Why was the 1920s the high point of the Ku Klux Klan*s

Why were the 1920s the high point of
the Ku Klux Klan’s popularity?
Learning objective – to be able to explain
why the Ku Klux Klan was so popular
during the 1920s
I can describe some
for the reasons why
the Ku Klux Klan was
so popular during the
Grade D
I can explain the
impact of the Ku Klux
Klan and why did
their popularity rise
dramatically fall.
Grade B
I can explain and assess
the impact of the Ku Klux
Klan on US society in the
Grade A
Starter – How many members were there in
the KKK in 1924 and how many in 1929?
Starter – How many members were there in
the KKK in 1924 and how many in 1929?
1924 – 4.5 million members
1929 – just under 200,000 members
Why was America a divided society in
the 1920s?
New America
Old America
• New immigrants from all
over Europe.
• Many followed different
religions such as Judaism
and Catholicism.
• Many
• British descendants from
• WASPs.
• Controlled many areas of
politics and society.
What were the origins of the Ku Klux
The Ku Klux Klan was formed
after the American Civil War
in 1866 in Tennessee. It was
a secret society determined
to protect the Whites who
lived in the Old South from
the threat of AfricanAmericans who had been
freed from slavery. They
went into decline after 1877.
What did the Ku Klux Klan do?
The Ku Klux Klan protected
their secrecy by wearing
white robes and met in
They were structured like an
Their meetings emphasised
Protestantism and were
governed by a rule book
called the ‘Kloran’.
Why did the Ku Klux Klan gain
popularity from the 1910s onwards?
Immense popularity of the
hit film The Birth of the
Nation in 1915, which
portrayed the KKK as heroes
defending the WASP way of
Growing fears from poor
white southerners afraid of
African-Americans and
immigrants willing to work
for low wages and taking jobs
normally reserved for them.
KKK was reformed in 1915
with cheap membership of
$10 – which included KKK
KKK also capitalised upon the
growing fears towards
immigration, seeing them as
a threat to American society.
How much influence did the Ku Klux Klan
have on US society during the 1920s?
There were examples that
the KKK were able to
influence elections. For
example, in Maine, the
Attorney-General spoke out
against the KKK and was
promptly removed from
The 1920s saw KKK lead a
growing campaign of terror
across the South, with
lynchings and burnings. This
intimidation created an
atmosphere of fear and
It could be argued that the
KKK greatest influence came
in their campaign for
immigration controls which
favoured those from
northern Europe.
Why did support for the Ku Klux Klan
collapse between 1924 and 1929?
Membership of the KKK fell
from 4.5 million in 1924 to
just under 200, 000 in 1929.
A key reason for this was the
conviction of David
Stephenson, the Grand
Dragon of the KKK, of rape.
Other members were also
implicated in rapes and
corruption. This undermined
the KKK’s standing for moral
WASP behaviour.
Also, the KKK was a victim of
its own success. Having
helped secure immigration
controls many members
were no longer actively
This word cloud summarises
the content of today’s lesson.
Pick out the three most
important words and explain
why they summarise your
learning in the lesson.
NOTE – you cannot choose
Ku Klux AND Klan – you are
just allowed one from those

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