The Improved Order of Red Men traces its origin to certain secret patriotic societies founded before the American Revolution. They were established to promote Liberty and to defy the tyranny of the English Crown. Among the early groups were: The Sons of Liberty, the Sons of St. Tammany, and later the Society of Red Men.
On December 16, 1773 a group of men, all members of the Sons of Liberty, met in Boston to protest the tax on tea imposed by England. When their protest went unheeded, they disguised themselves as Mohawk Indians, proceeded to Boston harbor, and dumped overboard 342 chests of English tea.
During the Revolutionary War, members of secret societies quenched their council fires and took up muskets to join with the Continental Army. To the cause of Freedom and Liberty they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors. At the end of the hard fought war the American Republic was born and was soon acknowledged among the nations of the world.
Following the American Revolution many of the various secret societies founded before and during the conflict continued in existence as brotherhoods or fraternities.
For the next 35 years, however, each of the original Sons of Liberty and Sons of St. Tamina groups went their own way, under many different names. In 1813, at historic Fort Mifflin, near Philadelphia, several of these groups came together and formed one organization known as the Society of Red Men. The name was changed to the Improved Order of Red Men in Baltimore in 1834.
Their rituals and regalia are modeled after those used by Native Americans. The organization claimed a membership of about half a million in 1935, but has declined to less than 38,000.
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... a disenchanted group created the philanthropic "Society of Red Men" at Fort Mifflin in Philadelphia ... From this, the "Improved Order of Red Men" was later formed as a working man's drinking group similar to the Odd Fellows fraternal organization ... No person shall be entitled to adoption into the Order except a free white male of good moral character and standing, of the full age of twenty-one great suns, who believes in the existence of a Great ...
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