• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How far do you agree that the KKK had a strong political influence and public support in the 1920s?

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐How far do you agree that the KKK had a strong political influence and public support in the 1920s? ?the Klan defends against the invader?. This quote represents the growing conflict between value systems in 1920 America; America throughout the 20s became divided between a traditional, white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant America and a developing urban, cosmopolitan, migrant population of the north. WW1, combined with the Red Scare, instated a atmosphere of fear and chaos and exposed the underlying tensions of race and immigration which were present within American society. For centuries the white, protestant America had reigned supreme over influential institutions and policies in America, however, with this growth of immigration these traditional values, political power, availability of jobs and housing (to them) became limited. This atmosphere of intolerance caused by the fear in losing hold of society was exploited by the KKK. Through the medium of propaganda, The KKK were portrayed as a fraternal organization that best represented the prejudices that Anglo-Saxon Protestant America held . The KKK became a body of traditional and conservative protest, by transforming the America of ?freedom? into an America that advocated ?100% Americanism? and laid emphasis on the assertion of old, traditional values of prohibition, family morals and religious faith. This combined with increased methods of intimidation (reducing opposition) ...read more.


However, although initially confined to that of the southern states, the effectiveness of the Klan can further be witnessed through its expansion towards the north - an example being that Indiana had the greatest number of Klaverns of any state and in 1925 40% of Klan membership was from the three northern states in that of Ohio, Illinois and Indiana. The northern states of America in the 1920s were the states of progress, development and immigration and the fact that the Klan infiltrated these areas, further represents the popularity and public opinion of the KKK in America; the KKK were not just confined to the poor rural areas of America, the KKK had gained middle class support by using the KKK as a franchise of solidarity that represented 100% Americanism. Synonymous to increased public support of the organization was the growth in their political influence. The political influence held by the Klan can be witnessed during the 1924 Democratic convention or ?Klanbake?. A candidate for the democrats, Al Smith, was virtually not allowed to take office due to him being a Roman Catholic and therefore not having the backing of the Klan. Furthermore, the Pleasy vs Ferguson case (1896) is a further representation of the political influence of the Klan, with southern states passing pieces of legislation decreeing white only primaries by working on the basis of ?separate but equal? and parallel to ...read more.


and the exaggeration of the dangers of the Red Scare throughout the 1920s, the Republican government indirectly led to the growth of the KKK by providing the KKK with the ammunition required to recruit individuals; with the KKK using the immigration laws as evidence to suggest that traditional American values were in danger and through violence and intimidation they had to be restored. The hysteria caused from events of the Red Scare such as the Palmer Raids allowed the KKK to exploit the tensions in America - these tensions being a direct result of the legislation passed by the American government. Overall, the Klan in the 1920s held considerable amount of political power - both within the northern areas and the southern states of America, however, in terms of the overall success of the Klan, this political power (as can be seen in the democratic convention of 1924) was limited federally and did not impact the legislation passed by Washington. In reference to public opinion, there is no doubt that in the mid 1920s public opinion was at the highest of 5 million nationwide, however, although films such as Birth of a Nation increased public opinion, the corruption at the heart of KKK combined with their continuing policy of racialism isolated many supporters in an America who saw these disputes as irrelevant in comparison to the oncoming economic crash in 1929 - this led to a decrease in numbers in 1928 and increased the irrelevance that the KKK had within American culture. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level History of the USA, 1840-1968 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level History of the USA, 1840-1968 essays

  1. To what extent was the economic boom of the 1920s caused by the development ...

    boom however due to the focus on the higher classes, they were arguably less influential than the development of mass production methods. The development of credit in the 1920s is a significant contributing factor to the economic boom. The introduction of credit enabled consumers to buy goods they otherwise would

  2. How far do you agree with this description of the prosperity of the USA ...

    this caused a big problem, especially when you consider the tariffs the British and French governments placed on imported American goods. The tariffs helped the American economy in the short term as many more people bought American manufactured goods but it hurt the economy in the long term.


    As their sales dropped, so did wages and employment, leading to less money in circulation, less demand and a significantly weaker economy. As the trusts' sales dropped, it also led to fewer stock market investments, which furthered the loss of confidence in Wall Street.

  2. To what extent does a fear of Communism explain the changes in American policy ...

    After the bombing of his house in 1919, he set the blame on 'foreign radicals', who he believed would be found in immigrant communities, and pledged to purge it. His General Intelligence Division was set up to spy on these immigrants.

  1. Were the 1920s a decade of conformity, intolerance and conservatism?

    Their views of intolerance was reflected in the passing of the Emergency Quota Act 1921 and Immigration Act of 1924, the first such restrictions placed on "foreign-borns." The well-publicised Scopes Trial of 1925 epitomised the battle between traditionalists and modernists.

  2. Assess the view that the introduction of National Prohibition in the USA was inspired ...

    With the news of the Prohibition, many foreigners replaced the drunken American workforce allowing cheaper labour but unfortunately degrading the idealism of a pure American workforce. Futhermore the immigrants brought poverty and opportunities for cultural modernisation in America. With the current situation of the Prohibition law, the immigrants just caused a larger problem and conflict within the American society.

  1. Prohibition - The Importance of January 16th 1920 to the US.

    Real-estate holders and companies thought that rents would increase because the closing of saloons and liquor stores would make neighborhoods safer for inhabitants. Even the entertainment business saw gain from the fact that people would be searching for other ways of entertainment other than alcohol and saloons (Behr).

  2. How far did modernity impact on the USA in the 1920's?

    This highlighted the fact that people were generally living better, longer and had more money to spend on consumer goods. The 1920s become known as the golden age of advertisement as it encouraged spending power to grow causing people to indulge in fashion, cars, radio and household appliances.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work