CAPSULE HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN LEGION
A group of twenty officers who served
in the American Expeditionary Forces (A.E.F.) in France
in World War I is credited with planning the Legion. A.E.F.
Headquarters asked these officers to suggest ideas on
how to improve troop morale. One officer, Lieutenant Colonel
Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., proposed an organization of veterans.
In February, 1919, this group formed a temporary committee
and selected several hundred officers who had the confidence
and respect of the whole army. When the first organization
meeting took place in Paris in March, 1919, about 1,000
officers and enlisted men attended. The meeting, known
as the Paris Caucus, adopted a temporary constitution
and the name The American Legion. It also elected an executive
committee to complete the organization's work. It considered
each soldier of the A.E.F. a member of the Legion. The
executive committee named a subcommittee to organize veterans
at home in the US The Legion held a second organizing
caucus in St. Louis, Missouri, in May, 1919. It completed
the constitution and made plans for a permanent organization.
It set up temporary headquarters in New York City, and
began its relief, employment, and Americanism programs.
Congress granted the Legion a national charter in September
1919. The first national convention held in Minneapolis,
adopted a permanent constitution and elected officers
to head the organization.
Proceedings of the first annual convention
of the Missouri Branch of the American Legion at Jefferson
City, October 6-7, 1919.
The convention was called to order by
the state chairman, General Harvey C. Clark, at ten o'
clock a.m., Monday, October 6, 1919, in the hall of the
House of Representatives in the State Capitol.