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Revival Of The Ku Klux Klan In The Progressive Era

1536 words - 7 pages

America in the 1920s was a fast paced society, technology was just starting to blossom with the development of the Model-T car, many recognizing they could achieve the “American Dream”, and live a more successful life than their parents. One group of the popular groups, or communities that was revitalized during this era was the KKK, Ku Klux Klan; six college students created this group in 1865 in the Reconstruction years. The group began as a get together of southern sympathizers, the Klan later began to start commotion for the recently released African American ex slave population, and southern whites that they felt betrayed the Southern way of life. The Ku Klux Klan’s popularity declined by the end of the 1800’s, by many acts of government intervention, of the crimes committed by the group. In the 1920s the Ku Klux Klan, gathered many followers, and became a major part of the Southern way of life. The Northern industrial boom, and the rise of nativism in America sparked this 1920’s popularity of the Ku Klux Klan in the years following the Great War.
With the economic boom that began in America in the years after the Great War, many Americans were enjoying the finer parts of life, and living the life captured by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book The Great Gatsby. Most of the economic prosperity was felt throughout the entire country, primarily in the Northern industrial cities, with the invention of the assembly line, factories efficiency was increased, and many businesses were seeing enormous profits. This Northern prosperity was rather frowned, upon by most of the elite Southern citizens of the United States. The South was somewhat enjoying this economic prosperity, but not to the degree that the North was, the South was still in this strange post- Reconstruction Era, where now without slaves finding it quite hard to carry on with their agricultural businesses. The Ku Klux Klan’s revival spawned from this prosperity, and hatred quickly acquiring new members from all over the country. The group had acquired up to 100,000 members, by 1921 having a strong majority of their members, surprisingly being from the Mid-Western States, majorly targeting Catholicism, and anything Anti American. Mid-Westerns that were receiving the rewards from their economic success wanted to be apart of a society that would help perfect the “American” way of life.

The 1920’s Klan beliefs were greatly shared among many in large industrial cities, and small towns during this time period. The greatest belief was that Catholicism was “Anti-American”, “The hierarchical government of the Roman Church is equally at odds with Americanism. The Pope and the whole hierarchy have been for centuries almost wholly Italian. It is nonsense to suppose that a man, by entering a church, losses his race or national loyalties.” This belief from the Klan shows their relationship with Catholicism, since the religion is popular in Europe, and Europe isn’t America, the Klan believes it is...

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