Printer Friendly

"The Leo Frank Case Reconsidered: Gender and Sexual Politics in the Making of Reactionary Populism".

Recent revisions in historians' interpretations of the 1920s Ku Klux Klan, published before the works reviewed here, were summarized in Leonard Moore's review essay in the winter 1990 issue of the Journal of Social History, which i republished in the book of essays edited by Shawn Lay. According to Moore:

These studies demonstrate that the Klan served different purposes in different communities, but that in general, it represented mainstream social and politica concerns, not those of a fringe group. Prohibition enforcement, crime, and a variety of other community issues seemed most responsible for the Klan's great popularity in these states and communities. Each of the studies de-emphasized the role of ethnic conflict in the Klan movement. To varying degrees, each foun that the Klan focused a good deal of energy on community business elites who stood in the way of popular social and political reforms. These studies suggest that the Klan of the twenties might be best understood as a populist organization rather than a nativist one, at least as nativism is usually define (19).(1)

In general the other six contributions to Lay's book conform to Moore's appraisal of the earlier recent literature in studies of the Klan in Denver, El Paso, Anaheim, Salt Lake City, and Eugene and La Grande, Oregon. Moore's book o the Indiana Klan--the largest state Klan organization--adds further evidence to his evaluation of the latest interpretations. However, William D. Jenkins and Nancy MacLean diverge from Moore's summary to a significant extent. For example Jenkins disagrees with part of Moore's characterization of the Klan by applying the term "religious nativism" (160) to the attempt by the Protestant population to defend its values by joining the Klan, and he demonstrates the accuracy of that term for the Klansmen he discusses in his book.

MacLean insists in her prize-winning article that gender and sexual themes deserve a much more important place than historians have given them not only in accounts of the Leo Frank case, on which her article focuses, but in histories of the second Klan as well. MacLean maintains that the pattern of political mobilization used against Frank during his 1913 Georgia trial and conviction fo the murder of Mary Phagan--an employee in the Atlanta pencil factory he managed--and his lynching in 1915, provide an example of what she terms "reactionary populism." However, "perhaps the quintessential example of this phenomenon," MacLean asserts, "was the second Klan" (920).

MacLean explains that both the agitation against Frank and the organization of the Klan depended heavily upon the anti-elitism characteristic of populist movements. But in each case anti-elitism won support for a political agenda tha enforced the subordination of other groups of people; hence the term "reactionary populism." Foremost among these groups in MacLean's analysis were women, especially young women. The leaders of the attacks against Frank, and th Klan, demanded protection of women by men, rather than measures improving working conditions which might enable females to protect themselves. Thus they reinforced male superiority. Underlying the attempts to revitalize paternalism was deep concern about changing relations between the sexes and between generations.

MacLean marshals powerful arguments on behalf of her theses. Her article contains persuasive evidence to support her contentions about the Frank case. Her analysis of the Klan is backed further by abundant evidence--some of it fro minutes of meetings and a membership list--in the manuscript of her forthcoming book about the Athens, Georgia, Klan chapter. That evidence demonstrates the importance in the Georgia Klan's agenda of its paternalistic activities.(2) Yet it should be noted that it had other important goals as well. As Peter Akin pointed out in 1993: "The Klan self-consciously tapped into Georgia's potent agrarian reformist tradition, and helped carry it from countryside to town by addressing issues that mattered to urban middle and working class white Protestants."(3)

The term "reactionary populism" contributes more to an analysis of the Frank case and of the Georgia Klan than it does to an understanding of the northern and western Klan described in the recent literature cited by Moore, in the six local studies edited by Lay, and in Moore's book. These portray a Klan whose objectives--such as building new schools--were designed largely to achieve social and political reforms that would promote the interests of the white Protestant middle class which still dominated most of the country.

However, some of the reforms described in these works were aimed at regaining Victorian paternalistic control over young people, particularly young women. Moore, for example, observes that the Fiery Cross, Indiana's state Klan newspaper, in December, 1922, criticized businessmen who threatened the family and contributed to immoral behavior by employing women in their offices. "The Klan," he declares, "pledged to combat the 'forces of evil which attack the American home.' Part of this could be accomplished, Klan writers argued on numerous occasions, by protecting the 'purity of womanhood' and defending the traditional role of women in the home" (39-40). Also, Jenkins describes an ordinance proposed in Youngstown, Ohio requiring chaperons at dances, and banning close dancing, suggestive movements and jazz music (101).

