An overly cocky fraternity brother challenges an Amateur Boxer to a street fight during the school’s spring break festival. Looking to get the upper hand he decides to throw a sucker punch but forgot one of the most important parts of Boxing. . . Head movement.
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A fraternity (from Latin frater: “brother”; “brotherhood”), fraternal order or fraternal organization is an organization, a society or a club of men associated together for various religious or secular aims. Fraternity in the Western concept developed in the Christian context, notably with the religious orders in the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages. A notion eventually further extended with the middle age guilds, followed by the early modern formation of gentlemen’s clubs, freemasons, odd fellows, student fraternities, and fraternal service organizations. Members are occasionally referred to as a brother or – usually in religious context – Frater or Friar.
Today, connotations of fraternities vary according to context including companionships and brotherhoods dedicated to the religious, intellectual, academic, physical or social pursuits of its members. Additionally, in modern times, it sometimes connotes a secret society especially regarding freemasonry, odd fellows, various academic and student societies. Although membership in fraternities was and mostly still is limited to men, ever since the development of orders of Catholic sisters and nuns in the Middle Ages and henceforth, this is not always the case. There are mixed male and female fraternities and fraternal orders, as well as wholly female religious orders and societies, or sororities. Notable modern fraternities or fraternal orders that with time have evolved to more or less permit female members, include some grand lodges operating among freemasons and odd fellows.
There are known fraternal organizations which existed as far back as ancient Greece and in the Mithraic Mysteries of ancient Rome. Analogous institutions developed in the late medieval period called confraternities, which were lay organizations allied to the Catholic Church. Some were groups of men and women who were endeavoring to ally themselves more closely with the prayer and activity of the Church; others were groups of tradesmen, which are more commonly referred to as guilds. These later confraternities evolved into purely secular fraternal societies, while the ones with religious goals continue to be the format of the modern Third Orders affiliated with the mendicant orders.
The development of modern fraternal orders was especially dynamic in the United States, where the freedom to associate outside governmental regulation is expressly sanctioned in law. There have been hundreds of fraternal organizations in the United States, and at the beginning of the 20th century the number of memberships equaled the number of adult males. (Due to multiple memberships, probably only 50% of adult males belonged to any organizations.) This led to the period being referred to as “the Golden age of fraternalism.” In 1944 Arthur M. Schlesinger coined the phrase “a nation of joiners” to refer to the phenomenon. Alexis de Tocqueville also referred to the American reliance on private organization in the 1830s in Democracy in America.