The American Legion, Inc., is a U.S. wartime veterans organization
formed in Paris, on March 15, 1919, by three officers of the American
Expeditionary Forces (AEF) The
American Legion was chartered by the
Congress on September 16, 1919. It is headquartered in Indianapolis,
Indiana, and has a legislative office in Washington, D.C. The
Legion played the leading role in drafting and passing of the
Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, otherwise known as, the "GI
In addition to organizing commemorative events, volunteer veterans
operating through The
American Legion support activities and provide
assistance at Veterans Administration hospitals and clinics. The
Legion is active in issue-oriented
United States politics. Its primary
political activity is lobbying on behalf of interests of veterans and
service members, including support for veterans benefits such as
pensions and the Veterans Health Administration. The veterans
organization has also historically promoted "Americanism".
2.1 19th century
2.2 1915 American Legion
2.3 Post World
Paris Caucus (March 15–17, 1919)
2.3.2 The St. Louis Caucus (May 8–10, 1919)
2.3.3 Founding Convention (November 10–12, 1919)
2.3.4 Departments and posts overseas
2.3.5 Centralia Massacre of 1919
2.5 1930s to 1950s
2.6 1960s to 1980s
2.7 1990s to present
6 Notable members
7 List of Past National Commanders
8 List of Past National Commanders by Vote of National Conventions
9 List of Honorary National Commanders
10 See also
13 Further reading
14 External links
Veterans who served at least one day of active duty during wartime, or
are serving now, are potentially eligible for membership in The
American Legion. Members must have been honorably discharged or still
serving honorably. Merchant Marines who served from December 7, 1941,
to December 31, 1946, are also eligible.
War or conflict
Southwest Asia and Global
War on Terrorism
August 2, 1990
December 20, 1989
January 31, 1990
Lebanon and Grenada
August 24, 1982
July 31, 1984
February 28, 1961
May 7, 1975
June 25, 1950
January 31, 1955
December 7, 1941
December 31, 1946
War I veterans were also eligible during their lifetimes; the
last American World
War I veteran, Frank Buckles, died in 2011.
War or conflict
April 6, 1917
November 11, 1918
Membership peaked for The
American Legion right after World
when enrollments doubled from 1.7 million to 3.3 million. After the
Korean War, there were 2.5 million Legionnaires. As the baby boomers
joined, its membership increased to 3.1 million in 1992. However,
membership has slowly been decreasing since then. In 2013, National
Headquarters of The
American Legion reported 2.3 million members.
The aftermath of two American wars in the second half of the 19th
century had seen the formation of several ex-soldiers' organizations.
Union Army soldiers of the American Civil
War of 1861–65
established a fraternal organization called the Grand Army of the
Republic (GAR), while their Southern brethren would join together in
United Confederate Veterans
United Confederate Veterans (UCV). Both organizations emerged
as powerful political entities, with the GAR serving as a mainstay of
the Republican Party, which controlled the Presidency from the Civil
War through William Howard Taft's administration except for the two
terms of office of Grover Cleveland. In Southern politics the UCV
maintained an even more dominant position as a bulwark of the
Democratic Party which dominated there. The conclusion of the brief
Spanish–American conflict of 1898 ushered in another soldiers'
organization, the American Veterans of Foreign Service, today known as
Veterans of Foreign Wars
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the
United States (VFW).
1915 American Legion
The Legion believes in making instantly available to our country, in
case of war, all men who already have military or technical training
valuable in modern warfare by land or sea. Members of the Legion
enroll themselves in advance for this purpose to be used as the
Government (not they themselves) may see fit, according to their
Adventure (November 1915)
Concerned about the United States' absence from the world war and the
preparedness of its army and navy, magazine editor Arthur Sullivant
Hoffman and writer Stephen Allan Reynolds founded The American Legion
in February 1915, inspired by a letter from reader E. D. Cook.
They lobbied government to strengthen the military. They held a
preparedness parade in
New York City
New York City and made a film America Prepare
 Officers included Theodore Roosevelt, Arthur S. Hoffman, William
Howard Taft, Elihu Root, Jacob M. Dickinson,
Henry L. Stimson
Henry L. Stimson and Luke
E. Wright, George von L. Meyer,
Truman H. Newberry
Truman H. Newberry and Charles J.
Bonaparte. Its officers were at 10 Bridge Street, New York City.
In 1917, when war was declared the Legion had 23,000 members
skilled in 77 professions pledged to fight. Their pledge cards were
shared with the government and ultimately used to raise two regiments
of air mechanics. The Legion was discorporated in 1917.
With the termination of hostilities in World
War I in November 1918,
some American officers who had been participants in the conflict began
to think about creating a similar organization for the two million men
who had been on European duty. The need for an organization for
former members of the AEF was pressing and immediate. With the war at
an end, hundreds of thousands of impatient draftees found themselves
trapped in France and pining for home, certain only that untold weeks
or months lay ahead of them before their return would be logistically
possible. Morale plummeted. Cautionary voices were raised
about an apparent correlation between disaffected and discharged
troops and the Bolshevik uprisings taking place in Russia, Finland,
Germany and Hungary.
This situation was a particular matter of concern to Lt. Col. Theodore
Roosevelt, Jr., eldest son of the 26th President. One day in January
1919, he had a discussion at General Headquarters with a mobilized
National Guard officer named George A. White, a former newspaper
editor with the Portland Oregonian. After long discussion, he
suggested the establishment at once of a new servicemen's organization
including all members of the AEF, as well as those soldiers who
remained stateside as members of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps
during the war without having been shipped abroad. He and White
advocated ceaselessly for this proposal until ultimately they found
sufficient support at headquarters to move forward with the plan.
John J. Pershing
John J. Pershing issued orders to a group of 20 non-career
officers to report to the
Paris on February 15, 1919. The
selection of these individuals had been made by Roosevelt. They
were joined with a number of regular Army officers Pershing selected
Twenty National Guard and Reserve officers serving in the A. E. F.,
representing the S. O. S., ten infantry divisions, and several other
organizations, were ordered to report in Paris. . . . Included in this
number were Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., of the First
Division, Lieutenant Colonel
Franklin D'Olier of the S. O. S., and
Eric Fisher Wood
Eric Fisher Wood of the 88th Division. All of these
officers have since told me that when they left their divisions they
were distinctively permeated with the desire to form a veterans'
organization of some comprehensive kind. When they got to
immediately went into conference with the other officers. . . . A
dinner was spread in the Allied Officers' Club, Rue Faubourg St.
Honore, on the night of February 16th... At that dinner the American
Legion was born.
