On February 22, 1900, the first exemplification of that degree was held in New York City. The ritual added patriotism to the three original principles of the Order: charity, unity and fraternity. Any Third Degree member in good standing, one year after the anniversary of his First Degree, is eligible for membership in the Fourth Degree. The primary purpose of the Fourth Degree is to foster the spirit of patriotism by promoting responsible citizenship and a love of and loyalty to the Knights' respective countries through active membership in local Fourth Degree groups called assemblies. Fourth Degree members must retain their membership as Third Degree members in the local council to remain in good standing.
Starting at the Supreme level there is the Supreme Master and the Supreme Board of Directors. The next level of the structure is broken into provinces of which there are twenty. Each province is lead by a Vice-Supreme Master. The Vice-Supreme Master wears a light blue lined cape and chapeau. The province is then broken up into districts each of which should contain no more than eight assemblies. A Master is in charge of a District and wears gold lined cape and chapeau. Also a Master usually has a District Marshall to assist him. The District Marshall wears a green lined cape and chapeau. Faithful Navigators wear a white cape and chapeau.
Certain members of the Fourth Degree serve as Color Guards and Honor Guards at civic and religious functions, an activity which has brought worldwide recognition to the Knights of Columbus organization. Honor Guardsmen have mastered the "Manual of the Swordsmen". The District Commander of the Color Corps wears a green line cape and chapeau. The Color Corp Commander wears a purple line cape and chapeau. Finally, all other members of the Color Corp wear red lined capes and white chapeaus.