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Klansman and Dictator

The Ku Klux Klan was very prominent and active in Southern Illinois in the 1920s. Many head officials and authorities were sympathizers of the Klan or part of the Klan themselves. However, one might ask how the Klan rose to such a high position in this area of the country during the time period, especially in the town of Herrin, Illinois. Because the Klan promised many different improvements to the people of Herrin, the Klan was able to control the town as its own and was accepted as ultimate authority. In 1923, when the KKK rose to power in southern Illinois, their beliefs were eye to eye with the townspeople. Both were primarily Protestant, and both hated and resented immigrants, especially Italians who drank wine and made up twenty percent of Herrin‘s population. Among the Klan rose fear of all who were not Protestant, calling all other religions crazy. Patriotism was also a key element of the Klan in post World War I era, and hatred for immigrants from Europe was popular and in full force. The Klan slogan of “100 percent American” became a common saying and allowed others to take out their misfortunes on the immigrants. Because of a similar religious and cultural background and an overwhelming patriotism, the Klan was able to prosper in southern Illinois. After the passing of the 18th amendment, Prohibition, crime was at an all time high. Bootlegging, gambling, and prostitution were common, especially at roadways and other secret hideouts. Gangsters such as Charlie Birger and the Shelton Brothers enjoyed extreme power and were often above the law due to bribes and corruption. The crime ring seemed to center around Williamson County, Illinois, and the townsfolk grew restless as it struggled continuously to control it. In spite of this drastic problem, the Klan offered a simple and swift solution. They proposed that a series of raids would take place under federal authority, and stop all illegal and undes...

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Klansman and Dictator. (1969, December 31). In DirectEssays.com. Retrieved 06:00, September 21, 2014, from http://www.megaessays.com/viewpaper/92470.html