Legion History

Preamble

For God and Country we associate ourselves together for the following purposes:

  • To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America;
  • To maintain law and order;
  • To foster and perpetuate a one hundred percent Americanism;
  • To preserve the memories and incidents of our associations in the great wars;
  • To inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, state and nation;
  • To combat the autocracy of both the classes and the masses;
  • To make right the master of might;
  • To promote peace and good-will on earth;
  • To safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy;
  • To consecrate and sanctify our comradeship and our devotion to mutual helpfulness.

For a PDF version, visit the American Legion website at http://www.legion.org/documents/pdf/preambleinterpretation.pdf


A group of 20 officers who served in France during World War I is credited with creating the Legion as a means of improving troop morale. One of these officers, Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., proposed its expansion to a veterans organization. In March, 1919, a a gathering of about 1,000 officers and enlisted men, known as the Paris Caucus, adopted a temporary constitution and the name The American Legion. A second organizing caucus was held in St. Louis, Missouri, in May 1919, to complete the constitution and form a permanent organization. Congress granted the Legion a national charter in September of that year.

Today, the Legion numbers nearly three million members, in about 15 thousand American Legion Posts worldwide. These Posts are organized into 55 Departments; one for each state, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, France, Mexico and the Philippines.

The American Legion seeks to advance and protect the aims and interests of veterans, continue the camaraderie of military service, and see that disabled veterans and family members receive care and help when needed. The American Legion plays a major role in programs that promote patriotism and the American way of life at local, regional, state and national levels, including a wide range of community service, educational and charitable programs.

Legionnaires take a quiet pride in their wartime service to America and, equally, that they still serve their communities and the nation.