In almost all the major industrial areas of the North, though, the Klan's chief objectives could accurately be called reactionary. This is demonstrated in Jenkins's book about Ohio's Mahoning Valley, the first book-length study of the Klan in a northern industrial area where native born white Protestants formed a minority of the population. As MacLean acknowledges in the "Conclusion" of her book manuscript, the Klan never became strong enough to attempt in Ohio what it had done in Georgia. Excellent reasons existed for that comparative weakness.

In Youngstown, whose economy was based on steel production, Jenkins informs us that two-thirds of the population in 1920 either was foreign-born or had foreign-born parents. Seventy percent of the foreign-born had immigrated from southern or eastern Europe. In nearby Niles, fifty-nine percent of the population was foreign-born or had foreign-born parents. Sixty-tlree percent of Niles's foreign-born came from southern or eastern Europe. In addition, large numbers of Irish Catholics lived in Youngstown and Niles. "By the 1920's," Jenkins states, "the Irish population was the largest in Niles" (65).

Conditions were even more unfavorable for the Klan in other northern Ohio industrial areas. In The Klan in the Cities.... (1967) Kenneth T. Jackson described the order in Cleveland and Toledo as "impotent" (166). According to the 1920 census only 26.6 percent of Cleveland's inhabitants were whites with native-born parents, a proportion almost as low as Chicago's. Cleveland's politicians and police were as integral a part of that city's vice industries--particularly of the illegal alcohol business--as were Chicago's. Toledo's alcohol needs were served partly by Detroit's Jewish-led Purple Gang, whose Purple Navy smuggled Canadian whiskey, including high quality Old Log Cabin, into the United States. The hijacking of a shipment of the Purple Gang's Old Log Cabin to Al Capone's enterprises by Chicago's Moran gang led directly t the St. Valentine's Day Massacre of 1929.

Attempts to enforce Prohibition laws, the major Klan objective, were perceived as culturally offensive by most of the nation's Irish, Italian and Jewish populations, which were concentrated in northern industrial centers. Activities meant to stop the flow of illegal alcohol often were dangerous in those areas. Furthermore, the Klan's bigotry infuriated Catholics, African Americans, and Jews, against whom most of it was directed. In much of the industrial North the retaliated against that rhetoric and the threats that it implied, sometimes violently.

The Klan everywhere had within it the potential for the vigilante violence whic it carried out so proudly in Georgia, and usually more secretly in parts of the North--though there ordinarily against African Americans (who were protected inadequately throughout the country), and white Protestant moral offenders.(4) However, in northern industrial areas with large Irish and southern and eastern European immigrant populations Klansmen ran very grave risks when they acted as vigilantes. In fact, in these areas the Klan often could not even parade safely

Jenkins provides an example in his history of the Klan in Niles, a steel and glass producing city. His account is based on interviews, the transcript of an Ohio National Guard investigation, and careful reading of five area newspapers, including pro- and anti-Klan papers. A year-long series of violent conflicts between the Klan and its opponents in Niles began soon after moral crusader Harry Kistler was elected Mayor of the city in November, 1923, with support fro the Klan and leading Protestant ministers. Over half the population of Niles wa Irish and Italian, and Jenkins declares: "They believed that the Klan threatene their way of life" (117).

Violence began escalating on April 7, 1924 when, after a flurry of police raids on local speakeasies and gambling houses, dynamite destroyed the home of Police Chief Lincoln Round, fortunately without injuring anyone. About three weeks later a Klan parade through downtown Niles was interrupted by stones, bricks an gunshots.

These conflicts reached a climax on November 1. Mayor Kistler granted the Klan permit to march on that date. After a meeting on October 28 of the opposing forces--including business and civic leaders who opposed the parade--failed to reach a compromise, a bomb blew up Kistler's house about two o'clock the following morning. Again, no one was injured. The explosion made Kistler even more determined to allow and protect the parade. On the morning of November 1 the Mayor swore in nearly 150 Klan members as guards for the margh.

