by Travis Crockett
Organized at the end of the American Revolution on May 13, 1783, by General George Washington, the Order of the Cincinnati was ostensibly formed as a fraternity to recognize the accomplishments of those officers who had served with distinguishment during the Revolution. However, the true purpose of the Order was the cultivation of a military force ready, willing, and able to accomplish a coup d'état if the fledgling American democracy began to stumble.
Skeptical at the viability of the untried democratic system, Washington took counsel in the story of the Roman general Cincinnatus who was called from retirement to serve as Dictator for sixteen days in the defense of Rome, after which he returned home to his farm. In the wake of the Revolution, the United States was vulnerable to any number of outside forces, and Washington felt that a strong, central authority had to be present that could assume control of the government if necessary—and "temporarily" suspend the Constitution if required.
Washington resigned as President after only two terms in office, but remained President of the Order of the Cincinnati till his death. The Order still exists to this day, a shadow organization of the wealthy and powerful that has been linked to any number of other organizations ranging from the Illuminati to the Trilateral Commission...