The Society of the Cincinnati has over 4,400 members residing in the United States, France, and more than twenty-five other countries. The youngest hereditary members are in their twenties. The oldest are over one hundred. A few members—great-great grandsons of their propositi—are only four generations removed from the officers of the Revolutionary War. Some of the youngest members—great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandsons of their propositi—are nine generations removed. Some are direct descendants in an unbroken male line of members reaching back to the founding of the Society. Many more have joined since the mid-nineteenth century, when a change in membership rules allowed for the representation of otherwise qualified Continental officers who, for whatever reason, never joined the Society.
Regardless of these differences, the members of the Society of the Cincinnati share a personal connection to the officers in the Continental and French service who secured the independence of the United States. They also share a spirit of brotherhood with one another as fellow members of the oldest hereditary society in the United States. The Society was founded by the men whose service in the Revolutionary War it celebrated, rather than having been founded by descendants of those officers. While fellowship is at the heart of the Society, education is at its soul as we strive never to let America's revolutionary ideals be forgotten.
Hereditary members of the Society are qualified male descendants of commissioned officers who served in the Continental Army or Navy, or of officers of the French royal forces who served in America during the Revolutionary War. Each member is admitted to one of the fourteen constituent societies (representing the original thirteen states and France) established in 1783.
Anyone, whether they qualify for Society membership or not, can join us as an Associate of the American Revolution Institute of the Society of the Cincinnati. The Associates share our enthusiasm and contribute to our cause to perpetuate the memory of the people and events that secured our national independence, created our national identity, and articulated our highest ideals by supporting scholarly inquiry, good teaching, and popular understanding of the importance and legacy of the American Revolution.