The Second Coming of the KKK: The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s and the American Political Tradition Read Online Free - A new Ku Klux Klan arose in the early 1920s, a less violent but equally virulent descendant of the relatively small, terrorist Klan of the 1870s. Unknown to most Americans today, this "second Klan" largely flourished above the Mason-Dixon Line—its army of four-to-six-million members spanning the continent from New Jersey to Oregon, its ideology of intolerance shaping the course of mainstream national politics throughout the twentieth century.
As prize-winning historian Linda Gordon demonstrates, the second Klan’s enemies included Catholics and Jews as well as African Americans. Its bigotry differed in intensity but not in kind from that of millions of other WASP Americans. Its membership, limited to white Protestant native-born citizens, was entirely respectable, drawn from small businesspeople, farmers, craftsmen, and professionals, and including about 1.5 million women. For many Klanspeople, membership simultaneously reflected a protest against an increasingly urban society and provided an entrée into the new middle class.
Never secret, this Klan recruited openly, through newspaper ads, in churches, and through extravagant mass "Americanism" pageants, often held on Independence Day. These "Klonvocations" drew tens of thousands and featured fireworks, airplane stunts, children’s games, and women’s bake-offs—and, of course, cross-burnings. The Klan even controlled about one hundred and fifty newspapers, as well as the Cavalier Motion Picture Company, dedicated to countering Hollywood’s "immoral"—and Jewish—influence. The Klan became a major political force, electing thousands to state offices and over one hundred to national offices, while successfully lobbying for the anti-immigration Reed-Johnson Act of 1924.
As Gordon shows, the themes of 1920s Klan ideology were not aberrant, but an indelible part of American history: its "100% Americanism" and fake news, broadcast by charismatic speakers, preachers, and columnists, became part of the national fabric. Its spokespeople vilified big-city liberals, "money-grubbing Jews," "Pope-worshipping Irish," and intellectuals for promoting jazz, drinking, and cars (because they provided the young with sexual privacy).
The Klan’s collapse in 1926 was no less flamboyant, done in by its leaders’ financial and sexual corruption, culminating in the conviction of Grand Dragon David Stephenson for raping and murdering his secretary, and chewing up parts of her body. Yet the Klan’s brilliant melding of Christian values with racial bigotry lasted long after the organization’s decline, intensifying a fear of diversity that has long been a dominant undercurrent of American history.
Documenting what became the largest social movement of the first half of the twentieth century, The Second Coming of the Ku Klux Klan exposes the ancestry and helps explain the dangerous appeal of today’s welter of intolerance.
|Title||:||The Second Coming of the KKK: The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s and the American Political Tradition|
|Number of Pages||:||272 pages|
December 15, 2017
Gordon gives a solid introductory look at the history of the KKK 2.0, which took American society by storm in the 1910s and 1920s. I knew it became an insanely popular outfit in the wake of the release of D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation, but I didn't realize just how pervasive it was and, m...
September 27, 2017
Wow. What can I say? History repeats itself. I felt absolutely chilled in recognizing Trump's campaign in parts of this book, down to the word in some cases. This is the story of the KKK in the 1920s, told in a smart, well-researched and intelligent -- yet accessible -- way. I am not a historian,...
January 23, 2018
The KKK of the 1920s was disturbingly mainstream, disturbingly widespread, and offers uncomfortable parallels to our current political climate. The Klan of the twenties was protean, opportunistic, and decentralized, adapting smoothly to local mores and prejudices and always taking on an air of re...
December 10, 2017
This is awfully good. The focus on the KKK in the north is interesting and sheds light on less explored territory, and the constant, ringing parallels to today's political scene are instructive, unsurprising, and horrifying. This study is relevant at all times, but it's particularly so particular...
November 28, 2017
Wow, I am glad I read this well researched book. This is a part of American history you will not learn in school. Fear and hate will always be with us, and there are those today who want to influence Americans with the same misguided strategy.
A very timely lesson from recent history.
January 02, 2018
The author gave a fascinating interview on the NYT Book Review podcast, so I picked it up, in spite of my misgivings about reading anything KKK. I was wrong to have almost missed this informative and very readable book. More importantly, it is a must read to understand our country's pervasive cyc...
February 05, 2018
This is a solid work of history-- very well-researched, very readable, totally mind-boggling. I wished, a bit, that Gordon had picked a single story about this era to really focus on (there are many many threads running in many different directions), but the picture she paints in aggregate is pre...
January 21, 2018
This is an important book that will interest anybody who studies American history. Gordon offers original research and insightful analysis of the "Second Wave" of the Klan. I particularly recommend this book to Dinesh D'Souza.
The "Second Wave" of the Klan can be distinguished from the "First" and...
February 08, 2018
When you think of the history of the Ku Klux Klan, many assume they were mostly from the south, ill-educated, more or less fringe groups, who held opinions far removed from mainstream America.
Boy was I wrong.
Historian Linda Gordon provides a chilling history of the second coming of the Ku Klux Kl...
December 23, 2017
I grew up in Portland OR attending Catholic schools taught by the Holy Names Sisters. My high school had a photo of the KKK in full regalia parading down the street in front of the school. I was amazed. The Klan in Portland? The only Klan I knew about was a secretive organization in the south tha...