19 October 2012

Society of Cincinnati

The Whiskey Rebellion by William Hodgeland, 2006, Excerpts
The officers formed the Society of the Cincinnati, a hereditary organization with a chapter in each state. Every officer of the Continental Army was a member, and each officer’s eldest male descendant, in every future generation, would be a member too. The society unified the families of those who would become the country’s most influential men, creating a hereditary interstate lobby with roots in fear of coup. The society’s president was General Washington.

The Anti-Federalists by Jackson Main, 1961, Edited Excerpts
Veteran army officers formed the Society of Cincinnati, a hereditary, secret organization. The Cincinnati was widely suspected of a design to create permanent nobility and exert political influence. Men of property drew together, and many who had once doubted the value of a strong government, now hailed the prospect, and applauded the Society of Cincinnati which might help to obtain it.

Antifederalists feared the army’s political power and opposed military pensions or any other measure, which would differentiate the army from the general body of the population and contribute to the formation of a military caste. Antifederalists were later to accuse the Society of deliberately fomenting Shay’s Rebellion as part of a deep plot to overturn the government. The officers were accused of attempting to profit at the expense of the people, who had contributed as much as they had to the war and were suffering equally from the depression.

Cincinnati Medal

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