The Illuminati are believed to have been a subversive splinter from Freemasonry, allegedly founded in Bavaria by Adam Weishaupt in the 1700s. Their goal was believed to be to take over Europe (and the rest of the world) and establish a one-world government, while abolishing organized religion. The Illuminati were said to have been officially disbanded in 1785 by the government of Bavaria, and there is little evidence that they have survived into the modern day. Compare Bogomils
Some people consider the appearance of the eye atop an unfinished pyramid (the so-called "Eye of Providence"), which appears on the back of the US one-dollar bill, means the Founding Fathers were Illuminati operatives or sympathizers. And in fact, amongst them Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, John Paul Jones, and George Washington were Freemasons, and all of them were members of regular Masonic lodges. (Franklin was also a member of the Lunar Society.) Masonic self-proclaimed historians also maintain that an unfinished pyramid would have never been a Masonic emblem. In addition, George Washington publicly condemned and denounced "the nefarious, and dangerous plan, and doctrines of the Illuminati...." when an attempted revolution by French Man Edward Genet failed.
Illuminati was founded in Ingolstadt, Bavaria on May 1, 1776 by the philosopher Adam Weishaupt to oppose the Jesuits. The membership grew slowly. From 1780 to 1783 the Illuminati owned 3,000 members. In 1985 the Illuminati were banned by the Bavarian government.