To what extent did the kkk have sizeable support, influence and significance between 1920 and 1930s America. The Klu Klux Klan was a widespread racist group who harboured immense hate for African Americans and non white groups who flourished with up to 6 million members in the 1920s. Throughout this essay I will assess the significance of the kkk during the period of 1900 to 1930 and how much influence they had on the American public.
Categories such as how this influence came about and how the kkk managed o give purpose to a population who were afraid of change and had little confidence with the new USA will allow the extent of the kkk support, significance and influence to be shown. Although the kkk was formed in south after the civil war to terrorise African Americans, it was truly reborn in 191 5 as an organisation to promote white supremacy. They gained considerable support in the Midwest as well as in the south.
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This was done by using modern business and salesman techniques coupled with more brutal methods, this allowed for the kkk to attract 100,000 followers by 1921 and p to 5,000,000 by 1923. This shows that the kkk did indeed have sizeable support during the 1920s in america. Two of the kkk’s leaders Edgar Clark and Elizabeth Tyler were professional fund- raisers and publicity agents, this allowed them to efficiently organise and propagate the kkk which widely increased its influence throughout America in the 1920’s and by the amount of followers they amassed in the 1920’s alone shows that their influence was indeed significant.
One of the main reasons why the kkk exerted such a significant amount of influence nd held such a large area of support in the USA in the 1920’s, was undoubtedly due to the fact that the klan met a need amongst many Americans and even created an influence in Canada for a short time. The Klan gave them a immense sense of importance, belonging and power. Methods such as violence, burning crosses and wearing uniforms added purpose to the lives of many farmers, artisans and shopkeepers who made up the most of the kkk as well as being the ones who suffered the worst out of White Americans during the boom and bust.
Emergence of of other ethnic groups, immigrants and advances in technology and science made a target area of the USA afraid of what the future of the white Americans might be. This fear of the vastly changing USA allowed for the kkk to flourish and to appeal to such a large audience. Brutal acts like lynching of African Americans, ana now oTten It occurred snows influence over these groups during the 1920s. ne KKK naa slgnlTlcant support an However it is important to note that the kkk’s influence and support varied heavily throughout america.
Geographically it only really obtained a large following in Indiana Ohio and Illinois aswell as small rural areas and cities. The kkk did not have much significant influence over those who lived in Large industrial cities as the white Americans who lived there came from a more of a middle class and as such a more rational area of society. This shows that the kkk did have a significant influence and sizeable support but only in the more rural and less industrialised state of America. The largest area in which the kkk used there significant influence was in politics and aw enforcement.
Just like the gangsters the kkk had control of influential politicians. This is shown by the fact that the klan managed to elect governors in Maine, Ohio , Colorado, Louisiana and at one point both Georgia senators were Klansman. These high up government officials were the backbone of the Klans significant influence, this is evident in the way that it helped to destroy the campaign of a Catholic New Yorker named A1 Smith someone who was to be nominated for president in 1924. The Klan fought energetically against him again in 1928 which ltimately caused him to lose his chance at presidency.
This manipulating of the political system shows that thee Klan not only had a significant influence on the USA but undoubtedly a sizeable support. Although at one point during the 1920s the klan did undoubtedly have sizeable support and significant influence it collapsed as a mass organisation. This was due to David Stevenson who had built the klan into a powerful political machine being convicted of a second degree murder due to the rape of a women who later committed suicide, this killed of large scale support for the Klan.
By 1929 its membership had fallen to only 200,000 members compared to its 5,000,000 in 1924. Due to this by 1930 the klans sizeable power and significant influence was broken on the national stage. In conclusion it has been shown that the kkk did indeed have a sizeable support and indeed a significant influence in the 1920s however it was only to an extent as the Klans support and significance died out rather quickly and by 1930 it had gone from a organisation capable of influencing national events like the election of a presidency, to a group that was barely even existent.