The Story of The
American Legion (1919)
The session of reserve and regular officers was instructed to provide
a set of laws to curb the problem of declining morale. After three
days, the officers presented a series of proposals, including
eliminating restrictive regulations, organizing additional athletic
and recreational events, and expanding leave time and entertainment
programs. At the end of the first day, the officers retired to the
Inter-Allied Officers Club, a converted home across the street from
YMCA building. There Lt. Col. Roosevelt told them his proposal
for a new veterans' society. Most of those present were rapidly
won to Roosevelt's plan. The officers decided to make all of their
actions provisional until an elected convention of delegates could be
convened and did not predetermine a program for the unnamed veterans
organization. Instead, they chose to expand their number with a
large preliminary meeting which would consist of an equal number of
elected delegates to represent both enlisted men and commissioned
A provisional executive committee of four people emerged from the
February 15 "Roosevelt dinner": Roosevelt in the first place, who was
to return to the
United States and obtain his military discharge when
able, and then to gather assistants and promote the idea of the new
veterans' organization among demobilized troops there; George White,
who was to travel France touring the camps of the AEF explaining the
idea in person; Secretary of the group was veteran wartime
administrator Eric Fisher Wood, together with former
Ralph D. Cole, Wood was to establish a central office and to maintain
contact by mail and telegram with the various combat divisions and
headquarters staffs, as well as to publicize activities to the
Preparations for a convention in
Paris began apace. A convention call
was prepared by Wood and "invitations" distributed to about 2,000
officers and enlisted men and publicized in the March 14, 1919 issue
of Stars and Stripes. The convention call expressed the desire to
form "one permanent nation-wide organization...composed of all
parties, all creeds, and all ranks who wish to perpetuate the
relationships formed while in military service." In addition to
the personal invitations distributed, the published announcement
indicated that "any officer or enlisted man not invited who is in
Paris at the time of the meeting is invited to be present and to have
a voice in the meeting." The conclave was slated to begin on March
The site of Ferdinand Branstetter Post No. 1 of The
American Legion is
a vacant lot in Van Tassell, Wyoming, where the first American Legion
post in the
United States was established in 1919. The post was named
after Ferdinand Branstetter, a Van Tassell resident who died in World
War I. The structure housing the post has since been demolished. The
site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969.
In 1969, it was hoped that an interpretative sign would be put up, and
also possibly that a restored post building would be constructed.
The first post of The American Legion, General John Joseph Pershing
Post Number 1 in Washington, D.C., was organized on March 7, 1919, and
obtained the first charter issued to any post of the Legion on May 19,
1919. The St. Louis caucus that same year decided that Legion posts
should not be named after living persons, and the first post changed
its name to George Washington Post 1. The post completed the
constitution and made plans for a permanent organization. It set up
temporary headquarters in
New York City
New York City and began its relief,
employment, and Americanism programs.
Congress granted The
American Legion a national charter in September
American Legion China Post One, formed in 1919 one year after the
"great war" and chartered by The
American Legion on April 20, 1920,
was originally named the General
Frederick Townsend Ward
Frederick Townsend Ward Post No. 1,
China. It is the only Post nominally headquartered in a Communist
country, and has been operating in exile since 1948 – presently
in Fate, Texas.
Paris Caucus (March 15–17, 1919)
Photograph taken by a photographer who slipped in a half-hour before
the session began, with more than half the
Paris caucus delegates
Having immediately received a blizzard of acceptances to attend the
opening of the "Liberty League Caucus", as he had begun to refer to
it, Temporary Secretary
Eric Fisher Wood
Eric Fisher Wood began to search for use of a
room of sufficient size to contain the gathering. The Cirque de
Paris had been retained, a large, multisided amphitheater sufficient
to accommodate a crowd of about 2,000. Delegates began to assemble
from all over France. The 10:00 am scheduled start was delayed due to
various logistical problems, with a beginning finally made shortly
after 2:45 pm.
As "Temporary Chairman" Teddy Roosevelt, Jr. had already departed for
America, the session was gaveled to order by Eric Wood, who briefly
recounted Roosevelt's idea and the story of the 20 AEF officers who
had jointly helped to give the new organization form. In his
keynote opening remarks Wood recommended to the delegates of the
Paris Caucus that they do three things: first, set up an
apparatus to conduct a formal founding conference in the United States
sometime in the winter; second, the body should draft a tentative name
for the organization; and finally, the body should compose a
provisional constitution to be submitted to the founding convention
for its acceptance or rejection.
William G. Price Jr.
William G. Price Jr. was selected to preside. Convention rules
were decided upon and four 15-member committees were chosen. The
Committee on Name reported back that they had considered a dozen
potential names, including Veterans of the Great War, Liberty League,
American Comrades of the Great War, Legion of the Great War, and The
American Legion, among others. This list was whittled down to five
ranked choices for the consideration of the Caucus, with "The American
Legion" the preferred option. It was noted in passing during the
course of debate on the topic that Teddy Roosevelt, Jr. had been
responsible for an earlier organization called "The American Legion"
in 1914, a "preparedness" society with a claimed membership of 35,000
which had been absorbed into the
Council of National Defense
Council of National Defense in
The Committee on Constitution reported with a report containing the
draft of a Preamble for the organization, specifying organizational
objectives. This document stated that the group
... desiring to perpetuate the principles of Justice, Freedom, and
Democracy for which we have fought, to inculcate the duty and
obligation of the citizen to the State; to preserve the history and
incidents of our participation in the war; and to cement the ties of
comradeship formed in service, do propose to found and establish an
Association for the furtherance of the foregoing purposes.
The majority report of the Committee on Convention recommended that 11
am on November 11, 1919—one year to the hour after the termination
of hostilities in World
War I—be selected as the date and time for
the convocation of a national convention. No location was
The Committee on Permanent Organization recommended an organization
based upon territorial units rather than those based upon military
organizations, governed by an Executive Committee of 50, with half of
these coming from the officer corps and the other half coming from the
ranks of enlisted men.
The St. Louis Caucus (May 8–10, 1919)
This cover of the first official organ of The American Legion
emphasizes the unemployment problem facing many ex-soldiers during the
Paris Caucus in March was by its nature limited to soldiers of the
AEF who remained in Europe; a parallel organizational meeting for
those who had returned to the American preparatory to a formal
organizational convention was deemed necessary. This was a conclave
dominated by the presence of Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., who called the
convention to order amidst mass chanting akin to that of a
Presidential nominating convention—"We Want Ted-dy! We Want
A minor crisis followed when Roosevelt twice declined nomination for
permanent chairman of the session, to the consternation of many
overwrought delegates, who sought to emphasize the symbolism of
President Theodore Roosevelt's son maintaining the closest of
connections with the organization.
The work of the St. Louis Caucus was largely shaped by the fundamental
decisions made by the earlier
Paris Caucus. Its agenda was in addition
carefully prepared by a 49-member "Advance Committee", which included
at least one delegate from each fledgling state organization and which
drew up a draft program for the organization in advance of the
As time before the scheduled start of the convention was short,
delegation to the assembly was highly irregular. On April 10, 1919,
Eric Fisher Wood
Eric Fisher Wood mailed a letter to the Governor
of every state, informing them of the forthcoming gathering and making
note of the non-partisan and patriotic nature of the League.
Follow-up cables by Roosevelt and Wood encouraged the organization of
state conventions to select delegates. This was, however, largely
a failed formality, as states lacked sufficient time to organize
themselves and properly elect delegates to St. Louis. In practice,
the fledgling organization's provisional Executive Committee decided
to allow each state delegation twice as many votes at that state had
United States House of Representatives and left it to each to
determine how those votes were apportioned.
Participants at the St. Louis Caucus were enthusiastic although the
session was not a productive one. Fully two days were invested
choosing ceremonial officers and selecting
Minneapolis as the site for
the organization's formal Founding Convention in the fall. Over
1100 participants competed to gain the floor to speechify, leading one
historian to describe the scene as a "melee" in which "disorder
reigned supreme." Consequently, passage of the program by the
gathering was largely a pro forma exercise, rushed through during the
session's last day, with the actual decision-making process involving
such matters as the constitution and publications of the organization
being done in committee at night.