Meanwhile, Irish and Italian young men made plans to blockade every street from Niles to the field where the Klan planned to gather. Local Italian speakeasy an gambling house owners had assembled an arsenal of weapons, including machine guns. By mid-morning November 1, Klan opponents were stopping and searching cars, seizing Klan robes and weapons, and beating those found carrying them. An elderly woman, whose three sons were participating in the blockade, told a newspaper reporter that her sons would "never go back on their tradition and their God. They'll go to hell first" (132).

Klan guards and local police found it impossible to stop the shooting and beating of Klansmen. A trainload of 1,200 Klan members who intended to join the parade was met at the Niles depot by a mob armed with guns, knives, clubs and homemade bombs. The leader of the arriving Klansmen, a former army captain and war veteran, evaluated the situation quickly and ordered the train to turn back

Finally, Ohio's Klan-backed governor declared martial law and sent troops from the Ohio National Guard to Niles. The Klan cancelled its parade. Incredibly, though many Klansmen and some of their foes had been wounded, some very seriously, no one died from these wounds. No further Klan parades were schedule for Niles. In Youngstown the Klan avoided the ethnic and religious civil war which afflicted Niles largely because the pragmatic political leaders who won its support were more intent upon retaining office in a cosmopolitan city than on imposing Victorian morality on everyone. For example, the Klan-backed mayor' directive concerning Sunday blue law enforcement permitted Jewish merchants to remain open if they closed on the Jewish Sabbath. The Klan-controlled Board of Education imposed Bible reading on the schools by requiring a course of study which included reading brief selections of scripture along with "lessons of forgiveness, honesty, industry and kindness" (111).

Jenkins observes, however, that not all Youngstown Klansmen agreed with these policies: "A more militant and more prejudiced faction questioned whether the contrasting cultures could live together at all" (109). This faction, Jenkins implies, bore most of the responsibility when the Klan lit crosses throughout Youngstown on the evening of St. Patrick's Day in 1924. "Obviously," he declares, "the day was a well-known drinking holiday for many Irish, but the Irish saw only prejudice and not the moral and cultural judgment being made by Klan members. A near riot resulted...." (112). Events in Niles and elsewhere suggest that perception by the Irish of the negative moral and cultural judgmen would have exacerbated the conflict.

On the night of September 30, 1923, professional burglars cracked a safe in a downtown Youngstown insurance company office which served as a front for the Klan. They removed from it the Mahoning Valley Klan membership list. The burglars worked for the Youngstown branch of the Chicago-based American Unity League, an alliance of Catholics, Jews and African Americans, dominated by Iris Catholics. The League's role became apparent when a large part of the list appeared in a booklet entitled "Is your neighbor a Kluxer?" printed by the League's publishing arm. The booklet was sold on Youngstown's streets. The operation was part of the League's program of acquiring Klan membership lists through bribery, burglary and voluntary informants, and publishing the names, addresses and occupations of Klan members, most often in its weekly newspaper, Tolerance. The League's booklet caused defections from the Klan and harmed recruiting, as a booklet with the same title did in Chicago.

From the information collected for this booklet, Jenkins was able to study the characteristics of Youngstown Klan members. His conclusions resemble closely those in the studies summarized in Moore's essay, in the essays edited by Lay, and in Moore's book. Jenkins found that the age and marital status of Youngstown's Klansmen almost mirrored that of Youngstown's male population. Compared to the rest of Youngstown's native-born white male population Klan members were over-represented in the middle nonmanual and skilled worker categories, and under-represented among semiskilled and unskilled workers.

Other evidence indicates that few of Youngstown's elite business and professional men joined the Klan. In the 1923 municipal elections, when the Kla won control of the city, its candidates lost only in the upper-class First Ward They ran most strongly in the newly-developed middle-class area across the Mahoning River from most of the city. Also, the Klan attempted to build a country club for its members, while the elite already belonged to the Youngstow Country Club. Klansmen worshipped very largely at Methodist, Presbyterian, Disciples of Christ, Baptist and pietistic Lutheran churches.

