s bur rather solid middle-class citizens who were concerned about the decline in moral standards in their communities.” This paper discusses this argument using different journal articles and books. It agrees that the 1920s Klansmen were solid middle-class citizens concerned with declining moral standards, although literature also provides evidence that the Klansmen were religious nativists and active political actors who served diverse community-based social, economic, and political purposes.
This paper begins with the historical analysis that the KKK were made of backward extremists. In The Party of Fear, David Bennett (1988:12) argues that the KKK is part of Americas right-wing “subculture,” who rejected the evolving social conditions of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Klansmen attacked foreigners and communism, although Bennett (1988: 13) argues that the KKK was the “traditional nativisms last stand.” Bennett (1988) emphasises that the KKK developed as a response to widespread economic, cultural, and social changes. The economy was doing well enough for wages to increase and for people to buy numerous consumer goods (Bennett 1988: 204). Leisure time also increased and led to new values that promoted “hero” worship of movie stars and sports icons and cosmopolitan attitudes and practices (Bennett 1988: 203). At the other side of those who adjusted to the new America were the “losers,” who were mostly “small-town folk in the South, West, and lower Midwest” (Bennett 1988: 204). They were economic losers who “felt a terrible loss in the displacement of traditional values no matter what their personal economic or social situations” (Bennett 1988: 204). Bennett (1988: 204) argues that since these people could not access the new world of “sexual and social freedom,” they used repressive movements, such as the KKK, to advance their own values and interests. Bennett (1988) believes that the KKK provided the means by which