The preamble of the constitution adopted in St. Louis became one of
the seminal statements of the Legion's orientation and objectives:
For God and Country we associate ourselves together for the following
To uphold and defend the Constitution of the
United States of America;
to maintain law and order; to foster and perpetuate a 100 Percent
Americanism; to preserve the memories and incidents of our association
in the Great War; 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 prosperity
the principles of justice, freedom, and democracy; to consecrate and
sanctify our comradeship by devotion to mutual helpfulness.
The St. Louis Caucus spent much of its time discussing resolutions:
whether a stand should be taken on the League of Nations, Prohibition,
or the implementation of universal military service, whether posts
composed of Negro soldiers should be established, and whether
Newton D. Baker
Newton D. Baker should be impeached for his apparent
leniency towards conscientious objectors in the months after the
A particularly hard line was taken towards the American radical
movement, with one resolution passed on the final day calling on
Congress to "pass a bill or immediately deporting every one of those
Bolsheviks or Industrial Workers of the World." Minneapolis,
Minnesota was chosen for the site of the founding convention of the
organization in November over the more centrally-located
much acrimonious debate about the perceived political transgressions
Chicago city administration.
Founding Convention (November 10–12, 1919)
Hundreds of thousands of African-Americans were in segregated units in
War I, mostly assigned to non-combat duties. The early American
Legion left the question of integration, the formation of segregated
"Negro" posts, or exclusion of black soldiers from membership
altogether up to the states and the posts themselves, often resulting
in gross disparities of opportunity.
The formal founding convention was held in
Minneapolis, Minnesota from
November 10 to 12, 1919. It was attended by 684 delegates from around
the United States.
From the outset The
American Legion maintained a strictly nonpartisan
orientation towards electoral politics. The group wrote a specific
prohibition of the endorsement of political candidates into its
...this organization shall be absolutely non-political and shall not
be used for the dissemination of partisan principles or for the
promotion of the candidacy of any person seeking public office or
preferment; and no candidate for or incumbent of a salaried elective
public office shall hold any office in The
American Legion or in any
branch or post thereof.
One semi-official historian of the organization has noted the way that
this explicit refusal to affiliate with one or another political party
had the paradoxical effect of rapidly building great political power
for the organization, as politicians from both of the "old parties"
competed for the favor of the Legion's massive and active
One of the gathering's primary accomplishment was the establishment of
a permanent National Legislative Committee to advance the Legion's
political objectives as its lobbying arm. The first iteration of
this official Washington, D.C.-based lobby for the Legion included
only four members—two Republicans and two Democrats. After 1920
the National Legislative Committee was expanded to consist of one
member from each state, with additional effort made at the state level
to exert pressure upon various state legislatures.
Chief on the Legion's legislative agenda was a dramatic improvement of
the level of compensation for soldiers who suffered permanent
disability during the war. At the time of the end of World
American law stated that soldiers who suffered total disability were
to receive only the base pay of a Private—$30 per month. The
Legion concentrated its lobbying effort in 1919 on passage of
legislation increasing payment for total disability suffered in the
war to $80 a month—a sum roughly sufficient in dollars of the day to
provide a living wage. Those partially disabled by their wounds
were to receive lesser payments. A flurry of lobbying by the
Legion's National Legislative Committee in conjunction with cables
sent to Congressional leaders by National Commander Franklin D'Olier
helped achieve passage of this legislation by the end of 1919.
The American Legion's chief base of support during its first years was
among the officers corps of the reserves and the National Guard.
The size of the regular army was comparatively small and its
representation in the League in its earliest days was even more
limited. Consequently, for nearly two decades The American Legion
maintained a largely isolationist perspective, best expressed in three
resolutions passed by the
Minneapolis founding convention:
1. That a large standing army is uneconomic and un-American. National
safety with freedom from militarism is best assured by a national
citizen army and navy based on the democratic principles of equality
of obligation and opportunity for all.
2. That we favor universal military training and the administration of
such a policy should be removed from the complete control of any
exclusively military organization or caste.
3. That we are strongly opposed to compulsory military service in time
Additional resolutions passed by the founding convention emphasized
the need for military preparedness, albeit maintained through a
citizens' army of reservists and National Guardsmen rather than
through the costly and undemocratic structure of a vast standing army
led by a professional military caste. This nationalist
isolationism would remain in place until the very eve of American
entry into the Second World War.
Departments and posts overseas
On November 9, 1919, the National Headquarters of The American Legion
accredited Lt. Col. Francis E. Drake as the Commander of The
Department of France; on February 7, 1921, in the National Executive
Committee meeting held at Washington D.C., the Department of France
was created with Posts in Belgium, France, Germany, Poland and
Turkey. On April 20, 1920,
American Legion China Post One,
originally formed in 1919 and named General Frederick Townsend Ward
Post No. 1, was chartered in Shanghai. During the lead up to World War
II, members assisted retired US Army Captain
Claire Lee Chennault
Claire Lee Chennault in
formation of the American "Flying Tigers" and the Republic of China
Air Force. The Post has been operating in exile since
1948—presently in Fate, Texas.
Centralia Massacre of 1919
Main article: Centralia Massacre (Washington)
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In this political cartoon from the Portland Telegram a Legionnaire
prepares to hit a ball labeled "Bolshevism" with a rifle butt labeled
"100 per cent Americanism" beside a quote from Theodore Roosevelt:
"Don't argue with the reds; go to bat with them and go to the bat
November 11, 1919, the first anniversary of
Armistice Day and the
occasion of The American Legion's formal launch at its Minneapolis
Founding Convention, was also a historical moment of violence and
controversy. On that day a parade of Legionnaires took place in the
mill town of Centralia, located in Southwestern Washington. Plans
were made by some of the marchers at the conclusion of their patriotic
demonstration to storm and ransack the local hall maintained by the
Industrial Workers of the World, a labor union founded 14 years
earlier at a convention of socialists, anarchists, Marxists and
radical trade unionists from all over the United States, which had
been the target of multiple arrests, large trials, and various
incidents of mob violence nationally during the months of American
participation in World
War I. Plans for this less-than-spontaneous
act of violence had made their way to the ears of the union members
(commonly referred to as Wobblies), however, and 30 or 40 IWW members
had been seen coming and going at their hall on the day of the
march—some of whom were observed carrying guns.
At 2.00 pm the march began at the city park, led by a marching band
playing "Over There." Marchers included Boy Scouts, members of the
local Elks Lodge, active-duty sailors and marines, with about 80
members of the newly established Centralia and Chehalis American
Legion posts bringing up the rear. As the parade turned onto Tower
Avenue and crossed Second Street, it passed IWW Hall on its left.
The parade stopped and Legionnaires surrounded the hall.
Parade Marshal Adrian Cormier rode up on horseback and, according to
some witnesses, blew a whistle giving the signal to the Legionnaires
to charge the IWW headquarters building. A group of marchers
rushed the hall, smashing the front plate glass window and attempting
to kick in the door. Just as the door gave way, shots were fired
from within at the intruders. This provided the signal to other
armed IWW members, who were stationed across the street to set up a
crossfire against potential invaders and they also began firing on the
Legionnaires. In less than a minute the firing was over, with
three AL members left dead or dying and others wounded.
Taken by surprise by the armed defense of IWW headquarters, many
Legionnaires rushed home to arm themselves, while others broke into
local hardware stores to steal guns and ammunition. Now armed, a
furious mob reassembled and charged the IWW Hall again, capturing six
IWW members inside. The mob proceeded to destroy the front porch
of the hall and a large bonfire was built, upon which were torched the
local Wobblies' official records, books, newspapers and
One local Wobbly named
Wesley Everest escaped through a back door when
he saw the mob approaching the hall. He fled into nearby woods,
exchanging gunshots with his pursuers. One of those chasing the
fleeing IWW man was hit in the chest several times with bullets and
was killed, running the death count of Legionnaires to four.