Jenkins argues persuasively that the Klan, in the Mahoning Valley, at least, should be viewed as part of a long-term cultural conflict caused by the rapid mixing of divergent cultures in a society already undergoing the wrenching changes of industrialization. The major consequences of this conflict were efforts to impose a Protestant moral code on American society. In the 1870s these efforts included formation of the Prohibition Party, Sunday closing laws, enforced Bible reading in public schools, and curtailment of prostitution. During the 1890s discontented white Protestants formed the virulently anti-Catholic American Protective Association, the Immigrant Restriction League and the Anti-Saloon League. The conflict intensified during the Progressive Era with, on the one hand, the passage and ratification of the Eighteenth (Prohibition) Amendment to the Constitution, passage by Congress of a literacy test for immigrants, and crusades to stop gambling, and on the other, attempts to end the reigns of political machines backed by Irish and immigrant voters. The Klan, Jenkins concludes, "was a culmination, not a sudden flowering" (ix). He concludes also that although the order was damaged severely by internal strife and the moral corruption of its leaders, "It was the opposition of rival ethnic groups that finished off the Klan" (114).(5)

Leonard Moore's book on the huge Indiana Klan deals with a population which differed significantly from that of Ohio's Mahoning Valley. Moore focuses particularly on three Indiana communities for which he uncovered detailed membership information. These include Indianapolis, a major industrial and commercial center; Richmond, a small industrial city; and Crown Point, a small town that served the surrounding farming area. Native-born whites with native-born parents constituted over 70 percent of Indianapolis' population, an over 75 percent of Richmond's. Moore does not offer similar information for rural Crown Point.

Furthermore, in 1920 nearly 40 percent of Indiana's immigrant population had come from northern and western Europe, primarily from Germany. Forty-two percen of Crown Point's Klansmen had at least one parent who had been born in Europe, the majority in Germany.

According to Moore, "The vast majority of the state's Klansmen lived in communities that were overwhelmingly, if not exclusively, native-born, Protestant and white" (10). Therefore, most of the Indiana Klan's activities as what Jenkins called "a Protestant defense league" (88, 94) were not reactionary in the sense that they were in areas where Irish, southern and eastern European immigrants and African Americans formed the great majority of the population.

In general, the Indiana Klan was not subjected to the kind of violent resistanc that it met in the Mahoning Valley--certainly not in Indianapolis, Richmond or Crown Point. The Klan provoked the type of violent reaction that Jenkins described only in Indiana cities such as South Bend, with a large Catholic population working in a major auto factory or attending Note Dame University, and Gary, a United States Steel city adjacent to Chicago. And even in these cities the response was comparatively limited. As Moore states: "Large scale battles between Klan and anti-Klan groups, such as those that occurred in both Ohio and Illinois, never took place in Indiana...." (10).

Moore's profile of Klan members in Indianapolis, Richmond and Crown Point, however, is very similar to the characteristics Jenkins found in Youngstown. (Moore studied Indianapolis Klansmen with the aid of a membership list which ha been stolen from the city's Klan headquarters, and published in Tolerance.) In all three, white-collar and skilled workers were overrepresented compared to non-Klansmen. Unskilled workers and elite business and professional men were underrepresented. In fact, the wealthiest individuals and high executives of large corporations played virtually no role in the Indianapolis, Richmond and Crown Point Klans. Only three of the twenty largest farm owners in rural Wayne County, served commercially by Crown Point, joined the Klan. Klansmen in these communities belonged overwhelmingly to the same Protestant denominations as did their counterparts in Youngstown--except for the sizeable proportions of evangelical United Brethren in Christ congregation members who joined the Klan in Indianapolis and Richmond, and of Quakers who joined in Richmond, a city settled originally by members of the Society of Friends.

Moore's book is the most impressive of the revisionist studies of the Klan. His statistical data are the fullest now available, and his analysis of that data i clear and astute. This evidence has enabled him to present us with a fresh and plausible history of the Klan in the state where it attracted by far the most members per capita, and in which it won the greatest political power. Moore attributes the Klan's enormous strength in Indiana to the order's promise to deal with the chief concerns of white Protestants. Foremost among these in the 1920s was Prohibition enforcement. In Indiana, as elsewhere, the Klan's rapid growth coincided with the beginning of national Prohibition and of widespread violations of dry laws. Indiana Klansmen were concerned also with state and local political corruption, which increased after the onset of Prohibition.

