The original members of the Society of the Cincinnati mutually pledged to perpetuate the memory of the American Revolution and “to render permanent the cordial affection subsisting among the officers.” In joining the Society, every member accepts responsibility for fulfilling this pledge.

The restricted nature of membership imposes a responsibility to participate in the life of our organization. In most cases, only one descendant of a qualified officer can be a hereditary member of the Society. If you have the honor to represent an officer of the Revolutionary War in the Society of the Cincinnati, you should honor him by participating. Membership should not be taken lightly or regarded as a hereditary entitlement without obligation.

Members are expected to honor their propositus by supporting the Society’s aim through participation in the Society’s fraternal activities, financial support of the Society’s programs, and, to the extent practical, volunteer service to the Society. The fraternal life of the Society is open to all members. Every member, regardless of his means, can support the Society’s programs through financial contributions. George Washington himself practiced and encouraged philanthropy, urging others to "let your hand give in proportion to your purse." The Society does not charge dues, but it does expect every member to make voluntary contributions to the Annual Giving campaigns. Many members also make additional contributions to special projects that support our educational mission and sustain our headquarters, Anderson House. Our ancestors were volunteers, and the spirit of voluntary participation and sacrifice is central to our Society’s identity.

Outside the Society, members are also called upon to emulate Cincinnatus and the heroes of our Revolutionary War by serving the republic without regard to reward for their service. Although the modern Society is not a military organization, it has its roots in the military service of its founders and honors and respects military service to the republic, particularly by members of the Society. Whatever their role in life, members are called to promote and cherish our national honor and to work “to preserve inviolate those exalted rights and liberties of human nature” for which our ancestors fought.