Preamble to the Constitution of The American Legion
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 Goodwill on earth;
To safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of Justice, Freedom and Democracy;
To consecrate and sanctify our comradeship by our devotion to mutual helpfulness.
A Bit of History
At the St. Louis Caucas in May of 1919, the Committee on Constitution presented a simplified temporary constitution that incorporated the Paris draft. This constitution defined local units as posts, prescribed a form of state organization and listed membership criteria. But its greatest feature went unnoticed at the time.
A subcommittee consisting of John C. Greenaway of Arizona, Hamilton Fish of New York and George N. Davis of Delaware had spent long evenings discussing a preamble to the constitution. Each man went into seclusion the night before the St. Louis Caucus to write a draft of the preamble that would include the principles on which they had agreed. Early the next morning, they met to compare their drafts. The version that they adopted later was adopted by the entire committee and by the caucas. It finally was adopted at the Convention in November of 1919.
Incredibly, over the years the preamble has changed only once. In 1942 the word "war" (Great War) was changed to "wars." (Great Wars)