Everest was taken alive, kicked and beaten, and a belt wrapped around
his neck as he was dragged back to the town to be lynched. Local
police intervened, however, and Everest was taken to jail, where he
was thrown down on the concrete floor. At 7:30 pm, on cue, all
city lights in town went out for 15 minutes and Legionnaires stopped
cars and forced them to turn out their headlights. The Elks Hall
gathering entered the jail without meeting resistance and took Wesley
Everest, dragging him away to a waiting car but leaving other
incarcerated Wobblies in jail cells unhindered. A procession of
six cars drove west to a railroad bridge across the Chehalis
A rope was attached to Everest's neck and he was pushed off the
bridge, but the lynching attempt was bungled and Everest's neck was
not snapped by the fall. Everest was hauled up again, a longer
rope was substituted, and Everest was pushed off the bridge again.
The lynch mob then shined their car headlights on the hanging form of
Everest and shot him for good measure.
Although a mob milled around the jail all night, terrorizing the
occupants, no further acts of extra-legal retribution were taken.
Everest's body was cut down the next morning, falling into the
riverbed below, where it remained all day. As night fell Everest's
body was hauled back to town, the rope still around his neck, where it
was refused by local undertakers and left on the floor of the jail in
sight of the prisoners all night. No charges were ever filed in
connection with the lynching.
Twelve IWW members were ultimately indicted by a grand jury for first
degree murder in connection with the killing of the four Legionnaires
and a local left wing lawyer was charged as an accessory to the
crime. A January 1920 trial resulted in the conviction of six
defendants on charges of second degree murder.
American Legion Convention held in New Orleans, 1922
American Legion was very active in the 1920s. The organization was
formally non-partisan, endorsing candidates of no political party.
Instead the group worked to the spread of the ideology of Americanism
and acted as an lobbying organization on behalf of issues of
importance to veterans, with particular emphasis on winning a
"soldier's bonus" payment from the government and for the alleviation
of the unemployment to which many soldiers returned. The Legion also
served a strong social function, building and buying "clubhouses" in
communities across America at which its members could gather, reflect,
network, and socialize.
The Legion's efforts to promote Americanism during the 1920s included
urging its members to report on publication materials perceived to be
subversive, left-wing, or reflective of radical foreign political
views, and established a National Americanism Commission to oversee
its actions related to subversive activities. It commissioned the
development of textbooks that promoted American patriotism, worked
with members of the
National Education Association
National Education Association to promote the
teaching of history from an American perspective, and sought the
removal of textbooks it saw as "un-American". It also supported
legislation restricting immigration and seditious speech, and used
its influence in an effort to deny public forums to speakers whose
views it opposed.
In 1924, the Legion, led by its lobbyist Col. John Thomas Taylor,
and other veterans organizations won their battle for additional
compensation for World
War I veterans with the passage of the World
War Adjusted Compensation Act. Most payments were scheduled to be paid
American Legion Commander
Alvin Owsley cited Italian Fascism
as a model for defending the nation against the forces of the
left. Owsley said:
If ever needed, The
American Legion stands ready to protect our
country's institutions and ideals as the Fascisti dealt with the
destructionists who menaced Italy!... The
American Legion is fighting
every element that threatens our democratic government—Soviets,
anarchists, IWW, revolutionary socialists and every other red.... Do
not forget that the Fascisti are to Italy what The
American Legion is
to the United States.
The Legion invited Mussolini to speak at its convention as late as
American Legion was instrumental in the creation of the U.S.
Veterans' Bureau, now known as the Department of Veterans Affairs. The
Legion also created its own
American Legion Baseball
American Legion Baseball Program, hosting
national tournaments annually from 1926.
Commander Travers D. Carmen awarded
Charles Lindbergh its
"Distinguished Service Medal", the medal's first recipient, on July
American Legion national convention was held in
September 1927. A major part of this was drum and bugle corps
competition in which approximately 14,000 members took part.
1930s to 1950s
American Legion Memorial Bridge in Traverse City, Michigan, was
completed in 1930. The Traverse City city commission decided to
purchase dedication plaques for $100 at the request of The American
Legion in 1930.
Sons of the American Legion
Sons of the American Legion formed at The American Legion's 14th
National Convention in Portland, Oregon, on September 12–15, 1932.
Membership is limited to the male descendants of members of The
American Legion, or deceased individuals who served in the armed
forces of the
United States during times specified by The American
In the spring of 1933, at the very beginning of his presidency,
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt sought to balance the federal
budget by sharp reductions in veterans benefits, which constituted one
quarter of the federal budget. The
Economy Act of 1933 cut disability
pensions and established strict new guidelines for proving
American Legion generally supported the FDR
administration and the Act, while the VFW was loudly opposed. After a
VFW convention heard speeches denouncing FDR's programs, The American
Legion invited Roosevelt to speak and he won the convention's support.
Nevertheless, the Legion's stance was unpopular with its membership
and membership plummeted in 1933 by 20% as 160,000 failed to renew
their memberships. The VFW then campaigned for a "Bonus Bill" that
would immediately pay World
War I veterans what they were due in 1945
under the 1924 World
War Adjusted Compensation Act. The Legion's
failure to take a similar position allowed the much smaller, less
prestigious VFW to rally support while accusing the Legion of ties to
the FDR Administration and business interests.
In December 1933, retired General Smedley Butler, a popular and
colorful speaker, toured the country on behalf of the VFW, calling on
veterans to organize politically to win their benefits. Butler
American Legion was controlled by banking interests. On
December 8, 1933, explaining why he believed veterans' interests were
better served by the VFW than The American Legion, he said: "I said I
have never known one leader of The
American Legion who had never sold
them out–and I mean it." In November 1934, Butler told the New
York Evening Post and a congressional subcommittee that
representatives of powerful industrial interests and The American
Legion were trying to induce him to lead the Legion in a campaign to
preserve the gold standard and to engineer a coup against President
Roosevelt with Butler's aid in marshaling the support of veterans.
Everyone implicated denied involvement and the press gave the story
Nevertheless, Butler's charges, elaborated by articles in the
Communist newspaper New Masses, gave birth to an enduring conspiracy
theory, known as the Business Plot, that powerful business interests
in alliance with the Legion planned to overthrow the federal
In 1935, the first Boys' State convened in Springfield, Illinois. The
American Legion's first National High School Oratorical Contest was
held in 1938.
After the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane, which killed about 480 former
servicemen and women, the Legion was very critical of the government
and the safety of the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration
camps. When Col. Taylor testified about the event in front of the
House Committee on World
War Veterans’ Legislation in 1937, he tried
to have the Legion’s report "Murder at Matecumbe" read into the
Congressional Record. He was stopped by Chairman John Elliott Rankin
and asked to leave a copy for the committee to review. It was made
clear that the copy would not be put into the record.
In 1942, the Legion adopted the practice of the VFW to become a
perpetual organization, rather than die off as its membership aged as
that of the
Grand Army of the Republic
Grand Army of the Republic was rapidly doing. The Legion's
charter was changed to allow veterans of World
War II to join.