In the process of dealing with these issues, Moore maintains, "Klansmen also sought to revitalize a sense of social and civic unity in community life and uphold traditional religious and moral values" (11). Decades of industrial growth and economic concentration "had eroded established patterns in community life, undermined traditional commonly held values and diminished the ability of the average citizen to exert a strong influence in public affairs" (11). Therefore, in Indiana, the Klan's chief enemies were not Catholics, Jews, or African Americans, but the beneficiaries of economic consolidation such as the members of elite business organizations, especially Chambers of Commerce and Rotary clubs. In Indianapolis, these organizations provided the Klan with one o its main political issues by blocking expenditures for badly needed new schools in order to keep tax rates low. After the Klan won control of the school board, it presided over the completion of three new high schools and several new elementary schools, despite continued resistance from business interests.

In 1924 candidates backed by the Indiana Klan won elections for governor and fo almost every other state office. Only one anti-Klan candidate was elected to Congress in fourteen congressional contests. However, by mid-1925 the state Kla was declining in membership and influence.

Moore provides a good explanation for this rapid change. Scandals involving state Klan leaders, especially the arrest for rape and murder of former Grand Dragon (state head) D.C. Stephenson, played an important role. So did Klan stat legislators' inability to transform Klan ideology into law. Only one Klan proposal, obliging all students in Indiana schools to study the U.S. constitution, was enacted. The other bills initiated by Klansmen fell victim to dissension and to a lack of commitment by politically ambitious state Klan leaders.

The most important reason for the Klan's decline appears to have been the order's inability to show progress toward its chief objective: Prohibition enforcement. Despite the Klan's state and local political triumphs, Moore observes, "Illegal alcohol continued to flow, and by the mid-1920s few white Protestants entertained hope that anyone or any movement could succeed in stopping it" (187). Moore implies that this disenchantment with Prohibition (an therefore with the Klan) applied not only to Indiana, but to the United States as a whole. Almost certainly he is correct.

Four of the six community studies of the Klan in the book edited by Lay--those by Robert A. Goldberg, Christopher N. Cocoltchos, Larry A. Gerlach and Lay--are largely digests of material in longer works by these authors.(6) Those works were used by Moore in his essay about recent revisions in Klan historiography which appears in Lay's book. The other studies--of two Oregon, cities--make the pathbreaking research and ideas about the Klan in Oregon published in earlier essays by Eckard V. Toy and David A. Horowitz(7) available in a book about the Klan. Hopefully, all of these authors will now reach a wider audience.

These essays (and, Lay states, his unpublished study of the Klan in Buffalo, Ne York) confirm that Klan members came from a balanced cross section of the white Protestant population, except for the highest and lowest socioeconomic strata o that population. In the cities discussed in Lay's volume, Klansmen, with few exceptions, evidently avoided violent vigilantism.

Some illuminating local variations appear in these essays. Cocoltchos discovere that in Anaheim, after a Klan-dominated city government passed a strict new prohibition law and outlawed slot machines, it began enforcing traffic laws mor strictly and forced property owners to help maintain the streets and sidewalks fronting their property. Despite the Klan's promises about stringent Prohibitio enforcement, Cocoltchos discovered that "motor vehicle citations was the only category in which there was a significantly higher arrest rate during the perio of Klan ascendancy" (102).

Goldberg reports that in Denver the ambitious Mayor, a Klan member, deputized 125 American Legionnaires to carry out vice raids in April, 1925, bypassing the Chief of Police, also a Klansman. The successful raids "exposed a complex network of tipoffs, graft, and protection, at the center of which were the handpicked men of the Klan vice squad" (58). Similar corruption of Klan police officers, by bootleggers and speakeasy owners particularly, was common in areas controlled politically by the Klan, contributing to the disillusionment Moore describes with both Prohibition and the Klan.

