project born of Freemasonry

The 2009 historic scene at the joint-session of Congress—where mixed race President Obama flanked working class Vice President Joe Biden and female Speaker Nancy Pelosi—can also be seen as a dramatic testament to the “ancient hope” manifested through Commercial Providence and E Pluribus Unum, “out of many, one.” In his theory, Dr. Mendis, an affiliate professor of public and international affairs at George Mason University, meticulously connects all of these seemingly lesser-known historical facts and present-day evidence to explain America’s evolving role in the world—from the voice of dissent to a powerful force for the export of American idealism through commerce with foreign nations.

Professor Mendis summarizes the book with a quote from Alexis de Tocqueville in his Democracy in America (1835): “Providence has given us a torch which our forefathers did not possess, and has allowed us to discern fundamental causes in the history of the world which the obscurity of the past concealed from them.” To that end, the theory of Commercial Providence is a masterful deciphering of the founding ideas and ideals shared by the Freemasons and their notion of Universal Brotherhood and symbolism, which has indelibly marked both the capital architecture and national governance.

The book essentially decodes the secret architecture of our nation’s capital masterminded by the first president of the United States, and recognizes Washington, D.C. as a “Masonic City” in which Egyptian and Greco-Roman symbols were used to signify America’s global mission. There are no icons that sanctify Christianity—a glaring omission that has certainly led to a heyday for conspiracy theorists and Christian fundamentalists. Mendis explains the attraction of commerce over religion, and uncovers the “public secret” of Freemasonry in achieving Thomas Jefferson’s Empire of Liberty through Alexander Hamilton’s global strategy of trade, commerce and finance. Not unlike Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, the theory of Commercial Providence is an evidence-based exposition of historical and present-day symbolism that points to America’s secret destiny as the founder of a global Empire of Liberty.