The Office of the President General
The presiding officer of the Society of the Cincinnati, as specified by the Institution, is the president general. George Washington was named the first president general of the Society at a meeting of the founding officers on June 19, 1783, and he was reelected to the office at each general meeting of the Society until the time of his death in 1799. When Alexander Hamilton was elected to succeed Washington in 1800, Martha Washington sent him her husband's Diamond Eagle, which has subsequently been worn by every president general as the official badge of the office.
Seven original members of the Society served as president general in succession until 1847, when the last Revolutionary War veteran to hold the office, William Popham, died and Henry A. S. Dearborn became the first hereditary member to be elected to the position. By tradition, the early presidents general held the office for life; Hamilton Fish was the Society's longest serving president general with a tenure of thirty-nine years. Since 1950, each president general has been elected for no more than one three-year term.
Today, the president general is the senior general officer of the Society of the Cincinnati. He presides over its Standing Committee, Board of Directors, and Executive Committee; appoints officials; coordinates the management of the Society's affairs with the executive director; and serves as the Society's chief ceremonial official.