Throughout the 1940s, The
American Legion was active in providing
support for veterans and soldiers who fought in World
War II. The
American Legion wrote the original draft of the Veterans Readjustment
Act, which became known as the GI Bill. The original draft is
preserved at the Legion's National Headquarters. It was passed in 1944
by a conservative coalition in Congress that want to reach practically
all wartime veterans, as opposed to the Roosevelt administration that
wanted a much smaller program limited to a small elite. The
American Legion mobilized its members across the country and secured
passage in June 1944. Benefits included low-cost mortgages,
low-interest loans to start a business, cash payments of tuition and
living expenses to attend high school, college or vocational/technical
school, as well as one year of unemployment compensation. It was
available to veterans who had been on active duty during the war years
for at least 120 days and had not been dishonorably
discharged—exposure to combat was not required. The Legion helped
veterans fill out the paperwork and obtain the benefits.
Boys Nation program was held in 1946.
Late in 1950, at least some local Legion organizations began to
support Senator Joe McCarthy, sponsoring his appearance at an
"Americanism" rally in Houston. During his speech, the senator falsely
claimed there were 205 Communists in the State Department. The
Legion also took a McCarthyist stance on film, threatening to boycott
any theater that screened director Edward Dmytryk's Salt to the Devil
(also known as Give Us This Day) (1949) because of Dmytryk's
involvement with the blacklist.
At the Legion's 1951 convention at Miami, Florida, it formally
endorsed its "Back to God" movement. When launching the program in
1953 with a national television broadcast that included speeches by
President Eisenhower and Vice-President Nixon, the Legion's National
Commander Lewis K. Gough said it promoted "regular church attendance,
daily family prayer, and the religious training of children."
The Legion's Americanism activities continued through the 1930s to the
1950s. It promoted the passage of state bills requiring loyalty oaths
of school teachers, and supported the activities of anti-Communist
newspaper publishers, including William Randolph Hearst, in
identifying Communist sympathizers in academic institutions. It
was also influential in the creation of state-level legislative
investigations into communist or un-American activities, and
staged a mock Communist takeover of
Mosinee, Wisconsin that garnered
national headlines. Its programs were rejuvenated by increased
membership after World
War II, and in its 1950 convention called for
members of the American Communist Party to be tried for treason. Along
with the VFW, it maintained files on supposed Communist sympathizers,
and it shared the fruits of its research with government
investigators. Local posts picketed films they perceived as
anti-American, and the national organization was formally involved in
Hollywood's efforts to clear films of such influence. The list of
names and organizations the Legion provided to movie studios formed
the basis for the Hollywood blacklist, and supported the work of the
House Un-American Activities Committee
House Un-American Activities Committee and its predecessors before and
during the Cold War. It was unsuccessful in applying pressure to the
movie studios when the blacklist began to crumble in the late
The Legion's political activities were opposed from an early date by
organizations like the
American Civil Liberties Union
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which
characterized them as a danger to political and civil rights. In a
report issued in 1921, the ACLU documented 50 instances of what it
described as illegal acts of violence by Legionnaires. In 1927,
the ACLU reported that the Legion "had replaced the [Ku Klux] Klan as
the most active agent of intolerance and repression in the
country. The Legion, for its part, branded the ACLU as a
un-American organization at every convention it held between 1920 and
1962. In 1952, the Legion asked for a congressional investigation
into the ACLU to determine if it was a communist or communist front
Veterans of the Korean
War were approved for membership in The
American Legion in 1950, and The
American Legion Child Welfare
Foundation was formed in 1954.
1960s to 1980s
American Legion halls are found in cities both large and small, like
this longstanding structure on Pine Street in Minden, Louisiana, which
has for decades hosted military and civic events.
American Legion Memorial Hall in Garden City, Kansas
On May 30, 1969, the Cabin John Bridge, which carried the Capital
Beltway (I-495) across the Potomac River northwest of Washington, was
officially renamed to the "
American Legion Memorial Bridge" in a
ceremony led by Lt. Gen. Lewis B. Hershey, director of the U.S.
Selective Service System.
In 1976, an outbreak of bacterial pneumonia occurred in a convention
American Legion at the Bellevue Stratford Hotel in
Philadelphia. This pneumonia killed 34 people at the convention and
later became known as Legionnaires' disease (Legionellosis). The
bacterium that causes the illness was later named Legionella.
In 1988, after over 44 years of opposing U.S. Merchant seamen from
receiving benefits under the G.I. Bill, they allowed Merchant seamen
to join The American Legion. This followed Merchant seamen
being granted limited veterans status by the
United States Secretary
of the Air Force on January 19, 1988.
After a 1989 U.S. Supreme Court decision (
Texas v. Johnson), The
American Legion launched and funded an unsuccessful campaign to win a
constitutional amendment against harming the flag of the United
States. The Legion formed the Citizens' Flag Honor Guard and it later
became the Citizens Flag Alliance.
1990s to present
American Legion sign, Maine
In 1993, the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts renamed a bridge in the
city of Chicopee to the "
American Legion Memorial Bridge".
Also in 1993, two members of
Garden City, Michigan
Garden City, Michigan American Legion
Post 396 shared an idea that would bond motorcycle enthusiasts in the
Legion from the idea of Chuck Dare and post commander Bill Kaledas,
American Legion Riders. Joined by 19 other founding
members, the group soon found itself inundated with requests for
information about the new group. As a source of information a website
was set up, and it continues to be a source of information worldwide.
By 2009, the
American Legion Riders program had grown to over 1,000
chapters and 100,000 members in the
United States and overseas.
In a letter to U.S. President
Bill Clinton in May 1999, The American
Legion urged the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Operation
Allied Force in Yugoslavia. The National Executive Committee of The
American Legion met and adopted a resolution unanimously that stated,
in part, that they would only support military operations if
"Guidelines be established for the mission, including a clear exit
strategy" and "That there be support of the mission by the U.S.
Congress and the American people."
In 2006, the Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, Steve
Buyer (R-Ind.), announced that he planned to eliminate the annual
congressional hearings for Veterans Service Organizations that was
established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. In response, National
Commander of The
American Legion Thomas L. Bock said, "I am extremely
disappointed in Chairman Buyer's latest effort to ignore the Veterans
Service Organizations. Eliminating annual hearings before a joint
session of the Veterans Affairs Committees will lead to continued
budgetary shortfalls for VA resulting in veterans being
American Legion has criticized the ACLU for using the threat of
attorney fees to pressure locally elected bodies into removing
religion from the public square. As such The American Legion
states that it "is leading a nationwide effort to combat the secular
cleansing of our American heritage", stating that the phrase
"separation of church and state" is nowhere mentioned in the First
Amendment to the
United States Constitution The American Legion
released a document titled "In the Footsteps of the Founders – A
Guide to Defending American Values" to be available to the citizens of
United States of America. The veteran's organization has done
this to curtail religious-establishment cases against the Boy Scouts
and the official display of the
Ten Commandments and other religious
symbols on public property, in coordination with other Christian
In October 2011, National Commander Jimmie L. Foster objected to
courts allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military.
On March 25, 2014, The
American Legion testified before Congress in
favor of the bill "To amend title 38,
United States Code, to
reestablish the Professional Certification and Licensure Advisory
Committee of the Department of Veterans Affairs (H.R. 2942; 113th
Congress)." They argued that the legislation would "benefit service
members, as well as those who eventually employ veterans in civilian
work-force easing the placement of qualified veterans in civilian
careers, and matching civilian employers with skilled veteran
American Legion argued that this committee was
important to the process of matching military certifications with
their corresponding civilian ones, smoothing that transition for
veterans, and that the committee provided much needed expertise on
these matters to the VA. The
American Legion said that "there is a
definite need to resume this independent body with expertise in
matters relating to licensing and credentialing which can present new
solutions to VA's senior leadership and congressional members as well
as other stakeholders."
