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The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) is a Louisville, Kentuckymarker-based fraternal organization in the United Statesmarker. It is a 5013 non-profit corporation that describes its purpose as "maintaining and extending the institutions of American freedom, an appreciation for true patriotism, a respect for our national symbols, the value of American citizenship, and the unifying force of e pluribus unum that has created, from the people of many nations, one nation and one people."

The organization should not be confused with the Sons of the Revolution (GSSR), a separate organization.


Membership in the society is open to any male of "good repute" who is at least 18 years of age who can prove lineal bloodline descent from an ancestor who actively supported the American Revolution. Acceptable ancestors include military veterans of the American Revolutionary War, including those who served in the Continental Army, Continental Navy, and state militias and navies; signers of the Declaration of Independence; members of the Continental Congress; and civilians who provided arms or supplies to the American cause, served on political bodies supporting the Revolution, signed oaths of allegiance, or those who gave similar support to the Patriot cause. Descendants of soldiers and sailors from allied nations such as France and Spainmarker who fought in support of American independence may also be eligible. No chapter may discriminate against an applicant on the basis of race or creed.

The society claims a membership of 26,000 members in over 470 chapters in 50 state societies in the United Statesmarker, as well as branches in Canadamarker, Francemarker, Germanymarker, Switzerlandmarker, and the United Kingdommarker.


The first organization of descendants of Revolutionary War patriots was established in San Francisco, Californiamarker in 1876. A group of men who were descendants of Revolutionary War veterans gathered to celebrate the centennial of the Declaration of Independence and the founding of the United States. This group formed an organization called the Sons of Revolutionary Sires (SRWS). There is, however, no direct link between the SRWS and the SAR except that members of the SRWS were permitted to join the SAR after its founding in 1889.

The history of the SAR can be traced to the founding of the Sons of the Revolution (SR) the New York Society of which was organized in 1883. The SR was founded by John Austin Stevens who envisioned an aristocratic social and hereditary organization along the lines of the Society of the Cincinnatimarker. In 1889 William Osborn McDowell, a New Jersey financier and businessman, organized the New Jersey Society of the Sons of the Revolution but was unwilling to accept the SR's requirement that other state societies be subordinate to the New York society. Furthermore, McDowell wanted the society to become more of a mass movement of descendants of Revolutionary patriots rather than an exclusive social club. As a result, McDowell organized the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) at Fraunces Tavernmarker in New York on April 30, 1889. This was the centennial for the inauguration of George Washington as the First President of the United States of America in 1789. SAR member Number #1 was McDowell. William McDowell worked with six women to organize the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution on July 29, 1890.

The SAR was formally granted a congressional charter by an act of Congress under Title 36 of the United States Code on June 6, 1906. The act was signed by President Theodore Roosevelt, who was a member.


The society is involved in historical research, raising funds for local scholarships and educational awards, and preservation of sites and documents related to the American Revolution. It is also active in cataloging and marking Revolutionary War patriot graves and conducts an annual Eagle Scout scholarship program. Several SAR societies and chapters have active color guard groups that appear in various public and private venues as a means of community outreach.

National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution Museum

The Society's headquarters in Louisville, Kentuckymarker features original and copied art that commemorates important people and events of the Revolutionary War, as well as uniforms, flags and documents. Visitation is free.

Partial list of notable SAR members

See also: :Category:Sons of the American Revolution

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