Kevin M. Kruse @KevinMKruse Historian. Author/editor of White Flight; The New Suburban History; Spaces of the Modern City; Fog of War; One Nation Under God; Fault Lines. Oct. 29, 2018 1 min read

Great question. Let me respond with a short thread.

The Second Klan's nativism was both racial and religious in nature, a defense of "true Americanism" that they defined as White Anglo Saxon Protestantism.

So they targeted African Americans like the first Klan had, but also Jews and Catholics -- religions they deemed foreign.

Nationally, Catholics were the main threat in the Klan's eyes in the 1920s, as the numbers of Catholics had steadily grown over the previous decades with new waves of immigration from southern and eastern Europe.

The Klan capitalized on a wider panic over Catholic influence.

The Klan's anti-Catholic panic really peaked with the 1928 presidential election, when the Democrats nominated New York's Gov. Al Smith -- an Irish Catholic -- for president.

They spread all kinds of lies about Smith -- fake news, if you will.

They showed a photo of him dedicating the Holland Tunnel in New York City and claiming that, if he were elected, he would extend the tunnel all the way to the basement of the Vatican. Etc. etc.

Anyway, if you want to read more about the Second Klan, here's a review I did of Linda Gordon's recent book on it. 

Oh, and yes!

My first book was all about segregationists, the KKK and the first group of neo-Nazis in America, so I decided to start using my middle initial then.

You can follow @KevinMKruse.


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