In El Paso, the Klan attempted to win power, as it did elsewhere, by promising stricter law enforcement. The order's task was complicated, however, by the desire of the city's dominant businessmen and politicians to make El Paso a major convention and tourist center. They did so by stressing the convenient attractions of Ciudad Juarez across the border. Not only liquor, but narcotics, gambling and prostitutes were openly available in Juarez. A large supply of cheap labor for El Paso business firms came from Juarez. Lay gives a good account of the Klan's popular appeal, and of its failure to overcome the business elite's opposition in El Paso.

The Klan in Salt Lake City won large numbers of members with its usual appeals to what Gerlach refers to as "the traditional religious, social, and ethnic prejudices of Protestant Caucasians" (137). The order promised also to fight crime, particularly bootleggers. Furthermore, the Klan attempted to exploit the deepseated, endemic conflict between Mormon and gentile residents. In Salt Lake Klan insistence upon absolute separation of church and state--part of the order's anti-Catholic rhetoric elsewhere--"clearly referred to the involvement of the Mormon church in secular affairs" (134). Gerlach found the strong and persistent opposition of the Mormon hierarchy the most important factor in the Klan's political ineffectiveness in Salt Lake City.

Because the racial and moralistic attitudes of Klansmen were not significantly different from those of other Oregonians, Toy's essay on Eugene, Oregon, focuse especially on the Klan's anti-Catholicism. He found also that "Many Eugene Klansmen were salesmen or relatively young owners or managers of local businesses.... The Klan provided a means to challenge what they perceived as entrenched economic and political interests that often resisted change" (178).

Eugene's population of 10,593 in 1920 included only "several hundred Roman Catholics" (164). Yet after they gained control of virtually every municipal office in 1922-23, Eugene Klansmen engaged in a crusade to remove Catholics fro public office and Catholic teachers from public schools. They even fought an effort to establish a Newman House for Catholic students at the University of Oregon. The Klan gave strong support to a 1922 state initiative measure which would have abolished private and parochial schools for children between the age of eight and sixteen, a measure introduced by the state's Scottish Rite Masons. The initiative won 53 percent of the statewide vote, but 69 percent in Lake County, sparsely populated except for Eugene. (Eventually the Supreme Court found the measure unconstitutional.) Events in Eugene constitute part of the evidence that Klansmen did not need a large local presence of the objects of their racial, ethnic and religious animosities to display their bigotry against these groups.

Horowitz makes excellent use of minutes of Klan meetings in La Grande, Oregon. This Blue Mountain city of some seven thousand, about 300 miles east of Portland, included 661 Roman Catholics according to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, Census of Religious Bodies, 1926. Nevertheless, according to Horowitz, the city's Catholic community had established a solid position in commerce, politics and cultural affairs by the 1920s.

Horowitz reports that "Paranoia reached its most dramatic form in April 1923 when [chapter secretary] Fosner passed on a report that 'all good K.C. [Knights of Columbus] carry a 32-automatic when they go out at night"' (192). The Klan's chief anti-Catholic activity, in a city which depended heavily upon the Union Pacific railroad for jobs, was its service as "a job protection association for Protestant workers in a corporation managed by Roman Catholics" (194).

Chapter minutes disclose the extent of the Klan's devotion to Victorian morality. At meetings held on March 27 and May 8, 1923, the La Grande Klan rejected six applicants for membership because of alleged moral problems discovered by its investigators. These problems included "questionable 'character and affiliations'" (189), frequent bankruptcies, living with a woman not his wife, "selfish motives," (189), "bad reputation" (189), involvement in "unlawful proceedings" (190), and a reputation as a "moonshine drinker" (190).

The Klan's decline in La Grande coincided with the manslaughter trial of dentis Ellis O. Willson, an active Klansman. Willson was tried and convicted early in 1924 for performing an abortion on a clerical assistant with whom he had engage in sexual relations. About six weeks after the trial the La Grande chapter held its last recorded meeting.

The essays in Lay's book and Moore's history of the Indiana Klan provide additional evidence for the revisionist interpretation of the 1920s Klan. In most of the United States the Klan served as an ordinarily peaceful defender of white Protestant morality and power. Its purposes varied considerably from community to community in order to deal with distinctive local conditions. However, almost everywhere its middle class members emphasized Prohibition enforcement and attempted to overcome resistance to its objectives on the part of local elites. It left a heritage in these predominantly white Protestant communities of intensified prejudices and social animosity.

