The Society of the Cincinnati was founded at the close of the Revolutionary War by the officers of the Continental line and their French counterparts, who had served together in the struggle for American independence. They wished to preserve the rights and liberties for which they had fought and to foster the bonds of friendship that had been formed among them during the long years of war. The Society's founding document, the Institution, was adopted on May 13, 1783. The Society took its name from the Roman hero Cincinnatus, the citizen-soldier who was twice called to lead his country in war and, after each each victory, declined offers of power and position to return to his home and plough. George Washington, known as the "Cincinnatus of the West," was elected the Society's first president general, a position he held until his death in 1799.
Now in its third century, the descendants of the original members and other eligible officers have perpetuated the Society of the Cincinnati as a nonprofit educational organization devoted to the principles and ideals of its founders. In addition to a museum and library at Anderson House, the Society supports scholarship, publications, historic preservation efforts and other programs to promote increased knowledge and appreciation of the achievements of American independence. Anderson House, built between 1902 and 1905 as the home of Larz and Isabel Anderson, serves as the national headquarters, library and museum of the Society of the Cincinnati.