Was the Ku Klux Klan of the 1920's an Extremist Movement?
The Klan of the 1920's, founded by William J. Simmons, for five years, only consisted of 4,000 to 5,000 members. On June 7, 1920, Simmons signed a contract with two intelligent salespersons. Edward Clark and Elizabeth Tayler. The Klan campaign yielded an immediate success. Total membership figures too difficult to state, ranked somewhere between three and five million people. Did the Klan show signs of an extremist movement? Hate towards immigrants, Jews, and Catholics lead people to believe so.
To start, the Klan, inspired by the xenophobic (fear of foreigners) setting, hated immigrants. They did not like Japanese immigrants, nor did they like eastern European immigrants. Anti foreign feelings also accumulated from the 1924 reform laws. The Klan considered immigrants un-American. They usually enacted terrible hate crimes upon the immigrants.
To continue, the 1920's KKK ring inflicted hate upon the Jewish population.
Acts such as cross-burnings lead to many deaths of Jews. One reason of hate towards Jews formed because of the Jewish religion. It did not resemble the Klan's religion; therefore, they had to live most of their lives in agony. This hate shows another clue towards the KKK's extremist acts.
Also one group held the rank of the number one hated above all others - Catholics. The KKK accused Catholics of placing all their loyalty towards the pope ahead of the nation. KKK leaders thought that Catholics, if given enough political power, would abolish many freedoms such as religion, speech, and press. The Klan committed treacherous acts upon the Catholic population. At the time, 36 percent of the nation claimed themselves Catholic.
To conclude, because greed affected the Klan, because moral hypocrisy deteriorated it, and because the expenses purged, the Ku Klux Klan of the 1920's...