Jenkins' book helps demonstrate that in the industrial areas where white Protestants were minorities--though often still a majority of voters--the Klan' mindless bigotry aroused a desire for retribution and provoked counter intimidation on the part of the Catholic, Jewish and African-American majority. When the Klan pushed that majority too hard, it drew violent reactions upon itself.

In the deep South, too, if Georgia is, as it seems now, a representative example, the largely middle class members of the Klan won power mostly by promising to make community behavior patterns more consistent with traditional morality. In their effort to accomplish that end, southern Klansmen frequently used violence and threats of violence, in a fashion resembling that of the Reconstruction Klan. MacLean has shown that in the South, perhaps more than elsewhere, an attempt to keep older women in, and force younger women back toward their Victorian roles was a vital part of the Klan's objectives. One of MacLean's chief accomplishments is her successful incorporation of women's history and family history in the Social and political history of a male organization.

All the authors whose work has been reviewed in this essay deserve commendation for their serious study of the largest grassroots conservative (and sometimes reactionary) movement in American history. Their conclusion that the second Kla represented rather well the contemporary concerns of ordinary white native Protestants is an important step toward a fuller and therefore more accurate social history of the United States in the twentieth century. We must hope that American historians will apply similar skills to the analysis of other twentiet century conservative movements and their members, and that future research will continue to fill the gaps in our knowledge of the Klan.

Department of History Los Angeles, CA 90024-1473


1. My interpretation of this literature can be found in Stanley Coben, Rebellio Against Victorianism: The Impetus for Cultural Change in 1920's America (New York, 1991), 136-56.

2. Nancy MacLean, "Behind the Mask: Class, Race, and Gender in the Making of th Second Ku Klux Klan in a Georgia Town," forthcoming from Oxford University Press. I am very grateful to Professor MacLean for sending me a copy of this unpublished manuscript.

3. Peter Akin, "The Ku Klux Klan in the New South: Social Change and Conflict i Georgia, 1921-26," paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Organization of American Historians, April 17, 1993, Anaheim, CA, 11-12. I am grateful to Dr. Akin for sending me a copy of this unpublished paper.

4. The evidence available at present indicates that extensive Klan violence against northern white minorities, such as that against Italian winemakers and bootleggers in Herrin, Illinois, was rare. Paul M. Angle, Bloody Williamson: A Chapter in American Lawlessness (New York, 1952), 144-45,205.

5. With leadership from the National Catholic Welfare Conference, assimilated Catholics organized politically to challenge the Klan and its agenda, with some important successes. Lynn Dumenil, "The Tribal Twenties Assimilated' Catholics' Response to Anti-Catholicism," Journal of American Ethnic History 11 (Fall 1991): 21-49.

6. Goldberg, Hooded Empire: The Ku Klux Klan in Colorado (Urbana, 1981); Cocoltchos, "The Invisible Government and the Viable Community: The Ku Klux Kla in Orange County, California During the 1920's," Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles, 1979; Gerlach, Blazing Crosses in Zion: The Ku Klux Klan in Utah (Logan, Utah, 1982); Lay, War, Revolution, and the Ku Klux Klan: A Study of lntolerance in a Border City (El Paso, 1985). Cocoltchos's revised manuscript will be published as a book by Garland Press.

7. Toy, "The Ku Klux Klan in Oregon," in J. Edward Thomas and Carlos Schwantes, eds., Experiences in a Promised Land: Essays in Pacific Northwest History (Seattle, 1986), 269-86; Horowitz, 'The Klansmen as Outsider: Ethnocultural Solidarity and Antielitism in the Oregon Ku Klux Klan of the 1920's," Pacific Northwest Quarterly 80 (January 1989): 12-20.
COPYRIGHT 1994 Journal of Social History
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1994, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Cohen, Stanley
Publication:Journal of Social History
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 22, 1994
Previous Article:The Secularization of the Academy.
Next Article:Language, Self, and Society: A Social History of Language.

Related Articles
Work Engendered: Toward a New History of American Labor.
Terrible Honesty: Mongrel Manhattan in the 1920s.
Civilization Without Sexes: Reconstructing Gender in Postwar France, 1917-1927.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters