The Invisible Empire in the West: Toward a New Historical Appraisal of the Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s

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This timely anthology describes how and why the Ku Klux Klan became one of the most influential social movements in modern American history. For decades historians have argued that the spectacular growth of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s was fueled by a postwar surge in racism, religious bigotry, and status anxiety among lower-class white Americans. In recent years a growing body of scholarship has contradicted that appraisal, emphasizing the KKK's strong links to mainstream society and its role as a medium of ...
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Overview

This timely anthology describes how and why the Ku Klux Klan became one of the most influential social movements in modern American history. For decades historians have argued that the spectacular growth of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s was fueled by a postwar surge in racism, religious bigotry, and status anxiety among lower-class white Americans. In recent years a growing body of scholarship has contradicted that appraisal, emphasizing the KKK's strong links to mainstream society and its role as a medium of corrective civic action. Addressing a set of common questions, contributors to this volume examine local Klan chapters in six Western cities: Denver, Colorado; Salt Lake City, Utah; El Paso, Texas; Anaheim, California; and Eugene and La Grande, Oregon. Far from being composed of marginal men prone to violence and irrationality, the Klan drew its membership from a generally balanced cross section of the white male Protestant population. Overt racism and religious bigotry were major drawing cards for the hooded order, but intolerance frequently intertwined with community issues such as improved law enforcement, better public education, and municipal reform. The authors consolidate, focus, and expand upon new scholarship in a volume that should provide readers with an enhanced appreciation of the complex reasons why the Klan became one of the largest and most significant grass-roots social movements in twentieth-century America.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780252018329
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/1992
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.33 (w) x 9.33 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface to the Paperback Edition
Introduction: The Second Invisible Empire
1 Historical Interpretations of the 1920s Klan: The Traditional View and Recent Revisions 17
2 Denver: Queen City of the Colorado Realm 39
3 Imperial Outpost on the Border: El Paso's Frontier Klan No. 100 67
4 The Invisible Empire and the Search for the Orderly Community: The Ku Klux Klan in Anaheim, California 97
5 A Battle of Empires: The Klan in Salt Lake City 121
6 Robe and Gown: The Ku Klux Klan in Eugene, Oregon 153
7 Order, Solidarity, and Vigilance: The Ku Klux Klan in La Grande, Oregon 185
Conclusion: Toward a New Historical Appraisal of the Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s 217
Contributors 223
Index 225
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