In 2014, Verna L. Jones was appointed as the first female executive
director of The American Legion. In August 2017, Denise H. Rohan
was elected as the first female national commander of the American
At the state level, The
American Legion is organized into
"departments", which run annual civic training events for high school
juniors called Boys State. Two members from each
Boys State are
selected for Boys Nation. The
American Legion Auxiliary
American Legion Auxiliary runs Girls
State and Girls Nation. In addition to Boys State, The American Legion
features numerous programs including
American Legion Baseball,
Scouting, Oratorical Contests, Junior Shooting Sports, Youth Alumni,
Sons of the American Legion,
American Legion Riders, and Scholarships
at every level of the organization.
The organization's official publication in its initial phase was a
magazine called The
American Legion Weekly, launched on July 4,
1919. This publication switched its frequency and renamed itself
American Legion Monthly in 1926. In 1936 the publication's
name and volume numbering system changed again, this time to American
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American Legion Headquarters is located on the
War Memorial Plaza in Indianapolis. It is the primary office for the
National Commander and also houses the historical archives, library,
Membership, Internal Affairs, Public Relations, and the Magazine
editorial offices. The Legion also owns a building in Washington,
D.C. that contains many of the operation offices such as Economics,
Legislative, Veterans Affairs, Foreign Relations, National Security,
and Media Relations. A National Officer or National Executive
Committee Representative is distinguished by a red garrison cap with
The head department for each state is located in that states capital.
There is a total of 55 lodges; one for each of the 50 states, the
District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, France, Mexico, and the
Philippines. The departments located overseas are intended to allow
active duty military stationed and veterans living overseas to be
actively involved with The
American Legion similar to as if they were
back in the United States. The main Department of France consists of
29 posts located in 10 European counties, the Department of Mexico
consists of 22 posts located in Central America, and the Department of
Philippines covers Asia and the Pacific Islands. A department officer
or department executive committee representative is distinguished by a
white garrison cap with gold piping.
Each Department is divided into Divisions and/or Districts. Each
District oversees several Posts, generally about 20, to help each
smaller group have a larger voice. Divisions are even larger groups of
about four or more Districts. The main purpose of these "larger"
groups (Districts and Divisions) is to allow one or two delegates to
represent an area at conferences, conventions, and other gatherings,
where large numbers of Legionnaires may not be able to attend. A
District Commander is distinguished by a navy blue garrison cap with a
white crown and gold piping.
Each U.S. county comprises several Posts and oversees their
operations, led by a County Council of elected officers. The County
Commander performs annual inspections of the Posts within their
jurisdiction and reports the findings to both the District and the
Department level. A County Commander is distinguished by a navy blue
garrison cap with white piping.
The Post is the basic unit of the Legion and usually represents a
small geographic area such as a single town or part of a county. There
are roughly 14,900 posts in the United States. The Post is used for
formal business such as meetings and a coordination point for
community service projects. Often the Post will host community events
such as bingo, Hunter breakfasts, holiday celebrations, and be
available to the community and churches in time of need. It is also
not uncommon for the Post to contain a bar open during limited hours.
A Post member is distinguished by a navy blue garrison cap with gold
See also: List of notable members of the American Legion
Notable members of The
American Legion have included:
Harry Truman, 33rd President of the United States
Dwight Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States
John Kennedy, 35th President of the United States
Lyndon Johnson, 36th President of the United States
Richard Nixon, 37th President of the United States
Gerald Ford, 38th President of the United States
Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States
Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States
George Bush, 41st President of the United States
George Bush, 43rd President of the United States
Louis Johnson, 2nd
United States Secretary of Defense
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, Medal of Honor recipient
General George Patton, Jr., Two-time Distinguished Service Cross
Admiral Mark Ferguson III, 37th Vice Chief of Naval Operations
Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., Medal of Honor recipient
Sergeant Alvin York, Medal of Honor recipient
Humphrey Bogart, Academy Award winner
Clark Gable, Academy Award winner
List of Past National Commanders
Franklin D'Olier, Pennsylvania, 1919–1920
Frederic W. Galbraith, Jr., Ohio, 1920–1921
John G. Emery, Michigan, June 14, 1921 – November 2, 1921
Hanford MacNider, Iowa, 1921–1922
Alvin M. Owsley, Texas, 1922–1923
John R. Quinn, California, 1923–1924
James A. Drain, Washington, 1924–1925
John R. McQuigg, Ohio, 1925–1926
Howard P. Savage, Illinois, 1926–1927
Edward E. Spafford, New York, 1927–1928
Paul V. McNutt, Indiana, 1928–1929
O. L. Bodenhamer, Arkansas, 1929–1930
Ralph T. O'Neil, Kansas, 1930–1931
Henry L. Stevens, Jr., North Carolina, 1931–1932
Louis A. Johnson, West Virginia, 1932–1933
Edward A. Hayes, Illinois, 1933–1934
Frank N. Belgrano, California, 1934–1935
Ray Murphy, Iowa, 1935–1936
Harry W. Colmery, Kansas, 1936–1937
Daniel J. Doherty, Massachusetts, 1937–1938
Stephen F. Chadwick, Washington, 1938–1939
Raymond J. Kelly, Michigan, 1939–1940
Milo J. Warner, Ohio, 1940–1941
Lynn U. Stambaugh, North Dakota, 1941–1942
Roane Waring, Tennessee, 1942–1943
Warren H. Atherton, California, 1943–1944
Edward N. Scheiberling, New York, 1944–1945
John Stelle, Illinois, 1945–1946
Paul H. Griffith, Pennsylvania, 1946–1947
James F. O'Neal, New Hampshire, 1947–1948
S. Perry Brown, Texas, 1948–1949
George N. Craig, Indiana, 1949–1950
Erle Cocke, Jr., Georgia, 1950–1951
Donald R. Wilson, West Virginia, 1951–1952
Lewis K. Gough, California, 1952–1953
Arthur J. Connell, Connecticut, 1953–1954
Seaborn P. Collins, New Mexico, 1954–1955
J. Addington Wagner, Michigan, 1955–1956
Dan Daniel, Virginia, 1956–1957
John S. Gleason, Jr., Illinois, 1957–1958
Preston J. Moore, Oklahoma, 1958–1959
Martin B. McKneally, New York, 1959–1960
William R. Burke, California, 1960–1961
Charles L. Bacon, Missouri, 1961–1962
James E. Powers, Georgia, 1962–1963
Daniel F. Foley, Minnesota, 1963–1964
Donald E. Johnson, Iowa, 1964–1965
