There are Three Societies composed of men who had ancestors living in this country at the time of the Revolutionary War.
FIRST, The Society of the Cincinnati was organized in 1783 by Washington and his associate officers in order to foster friendly relations between all classes, to promote and cherish union and honor between the respective states, and to unite them under a constitution that would forever safeguard American institutions. In order to insure loyal and efficient organization through which an army of defense might easily be mobilized in case of necessity, the membership in this Society was restricted to officers who held commissions in the Continental Army. This Society is perpetrated through a continuous line of descent passing from eldest son to eldest son.
SECOND, Convinced that organized patriotic efforts should keep pace with the growth of our country, and believing it would be unwise to make provision therefor through a change in the Constitution of the Society of the Cincinnati, members of that Society, in 1875, took steps that brought about the organization, February 22, 1876, of the Society of the Sons of the Revolution, membership therein being restricted to men who had at least one ancestor who was aggressively engaged in important constructive service in behalf of American Independence during the Revolutionary War.
THIRD, Failing to induce the Society of the Sons of the Revolution to make its membership requirements less restrictive, a group of persons in 1889 organized the Sons of the American Revolution, admitting to membership therein not only those who were eligible to membership in the Society of the Cincinnati and Sons of the Revolution, but also persons whose only claim for consideration was that an ancestor, sometime during the Revolutionary period served as a Selectmen, Town Clerk, Town Treasurer, Justice of the Peace, signed the Association Test, took the Oath of Fidelity, took the Oath of Allegiance, served on a Coroner's jury, or did any of several other things, which instead of being specifically mentioned in their Constitution, are provided under the term of "recognized patriots."