Manuscript

Diploma from the Society of Cinncinati

Date: May 5, 1784
Dimensions: 20 x 26 3/4 in
Creator: Society of the Cincinnati
About this artifact

The Society of the Cincinnati was founded in May 1783 at the close of the Revolutionary War by the officers of the Continental Army and some of the French officers who fought on the American side. Its founding document is called the "Institution." The Society is named after the Roman hero Cincinnatus, who was called to lead his country in war, and after victory was secured, refused offers of power in order to return home to his farm. The Institution states, "The officers of the American army having generally been taken from the citizens of America, possess high veneration for the character of that illustrious Roman, LUCIUS QUINTIUS CINCINNATUS; and being resolved to follow his example, by returning to their citizenship, they think they may with propriety denominate themselves ---." George Washington was elected the first President General and held the position until his death in 1799. This diploma certifies that Lieutenant Colonel Hugh Maxwell is a member of the Society and is signed by both Henry Knox and George Washington.

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Courtesy Historic Deerfield, Deerfield, MA