L. Eldon James, Virginia, 1965–1966
John E. Davis, North Dakota, 1966–1967
William E. Galbraith, Nebraska, 1967–1968
William C. Doyle, New Jersey, 1968–1969
J. Milton Patrick, Oklahoma, 1969–1970
Alfred P. Chamie, California, 1970–1971
John H. Geiger, Illinois, 1971–1972
Joe L. Matthews, Texas, 1972–1973
Robert E. L. Eaton, Maryland, 1972–1973
James M. Wagonseller, Ohio, 1974–1975
Harry G. Wiles, Kansas, 1975–1976
William J. Rogers, Maine, 1976–1977
Robert C. Smith, Louisiana, 1977–1978
John M. Carey, Michigan, 1978–1979
Frank I. Hamilton, Indiana, 1979–1980
Michael J. Kogutek, New York, 1980–1981
Jack W. Flynt, Texas, 1981–1982
Al Keller, Jr., Illinois, 1982–1983
Keith A. Kreul, Wisconsin, 1983–1984
Clarence M. Bacon, Maryland, 1984–1985
Dale L. Renaud, Iowa, 1985–1986
James P. Dean, Mississippi, 1986–1987
John P. Comer, Massachusetts, 1987–1988
H. F. Gierke III, North Dakota, 1988–1989
Miles S. Epling, West Virginia, 1989–1990
Robert S. Turner, Georgia, 1990–1991
Dominic D. DiFrancesco, Pennsylvania, 1991–1992
Roger A. Munson, Ohio, 1992–1993
Bruce Thiesen, California, 1993–1994
William M. Detweiler, Louisiana, 1994–1995
Daniel A. Ludwig, Minnesota, 1995–1996
Joseph J. Frank, Missouri, 1996–1997
Anthony G. Jordan, Maine, 1997–1998
Harold L. Miller, Virginia, 1998–1999
Alan G. Lance, Sr., Idaho, 1999–2000
Ray G. Smith, North Carolina, 2000–2001
Richard J. Santos, Maryland, 2001–2002
Ronald F. Conley, Pennsylvania, 2002–2003
John A. Brieden III, Texas, 2003–2004
Thomas P. Cadmus, Michigan, 2004–2005
Thomas L. Bock, Colorado, 2005–2006
Paul A. Morin, Massachusetts, 2006–2007
Martin F. Conatser, Illinois, 2007–2008
David K. Rehbein, Iowa, 2008–2009
Clarence E. Hill, Florida, 2009–2010
Jimmie L. Foster, Alaska, 2010–2011
Fang A. Wong, New York, 2011–2012
James E. Koutz, Indiana, 2012–2013
Daniel Dellinger, Virginia, 2013–2014
Michael D. Helm, Nebraska, 2014–2015
Dale Barnett, Georgia, 2015–2016
Charles E. Schmidt, Oregon, 2016-2017
Denise H. Rohan, Wisconsin, 2017-2018
List of Past National Commanders by Vote of National Conventions
Henry D. Lindsley, Texas, 1919
Milton J. Foreman, Illinois, 1921
Bennett Champ Clark, Missouri, 1926
Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., New York, 1949
Eric Fisher Wood, Pennsylvania, 1955
Thomas W. Miller, Nevada, 1968
Maurice Stember, New York, 1975
Hamilton Fish III, New York, 1979
E. Roy Stone, Jr., South Carolina, 1987
Robert W. Spanogle, Michigan, 2008
List of Honorary National Commanders
General John J. Pershing
Marshal Ferdinand Foch
United States portal
War I portal
Armed Forces Day
Royal British Legion
Royal Canadian Legion
South African Legion
SS American Legion
^ a b Wheat 1919, pp. 6–8
American Legion Day". The
American Legion Magazine. Indianapolis,
Indiana. September 2016. p. 8. ISSN 0886-1234.
^ "Membership in The American Legion". The
American Legion Magazine.
Indianapolis, Indiana. September 2016. p. 5.
^ Carney, Timothy. "Changing of the Guard". Philanthropy Roundtable.
^ a b c Marquis James, A History of The American Legion. New York:
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^ a b Rumer 1990, p. 9.
^ a b c Bleiler, Richard. "A History of Adventure Magazine". Philsp.
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^ a b (via Google News)"Patriotic Founders Invite". The
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^ (via Google News)Doenecke, Justus D. (2011). Nothing Less Than War:
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Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky.
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^ (via Google News)"Nation gets Roster of American Legion". The New
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^ (via Google News)"The Passing of the American Legion". The Day. The
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^ a b James, A History of The American Legion, p. 15.
^ a b c James, A History of The American Legion, pg. 16.
^ a b Rumer 1990, p. 13.
^ James, A History of The American Legion, pp. 16–17.
^ James, A History of The American Legion, pp. 17–18.
^ a b James, A History of The American Legion, p. 18.
^ James, A History of The American Legion, pp. 18–19.
^ James, A History of The American Legion, p. 20.
^ Rumer 1990, p. 15.
^ a b Rumer 1990, p. 16.
^ "An interpretative sign exists at the site, in 2009".
warmonument.blogspot.com. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
^ a b "History Part I – 1919–1959". chinapost1.org. July 1, 1988.
Retrieved April 27, 2015.
^ a b "China Post One". chinapost1.org. Retrieved April 27,
^ Wheat 1919, p. 19
^ Rumer 1990, pp. 18–19.
^ Rumer 1990, p. 19.
^ a b Rumer 1990, p. 21.
^ Rumer 1990, p. 23.
^ Byer, Gene (March 16, 1953). "Gen. Wm. G. Price Jr. Recalls American
Legion's Founding". Delaware County Times. Chester, PA. p. 13.
(Subscription required (help)).
^ Rumer 1990, p. 24.
^ a b c Rumer 1990, p. 25.
^ Rumer 1990, p. 28.
^ a b c Rumer 1990, p. 26.
^ Rumer 1990, pp. 26–27.
^ James, A History of The American Legion, pg. 44.
^ James, A History of The American Legion, pp. 45–46.
^ James, A History of The American Legion, pp. 47–48.
^ a b c d William Pencak, For God and Country: The American Legion,
1919–1941. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1989; p. 58.
^ a b Pencak, For God and Country, p. 59.
^ The words are those of Dorothy R. Harper, "Hawaii –
Department History", quoted in Pencak, For God and Country, p. 59.
^ Wheat 1919, p. 193
^ Pencak, For God and Country, pp. 59–60.
^ Pencak, For God and Country, pg. 60.
^ Jones, A History of The American Legion, p. 349.
^ Richard Seely Jones, A History of The American Legion. Indianapolis,
IN: Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1946; p. 44.
^ Quoted in Jones, A History of The American Legion, p. 49.
^ Jones, A History of The American Legion, p. 45.
^ Jones, A History of The American Legion, p. 46.
^ a b Jones, A History of The American Legion, p. 47.
^ a b c d Jones, A History of The American Legion, p. 48.
^ Jones, A History of The American Legion, p. 85.
^ a b Jones, A History of The American Legion, p. 86.
^ "Department History". amerlegiondeptfrance.org. Retrieved April 27,
^ a b c Tom Copeland, The Centralia Tragedy of 1919: Elmer Smith and
the Wobblies. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 1993; p.
^ a b c d e f g Copeland, The Centralia Tragedy of 1919, p. 51.
^ Copeland, The Centralia Tragedy of 1919, pp. 51–52.
^ a b c d e f g h i Copeland, The Centralia Massacre of 1919, p. 52.
^ Copeland, The Centralia Tragedy of 1919, p. 53.
^ Copeland, The Centralia Tragedy, pp. 53–54.
^ a b c d e Copeland, The Centralia Tragedy of 1919, p. 54.
^ a b Copeland, The Centralia Tragedy of 1919, p. 55.
^ a b Copeland, The Centralia Tragedy of 1919, p. 59.
^ Copeland, The Centralia Tragedy of 1919, pp. 65, 82–83.
^ Heale 1990, p. 82
^ Heale 1990, p. 86
^ Heale 1990, p. 85
^ a b c Ceplair, p. 38
John Thomas Taylor
John Thomas Taylor Dies" (Press release). Indianapolis, Indiana:
American Legion News Service. May 28, 1965. pp. 179–180.
