University of Oulu

Constitution and laws of the masked order : ideological tenets and political action of the KKK in the 1920s

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Author: Härkönen, Tuomas1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Humanities, History of Science and Ideas
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
Pages: 25
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : T. Härkönen, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-05-26
Thesis type: Bachelor's thesis
Tutor: Kananoja, Kalle


This thesis examines the ideology presented in the Second Klan’s constitution named Constitution and Laws of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. This primary source offers a broad framework of values which in turn can be reflected in the political action of the Klan in the 1920s. The ideology of the Second Klan was expanded in the turn of the decade taking stances on a plurality of issues, not just race relations. While the constitutional ideology itself lacks deeper philosophical justification or argument, it gave the Second Klan a clear, interconnected framework to work off and put into action as they saw fit.

The Second Klan’s early years were unsuccessful as their focus was primarily on race relations, but the White Protestant population was facing a more varied set of issues in the early 1900s. The Klan had to adapt its ideology broadening its scope to issues such as gender relations, the loss of community and political corruption and tyranny. This new approach proved to be a great success for the even though the high point of the Klan’s influence was short lived.

Even though the Second Klan enjoyed wide success and a strong grass-roots support, the Klan’s leaders were relatively ineffective at fulfilling their goals on a political level, seemingly preoccupied by personal enrichment. This brief period gives a varied view of the organization, its values and how it tried to implement them before collapsing due to internal conflicts and public scandals.

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Copyright information: © Tuomas Härkönen, 2023. Except otherwise noted, the reuse of this document is authorised under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0) licence ( This means that reuse is allowed provided appropriate credit is given and any changes are indicated. For any use or reproduction of elements that are not owned by the author(s), permission may need to be directly from the respective right holders.