Membership in the Society of the Cincinnati
   
   
   
 

Cincinnati Membership

 

Reproduced by permission of the Society of the Cincinnati

Membership in the Society of the Cincinnati is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious and sought-after accomplishments in the hereditary society community.  The Original Institution made allowance for hereditary membership in the line of the eldest male in each generation, following the rule of primogeniture.  The Institution was initially altered at a gathering of the General Society to exempt hereditary membership.  These changes were not ratified by a number of State Societies, and the alterations to the Institution were never fully approved.  The guidelines of the Original Institution have been in effect since the initiation of the Society of the Cincinnati in 1783.  Each State Society approves candidates who qualify for membership from an officer who served in the respective state line of the Continental Army.

An officer of the Continental Army or Navy could qualify as an Original Member if he (a) served to the end of the war as an officer with a Line (not Militia or State) regiment, (b) resigned with honor after a minimum of three years service, or (c) was rendered supernumerary or was honorably discharged after three years of service. Officers who served with the French forces under Rochambeau or DeGrasse were also eligible.

In 1854, the General Society made membership allowance for those officers who could have become Original Members, but, for whatever reason, did not.  This is generally referred to as the Rule of 1854.  The descendants of those non-Original Member officers may also be eligible for membership.  Hereditary membership is generally passed to the eldest son according to the rule of primogeniture.  When such an individual is lacking, a collateral male descendant may be eligible for membership, if properly qualified and approved by the Society of the Cincinnati.  Only one male descendant may represent an eligible officer at any time.

Presently, all thirteen original State Societies are functional, as well as the French Society, which was reconstituted and accepted as the fourteenth Constituent Society in 1925.  The Societies are respectively:

Society of the Cincinnati in the State of New Hampshire
Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati
Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Connecticut
New York State Society of the Cincinnati
Society of the Cincinnati in the State of New Jersey
The State Society of the Cincinnati of Pennsylvania
Delaware State Society of the Cincinnati
Society of the Cincinnati of Maryland
Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Virginia
North Carolina Society of the Cincinnati
Society of the Cincinnati of the State of South Carolina
Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Georgia
Société des Cincinnati de France 


For information regarding the General Society or any State Societies, please contact Anderson House at:

The Society of the Cincinnati
Anderson House
2118 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C.  20008-2810

Phone:  202-785-2040

   
   
 
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