Retrieved April 26, 2017.
^ American Red Cross, "World
War Adjusted Compensation Act", updated:
July 19, 1926, pp. 363–74, Available online", accessed January 10,
^ William Pencak, For God and Country: The American Legion,
1919–1941 Northeastern University Press, 1989; p. 21.
^ a b Alec Campbell, "Where Do All the Soldiers Go?: Veterans and the
Politics of Demobilization", in Diane E. Davis, Anthony W. Pereira,
eds., Irregular Armed Forces and their Role in Politics and State
Formation. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003; pp. 110–11.
^ a b "Information on The
American Legion Memorial Bridge". Michigan
Department of Transportation Web Site. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
^ "History of Sons of the American Legion". legion.org/sons. Retrieved
April 27, 2015.
^ Stephen R. Ortiz, "The 'New Deal' for Veterans: The Economy Act, the
Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Origins of the New Deal", Journal of
Military History, vol. 70 (2006), pp. 417–37
^ "Butler for Bonus out of Wall Street". New York Times. December 10,
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^ George Wolfskill, The Revolt of the Conservatives: A History of the
American Liberty League, 1934–1940 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1962),
pp. 81–101. For an extended account of the conspiracy theory, see
Jules Archer, The Plot to Seize the White House (NY: Hawthorn Books,
^ Krishnaiyer, Kartik. "Flashback Friday: 1935 Labor Day Hurricane,
"Murder at Matecumbe"". The
^ Dickson & Allen (2004). The Bonus Army: An American Epic. Walker
& Company. pp. 256–257. Retrieved April 26,
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^ Suzanne Mettler, "The creation of the
GI Bill of Rights of 1944:
Melding social and participatory citizenship ideals." Journal of
Policy History 17#4 (2005): 345-374.
^ Glenn C. Altschuler and Stuart M. Blumin, The GI Bill: a new deal
for veterans (2009) p 118
^ Carelton, Don. Red Scare: Right-Wing Hysteria, Fifties Fanaticism
and their Legacy in Texas. 3057: University of
^ Harper, Sue; Porter, Vincent (2003). British Cinema of the 1950s:
The Decline of Deference. Oxford University Press. p. 15.
^ Sydney E. Ahlstrom, David D. Hall (2004). A Religious History of the
American People. Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300100129.
Retrieved December 31, 2007. ; Gastón Espinosa, ed., Religion
and the American Presidency: George Washington to
George W. Bush
George W. Bush (NY:
Columbia University Press, 2009) pp. 278–79
^ "'Back to God' Drive Enlists President". New York Times. February 2,
1953. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
^ Heale 1990, p. 111
^ Ceplair, p. 120
^ Ceplair, p. 121
^ Heale 1990, p. 173
^ Heale 1990, p. 187
^ Ceplair, pp. 28, 33, 38, 121, 123, 198–200
^ Ceplair, p. 241
^ William A. Donohue, The Politics of the American Civil Liberties
Union (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1985), p. 182
^ "Cabin John Bridge Given a New Name", Washington Post, Times Herald
(Washington, D.C.): City Life Section, May 31, 1969
^ The Boston Globe (December 9, 1987). "
American Legion Still Opposes
Veteran Status For Merchant Seamen". The Journal of Commerce.
Retrieved May 7, 2016.
^ Brian Herbert, The Forgotten Heroes: The Heroic Story of the United
States Merchant Marine (New York: Forge, 2005), p. 201
^ Christine Scott; Douglas Reid Weimer, Veterans Benefits: Merchant
Seamen (Washington, DC, Congressional Research Service, May 8, 2007),
^ "Citizens Flag Alliance". sourcewatch.org. Retrieved April 27,
^ "Archives" (PDF). Library of the State of Massachusetts. Retrieved
June 11, 2007.
American Legion Urges Withdrawal of Troops from Yugoslavia". C-SPAN
Video Library. May 18, 1999. Retrieved December 30, 2010.
^ "Battle between Legion, Buyer Rages On". Army Times. June 12, 2006.
Retrieved December 30, 2010.
^ a b c d e "Legion campaign backs anti-ACLU bill" (PDF). American
Legion. Retrieved March 6, 2013. The
American Legion family is
involved in the effort to have the Veterans' Memorials, Boy Scouts,
Public Seals, and Other Public Expressions of Religion Protection Act
of 2007 (PERA) passed by Congress because of the clear need to stop
the ACLU and other organizations from making enormous profits in
lawsuits under the Establishment Clause attacking the Boy Scouts, the
public display of the Ten Commandments, the Pledge of Allegiance, and
other symbols of our American religious history and heritage,
including religious symbols at veterans memorials. Pulling the rug out
from under the funding source against American values should
significantly curtail the current proliferation of attacks.
^ Foster, Jimmie (October 28, 2011). "Court oversteps its bounds on
American Legion Magazine. Retrieved August 26, 2015.
^ a b Gonzalez, Steve (March 25, 2014). "Witness Testimony of Mr.
Steve Gonzalez, Assistant Director, National Economic Commission, The
American Legion". House Committee on Veterans Affairs. Archived from
the original on May 29, 2014. Retrieved May 28, 2014.
American Legion Appoints First Female Executive Director".
Military.com. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
^ Meet The American Legion’s First Female National Commander
American Legion Weekly, OCLC 1480272. Master negative
microfilm held by University Microfilms, now part of ProQuest.
American Legion Monthly, OCLC 1781656.
American Legion Magazine, OCLC 1480271.
^ American Legion: "Office Locations, accessed December 30, 2010
^ Wheat 1919, p. 263
^ Ford 1979, p. 62.
^ Skeyhill 1930, pp. 290–291
American Legion 40th National Convention: official program ".
American Legion. 1958 – via Internet Archive.
Ceplair, Larry (2011). Anti-communism in Twentieth-century America: A
Critical History. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.
ISBN 9781440800474. OCLC 712115063.
Ford, Gerald R. (1979). A Time To Heal: The Autobiography of Gerald R.
Ford. New York: Harper & Row. ISBN 0-06-011297-2.
Heale, M.J. (1990). American Anticommunism: Combating the Enemy
Within, 1830-1970. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
ISBN 9780801840500. OCLC 21483404.
Rumer, Thomas A. (1990). The American Legion: An Official History,
1919–1989. New York: M Evans & Co. ISBN 978-0871316226.
Skeyhill, Tom, ed. (1930). His Own Life Story And
War Diary. Garden
City, New York: Doubleday, Doran & Company. OCLC 317629283
– via Internet Archive.
Wheat, George Seay (1919). "The Story of The American Legion". The
Birth of the Legion. New York and London: G. P. Putnam's Sons.
LCCN 19012694. OL 7238700M – via Internet Archive.
Littlewood, Thomas B. (2004). Soldiers Back Home: The American Legion
in Illinois, 1919–1939. Carbondale, Illinois: Southern Illinois
University Press. ISBN 080932587X. OCLC 54461886.
Moley, Raymond (1966). The
American Legion Story. New York: Duell,
Sloan and Pearce. ISBN 9780809325870. OCLC 712139.
Pencak, William (1989). For God & Country: The American Legion,
1919–1941. Boston: Northeastern University Press.
ISBN 1555530508. OCLC 18682663.
Spencer, Dewey, ed. (1979). History of The American Legion, Department
of Arkansas, 1919–1979. Little Rock, Arkansas.
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