One Hundred Percent American: The Rebirth and Decline of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s

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Rowman & Littlefield, Oct 16, 2011 - History - 281 pages
In the 1920s, a revived Ku Klux Klan burst into prominence as a self-styled defender of American values, a magnet for white Protestant community formation, and a would-be force in state and national politics. But the hooded bubble burst at mid-decade, and the social movement that had attracted several million members and additional millions of sympathizers collapsed into insignificance. Since the 1990s, intensive community-based historical studies have reinterpreted the 1920s Klan. Rather than the violent, racist extremists of popular lore and current observation, 1920s Klansmen appear in these works as more mainstream figures. Sharing a restrictive American identity with most native-born white Protestants after World War I, hooded knights pursued fraternal fellowship, community activism, local reforms, and paid close attention to public education, law enforcement (especially Prohibition), and moral/sexual orthodoxy. No recent general history of the 1920s Klan movement reflects these new perspectives on the Klan. One Hundred Percent American incorporates them while also highlighting the racial and religious intolerance, violent outbursts, and political ambition that aroused widespread opposition to the Invisible Empire. Balanced and comprehensive, One Hundred Percent American explains the Klan's appeal, its limitations, and the reasons for its rapid decline in a society confronting the reality of cultural and religious pluralism.
 

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Contents

Chapter 01 The Klan in 1920s Society
3
Chapter 02 Building a White Protestant Community
21
White Supremacy and AntiCatholicism
47
The Klan and Public Schools
89
Prohibition Law and Culture
119
Moral Vigilantism Enemies and Provocation
157
Chapter 07 The Search for Political Influence and the Collapse of the Klan Movement
185
Chapter 08 Echoes
217
Historians and the Klan
221
Notes
229
Index
273
A Note on the Author
281
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About the author (2011)

Thomas R. Pegram is professor of history at Loyola University Maryland. Born in Hammond, Indiana, he grew up in the Midwest and California, then studied at Santa Clara University and Brandeis University, where he received a Ph.D. in American history. He has also taught at the Ohio State University. He is also the author of Battling Demon Rum: The Struggle for a Dry America, 1800-1933, and Partisans and Progressives: Private Interest and Public Policy in Illinois, 1870-1922. He lives with his family in Baltimore County, Maryland.

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