Saving Society Through Politics: the Ku Klux Klan in Dallas, Texas in the 1920s

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This study analyzes the rise of the 1920s Ku Klux Klan in Dallas, Texas, in the context of the national Klan. It looks at the circumstances and people behind the revival of the Klan in 1915. It chronicles the aggressive marketing program that brought the Klan to Dallas and shows how the Dallas Klavern then changed the course of the national Klan with its emphasis on politics. Specifically, this was done through the person of Hiram Wesley Evans, Dallas dentist and aspiring intellectual, who engineered a coup and took over the national Klan operations in 1922. Evans, as did Dallas's ... continued below

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vii, 348 leaves

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Morris, Mark N. (Mark Noland) December 1997.

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  • Morris, Mark N. (Mark Noland)

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Description

This study analyzes the rise of the 1920s Ku Klux Klan in Dallas, Texas, in the context of the national Klan. It looks at the circumstances and people behind the revival of the Klan in 1915. It chronicles the aggressive marketing program that brought the Klan to Dallas and shows how the Dallas Klavern then changed the course of the national Klan with its emphasis on politics. Specifically, this was done through the person of Hiram Wesley Evans, Dallas dentist and aspiring intellectual, who engineered a coup and took over the national Klan operations in 1922. Evans, as did Dallas's local Klavern number 66, emphasized a strong anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic ideology to recruit, motivate, and justify the existence of the Ku Klux Klan.

The study finds that, on the local scene, the Dallas Klavern's leadership was composed of middle and upper-middle class businessmen. Under their leadership, the Klan engaged in a variety of fraternal and vigilante activities. Most remarkable, however, were its successful political efforts. Between 1922 and 1924, the Klan overthrew the old political hierarchy and controlled city and county politics to such a
degree that only the Dallas school board escaped the Invisible Empire's domination. Klavern 66 also wielded significant control of state Klan operations and worked vigorously and with some success to elect Klan officials at the state level. As the dissertation shows, all of this occurred in the face of heavy and organized opposition from political elites and those who opposed the Klan on principle.

Finally, the dissertation looks at the complex combination of factors that brought the Klan's influence to an end. National scandals, internal squabbles, political failures, and longsuffering opposition from the mainstream press chipped away at the public's favorable impression of the Klan. Successful immigration restriction, an improving economy, and a lessening of post-war social tensions reduced the Klan's attractiveness. As a result, national and local Dallas membership dropped precipitously after 1924, and the Klan's dominance in local politics faded as well.

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vii, 348 leaves

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  • December 1997

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  • March 26, 2014, 9:30 a.m.

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Morris, Mark N. (Mark Noland). Saving Society Through Politics: the Ku Klux Klan in Dallas, Texas in the 1920s, dissertation, December 1997; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc279068/: accessed October 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .