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Title: The Klan Unmasked

Author: William Joseph Simmons
Illustrator: J. A. Murdoch
Release Date: December 9, 2021 [eBook #66917]
Language: English
Character set encoding: UTF-8
Produced by: Tim Lindell, Graeme Mackreth and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive/American Libraries.)


Founder of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and Emperor Invisible Empire




Founder of

The Knights of The Ku Klux Klan


Emperor of The Invisible Empire






The Wm. E. Thompson
Publishing Company

Illustrations by J.A. Murdoch, Atlanta, Ga.


Chapter Page
Foreword: Why I Write a Book 7
Organization and Methods
I. The Klan Yesterday and To-day 18
II. We Americans—A Vanishing People 26
III. Fraternalism of The Klan 38
IV. The Klanishness of The Klan 46
V. Is The Klan Anti-Semitic? 55
VI. Is The Klan Anti-Catholic? 64
VII. The Terminology of The Klan 79
VIII. Symbolism of The Klan 87
IX. The Rendezvous 97
The Fading Hope of Democracy
X. Democracy as a Social System is on Trial 103
XI. Our Cities a Menace to Democracy 113
XII. The Failure of Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe 119
XIII. Foreign Outposts in The United States 126
XIV. The Racial Limitations of Democracy 139
XV. The American Negro as Ward of The Nation147
XVI. We Americans are a Peculiar People 161
XVII. Giantism—The National Disease of America 174
XVIII. Drifting 184
A Salvaging Policy for Americanism
XIX. "The Federal Union—It Must be Preserved" 198
XX. Our Country's Part Among the Nations 212
XXI. We English-Speaking People Must Stand Together 219
XXII. The Nemesis of Immigration 230
XXIII. The Problem of Restricting The Suffrage 248
XXIV. National Solidarity Through Education 260
XXV. The Conservation of The American Home 274
XXVI. "A Final Word 284

[Pg 7]


Various representatives of the press, as well as many of my colleagues in the organization of which I have the honor to be the Founder and head, have repeatedly asked me to make a public statement, descriptive of our organization. It was anticipated in certain quarters that we should at once make specific reply to the embittered attacks upon the Klan. Although abundant space in the press was placed at our disposal for this purpose, we did not take advantage of the offer. It is no part of the policy of the Klan to enter into heated public controversies—even in self-defense. We felt all along that a clear and simple statement of facts concerning the form of our organization, its methods and ultimate purposes, while perhaps due the public, was not due the instigators of the attacks upon us. We are not as yet aware of the exact source of these attacks. Yet, I may say, the membership of the Klan universally welcomed it, realizing that sooner[Pg 8] or later the Klan must be under fire. Whether or not we are enemies of our country and of freedom we are quite willing to leave for the public to decide.

Meanwhile, the direct effect of these attacks upon the Klan will not be without interest. Our ranks have been rendered more firm and steady. The public has been rather amused than affected seriously by the reams of villification which were heaped upon the Klan. It now remains for us to tell what the Ku Klux Klan really is, how it came into existence, and what it purposes to do through the organized power of its membership.

We have been outrightly accused of maintaining secrecy in the conduct of our organization. We ask, in rejoinder, for how long has it been a crime or a misdemeanor in the United States for a fraternal organization to employ secrecy in the conduct of its affairs? We have, literally, hundreds of secret organizations in this country. The[Pg 9] fact that a number of persons draw themselves together in an organization for mutual aid, for mutual confidences, and for mutual effort, implies that they have something in common which they do not wish to share fully with the public. So has every family and almost every business. Then, too, the element of secrecy no doubt develops the interest of the membership, adding to the charm as well as to the value of their fellowship. Concerning this feature of our organization, I feel assured that we might appeal to the common sense and fairness which Americans are always and everywhere ready enough to show. No one expects the Masonic fraternity or the Knights of Columbus,—to mention two large, well-known and respected fraternal organizations in this country,—to exhibit all their forms of salutation and other formalities to the public. We simply claim the same rights and privileges which other fraternal organizations share, both under the law and in the esteem of the public mind.

[Pg 10]

New organizations and movements usually draw the fire of the uninformed. People are inclined to be suspicious of that which they do not understand. When Masonry first assumed its larger importance in America it was the object of attacks so bitter that some of the members were placed in danger of their lives. An Anti-Masonic party, nearly a hundred years ago, acquired material importance and sent several members to Congress. Just preceding the War Between the States, the Know-Nothing, or Anti-Catholic party ran through its brief but stormy career. This party was caused by the fact that the Catholic Church was growing in certain parts of the country where it had hitherto been almost unknown. When we Klansmen reflect upon these historical facts we are much consoled. It remains only to say, in this connection, that we bear our recent detractors not the slightest ill will whatever. They do not understand us. That is all.

We confess that the Ku Klux Klan has been organized in order to help in the ac[Pg 11]complishment of a great task. Neither the magnitude of this task nor its vital importance to the future of our country are yet widely realized. Our American citizenship is usually earnest and active with regard to the discharge of its more simple duties. With reference to larger social problems, however, problems which sometimes assume the form of great national dangers, our country is often enough soundly asleep. The Ku Klux Klan proposes to wake the sleeper and make him at least sit up, look around, and ask the time of day.

Whether or not we are enabled to accomplish all that we have set out to do remains for the future to decide. But I may say that the growth of the Klan and the universal spirit and activity of its membership indicate pretty clearly that neither our hopes nor our efforts, thus far, have been in vain. The Klan is growing in the North and West more rapidly than in the South. It has been carefully and permanently grounded in nearly every large city. It[Pg 12] will eventually spread to every town, hamlet and country cross-roads. With our six years of organized effort and our present status in mind, we may be pardoned for saying that we feel that there must be some need for an organization which has, in so short a time, shown such phenomenal strength. The Klan exists because it satisfies a most vital need in our national public life. Our opponents have tried to indicate that our position and purposes are purely negative. Nothing is farther from the truth. Any candid, logical and patriotic mind which will reflect upon this and the following chapters of this book can not be our enemy.

In order to first clear the way of the trivialities which have been placed there to clog our footsteps, I wish in this foreword to state most positively certain facts with reference to our organization. The Ku Klux Klan has not been organized or conducted in opposition to any religion or religious sect, or against the members of any race or language group, either within or[Pg 13] without the borders of our country. Upon this point let no doubt be left in the mind of any American. It has been falsely stated that we are fanning the flames of hatred against the Negro race. Exactly the opposite is the truth. To our fellow citizens of the Jewish or the Roman Catholic faith, and to other groups too numerous to mention, we enter a flat denial to all those pure fabrications which have seemingly given them so much alarm. It is, indeed, quite true that our membership is restricted. It includes only citizens of the white race. So does the membership of the Clan-na-Gael and of B'rith Israel. If it may be truthfully said that our membership is also restricted to Christians and to Protestants, this is due purely to the fact that certain deductions may be made from certain paragraphs in our Constitution and By-Laws. We have not yet ceased wondering why attacks should be made upon us in the public press on that score. The membership of the Knights of Columbus is, I believe, restricted to members of the Roman Catholic Church. Is there[Pg 14] anything especially dangerous or wrong about that? I should not say so. Catholic Churchmen have both a legal right and a moral right to organize and conduct a fraternal order by and for themselves alone. Moreover, the Knights of Columbus as an organization, and in the personnel of its individual members, would be well within their rights in demanding that they be saved from slander, villification and unjust attacks of every sort, because of the restriction of their membership to those of one faith. Since the end of the war various German organizations, such as fraternal orders, singing societies, etc., have begun to re-establish themselves. These organizations are fully protected by the law and their members do not lack the esteem of their English-speaking fellow citizens. Hence, I would most candidly ask—and would that my voice could be heard throughout the length and breadth of the land—since when has it become a crime for a body of American-born, English-speaking, white citizens to organize themselves into a fraternal order?[Pg 15] What has happened in our country which seems to bring our particular racial and social group so much into disrepute? Since the House of Representatives in Washington has investigated us, why is not a resolution presented asking the House to investigate other institutions of a similar nature? However that may be, since we have been duly investigated, and the investigation has ended without the slightest accusation or criticism, so far as we know, on the part of the House Committee, we would now ask our accusers, in their turn, to be candid enough to do one of two things. They must either present further facts to substantiate their accusations or retract the accusations.

We repeat most emphatically—The members of the Ku Klux Klan, as individuals or as Klansmen, are not the enemies of the Negro. We are the best friends the Negro has, here or anywhere. Our organization makes opposition to no religious sect or creed, as such. Our order is based squarely[Pg 16] upon the Constitution and laws of our country. We hope never to be unmindful of the basic fact that both the Federal and State Constitutions guarantee freedom of religious belief and practice. We invite our fellow citizens of every faith to join us in the protection of so valuable and sacred a right. Every statement made at any time that we would deny this right to others than ourselves is an absolute and unmitigated falsehood. In conclusion, let me emphasize that the Ku Klux Klan conducts its activities not only within the law, but in active support of the law. Our general organization would not tolerate for a moment any illegal act on the part of any of our local organizations. The Klan has not been formed to express little hatreds but to study crucial problems and aid in the execution of large national policies.

I might add a further word. We take pride in the fact that our national and local organizations have conducted themselves, generally, within the bounds of the[Pg 17] strictest discipline. Perhaps it has been because of the ease with which crimes might be committed and our local organization unjustly blamed therefor that we have suffered from a certain sort of criticism and attack from the uninformed and the misinformed. We are now taking steps to make the Klan perfectly secure against such criminal misuse of its name and regalia. Suffice it to say here that we take the keenest pride in our record, and in challenging our opponents and detractors to present the facts which their allegations demand, we ask of them in the most kindly spirit. We take much for granted. We can not be misunderstood for long. We know that many of those who unknowingly oppose us to-day will be our best friends, in many cases, indeed, our ardent companions of to-morrow.

[Pg 18]


The Klan Yesterday and To-day

In many questions, from all sources, I have been asked as to how the Klan of the Sixties was related to the Klan of to-day. The original Ku Klux Klan sprang from the urgent necessities of the Reconstruction period. At the close of the War Between the States, the South was prostrated and devastation was spread from the Potomac to the Rio Grande. Following hard upon the collapse of the Southern Confederacy, hordes of bad white men, generally termed "Carpet-Baggers" and "Scalawags", came into the South to prey upon the prostrated people of that section and to fatten on the ruins of war. This crowd of men had been loyal to neither the Union nor the Confederacy, and, in most instances, traitors to both. The tremendous upheaval had thrown them from obscurity into publicity. They availed themselves of the conditions that obtained to establish themselves and utilized the re[Pg 19]cently emancipated race of slaves to further their ends. Negroes everywhere were organized and taught to hate the white people of the Southern states. Under martial law they controlled all the elections that were held in the South. From these was elevated to our legislatures and courts an alien race, untaught, unskilled and incapable of government. White men in the South who had borne arms in defense of the Confederacy had the hostility of the so-called Union League directed against them. Their property was invaded, their homes were menaced and in many instances the white women of the South became the prey of Negroes who had been inflamed by the teachings of "Carpet-Baggers" and "Scalawags." The evident purpose was to establish for all time the supremacy of the Negro over our Anglo-Saxon people and civilization.


The Grand Wizard of the Original Ku Klux Klan.

To meet this condition and arrest this menace, the Ku Klux Klan sprang into existence. The white man's civilization that had been thousands of years in the building[Pg 20] was imperilled. The blood of the white man ran like lightning. Tremendous forces leaped from the ashes of defeat and drove like the whirlwind throughout the land. Civilization sounded the note of wild alarm. An empire covering half a continent took form in an hour and more than a half million men were mobilized in a single day in defense of the white man, his home, his civilization and his freedom—against the rise and assaults of an inferior race, many of which within the century, had been cannibals, and some of which were still speaking the jargon of the jungles of Africa.

In the formation of the original Ku Klux Klan there was no thought or purpose in the mind of the white men of the South which made for the suppression of the misguided Negroes by violence. Wise men they were who founded the Invisible Empire and directed the movements of its citizenry. They knew the superstition of the Negro. Interwoven in the Negro's life, religious, social, industrial, was the fantastic belief[Pg 21] in the supernatural and the grotesque. To him the ghost was very real and not at all unusual in appearance. In all their folk tales there was a weird intermingling of ghostliness. Rather than intercept by violence the movement of the Negro toward supremacy in the South under the leadership of vicious white men, the Ku Klux Klan devoted itself to thwarting the movement by overawing the Negro through his superstitions. Had this plan not been adopted, the Negro would have been largely exterminated.

This organization of the original Ku Klux Klan made a most thrilling chapter in the history of the Anglo-Saxon civilization in America. It has never been written. The organization has been maligned, misrepresented, and misunderstood for more than fifty years. The Congress of the United States instituted an investigation of the Klan that totaled forty-six volumes in reports and findings, but not in a solitary instance was an outrage or an atrocity in the[Pg 22] South fastened upon the organization. The supremacy of the white man was established, the purity of the Anglo-Saxon race was maintained, and both races, white and black, settled down side by side in peace and contentment to work out their essentially different destinies.

The present Klan is a memorial to the original organization, the story of whose valor has never been told, and the value of whose activities to the American nation has never been appreciated. In a sense it is the reincarnation among the sons of the spirit of the fathers. It is a flaming torch of the genius and mission of the Anglo-Saxon committed to the hands of the children which the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan are again holding aloft.

The name of the old Klan has been taken by the new as a heritage. The regalia and insignia of the old have been adopted by the new as a mantle of one worthy generation might fall upon the shoulders of its[Pg 23] successor. Beyond this point the connection and similarity between the two organizations do not extend. The ritual is not identical. The purpose of each organization, while having a common impulsion, is not the same in extent. The old Klan never intended to reach beyond the horizon of the Southland. The present Klan has purposed the supremacy of our heritage of ideals throughout the nation. There is no intention on the part of the present Klan to intimidate or overawe by spectral, ghostly garb, or to accomplish its aim by demonstrations of force or acts of violence, or by a supergovernment under disguise, or by moving in the darkness of the night. But there is a purpose underlying the entire organization and pulsing in every fiber of its being, to maintain Anglo-Saxon civilization on the American continent from submergence due to the encroachment and invasion of alien people of whatever clime or color. There was not in the old organization a solitary motive except to save the civilization of the white man that had been wrung out of[Pg 24] the thousands of years of his struggle upward. There is not a single motive actuating the new Klan except to save the heritage which the fathers have left for us in the present to transmit to the generation yet to come.

A moment's reflection will indicate how natural it is to see the new Klan take form first in the South. With us the issue and the conflict is an old one. Instinctively we scent dangers which our brethren in other sections of the country are apt, as yet, to ignore. For centuries we have been forced to deal, in one form or another, with a problem which always seemed to us and still appears to some of us to be insoluble. I mean the race problem. Yet in this, as in all else, our kinship with our fellow citizens of the North was made evident by an outstanding fact of Reconstruction days. The original Ku Klux Klan was almost as strong in the Union army, maintaining martial law in the defeated states, as among the men who wore the gray and went down to[Pg 25] glorious defeat. Had it not been for the active and sympathetic co-operation of large numbers of the Union forces, the achievements of the Ku Klux Klan in the Reconstruction period could not have been accomplished. The time has now come, once more, to bring to our whole country a sense of this great issue. And this issue, the causes of this crisis, has broadened and deepened to a degree which threatens the complete destruction of our civilization.

[Pg 26]


We Americans—A Vanishing People

We Americans are nothing if not humanitarian. We have in the United States many varieties of organization for the assistance of the various foreign racial and national groups upon our soil. We have also done not a little for the succor of the peoples of the old world who are now in such great distress. The larger humanitarian motive is as a guiding star to millions of Americans. It leads them and lights their way. To many such it may seem unnecessary, to some preposterous, for the organization of which I have the honor to be chief to be founded and developed. But a sober second thought is required here. Let us grant that a people which, in its weakness, faces permanent injury, requires help that it may survive and grow. Then indeed, it follows that we Americans, as a people, need to help ourselves first of all. As a people and a nation we are face to face[Pg 27] with dissolution. In the Ku Klux Klan we have an institution designed to help in the stupendous task of saving ourselves from failing and falling.

We Americans as a peculiar people face extinction upon our own soil. Let me be fully understood. I do not wish in the least to appear sensational. I wish only to state a few simple facts which should be apparent to any American who investigates, ever so briefly, the true condition of his country. So often, during the past twenty-two years, I have been oppressed in heart as I have seen how little public interest this crucial matter has aroused. If my tendency has, at times, been somewhat pessimistic and fearful, I claim that there is cause enough for fear and pessimism. Surely there is great need that intensest sadness and sorrow strike deep into the hearts of Americans, if we are now to help ourselves and live.

We Americans are a perishing people. From the point of view of history we are be[Pg 28]ing wiped from the face of the earth with a rapidity which almost staggers hope. First let me clearly define what I mean by the phase, "We American People." I mean by that phrase those white, native-born citizens of this country whose ancestry, birth and training has been such as to give them to-day a full share in the basic principles, the ideals and the practice of our American civilization. I do not mean that a foreign-born citizen can not be a good citizen. On the contrary, many of our foreign-born are excellent citizens. Yet I most positively mean what the title at the head of this chapter distinctly suggests. We, the American people, we whose breed fought through the Revolutionary War and the War Between the States, the people by whose courage the great American wilderness was penetrated, and by whose painstaking industry that wilderness was subjugated and made fruitful—that this people, who gave to the world Washington and Franklin, Jefferson and Hamilton, Andrew Jackson and Daniel Webster, Robert E. Lee and Abraham Lin[Pg 29]coln—this people, our people, is on the downward way to the early ending of its remarkable history. The mighty length and breadth of the soil made sacred by our struggles and our victories is now being given over, with ever greater rapidity, to various peoples of a totally different mold. I am not saying that these other peoples are bad in character or in any way unworthy. May Heaven witness for my colleagues and myself of the Ku Klux Klan that we bear them no ill will whatsoever. I hope that none of us as individuals or as an organization may do them aught but good. We wish, above all, to be moved in all things by that Christian spirit upon which our organization is founded, and which, I trust, moves its humblest member. But we have come to sound a warning throughout the length and breadth of the land—a warning which everyone of our own people from Newfoundland to California and from Florida to Alaska must hear and heed. We are perishing as a people and the land of our fathers shall[Pg 30] presently know us no more. Emerson once said, "What you do speaks so loud I can not hear what you say." Let me here change the words but not the meaning. The facts cry out so loud that we can not hear the vain and wordy opinions of the theorists and the sentimentalists. The prattle of these sentimentalists, be it ever so noisy, can not prevent us from both seeing and hearing the real drama. We are witnessing the greatest tragedy of the ages.


Only Americans May Pass

To place these facts in their proper relation, one to another, we must study the map of the United States. That map, hanging on the wall of the old school-house, or facing us over our desks in the library at home, seems always to appear so big and brave and bold. To the child at school it appears to flaunt its very bigness in the face of all the world. My fellow American citizens in all the states, study that map carefully. In terms of the civilization of the whole world it will richly repay investigation. Let us move with the sun from the[Pg 31] valley of the river St. Johns in Maine, to the far-off mountains of our California. Incoming masses by the hundred thousand flood New England. They do not speak our language, can not know our laws, and do not mix with our native people because there are hardly any natives in New England left to mix with. In dozens of schools built for the children of the great city of Boston and its suburbs the English language is not even taught, not to speak of as being used as a means of acquiring knowledge or of taking loyal and useful part in our national life. Throughout twenty varieties of the stupendous foreign sections in all our great industrial cities of the North, the very conditions of life prevent millions from learning the English language or taking an American breath into their nostrils. From St. Louis and Chicago and Milwaukee on the West to New York and Boston on the East democratic American political life is now almost impossible—unthinkable. To this we shall recur in later chapters. Just now we must proceed rapidly to other parts[Pg 32] of our map. In our Far Western territory, where a million square miles of mountain and valley are beginning a marvelous development, we Americans are fighting one of the most desperate and crucial social conflicts in the history of our country and of European civilization. Our Western people are striving for the very salvation of our soil as the heritage of the white American. This conflict rages day by day—week by week—year by year. Our brethren of the West are misunderstood and their crying call for help is largely rejected by the East. There are counties in California where more Japanese babies are being born each year than white babies. The Japanese in California are multiplying at the stupendous rate of sixty-nine per thousand, annually, while the white people of California increase at the rate of eighteen per thousand. But the eighteen per cent. includes the relatively high rate of the foreign-born whites. The American white people of California increase by an annual rate of less than ten[Pg 33] per thousand. Look you well, fellow Americans, to this part of our map. Go on in your indifference and carelessness, and these western valleys and mountains will, in the days of your children, be blood-soaked by one of the most desperate of interracial wars—a war at once civil and international—in the history of the world, and despite all your treaties of peace.

In the Southwest are over eighteen hundred miles of boundary line between ourselves and the people of Mexico. I know that I am expressing for my colleagues of the Ku Klux Klan who dwell along that eighteen hundred miles of boundary line their inmost thought, when I say that they wish only peace and fellowship and mutual aid and generosity to mark all our relations with the simple and kindly people of Mexico. But we are here marshalling the facts—the staggering facts which the American people must know and ponder well to-day. Nearly half a million Mexicans, speaking various dialects of the Spanish and Indian languages,[Pg 34] have recently come across our Southwestern boundary line. Surely it is not with any ill will in our hearts that we say with all the power we have that these thousands can not share our American democracy with us in this generation. In Mexico these people can be ruled in such a way and take such measures of progress as may befit them. Granted time and they may evolve a successful democracy all their own. But in this generation they will make democracy impossible wherever large numbers of them settle among us. If immigration continues through the next generation THEY WILL FOREVER ENCROACH UPON AND OCCUPY OUR SOUTHWEST. The native-born, white American will either become a small ruling class, or fade from sight altogether. There are factories in Texas with practically none but Mexicans employed. There are sections of the Southwest where, in town and on the countryside, there are many Negroes, Mexicans and Japanese, few Americans.

Finally, we come to the South. Leaving the burden of this argument to future[Pg 35] chapters, we can here take but a rapid glance at the inexorable problem of the Southland. May Providence give to us men and women of the South the power we need to place our problem before our fellow citizens in other sections in such a way as to win their minds and hearts by the goodness of our cause. If I but could, I would move my hand along that ancient and deadly line which separates us from our country-men and wipe it out forever. Our problem of the Negro, men and women of the North, is your problem. If we fail, you fail. We plead with you to join with us in freeing all our minds from bigotry, all our hearts from unworthy passions, and all our thoughts from sectional misunderstanding.

The larger fact which I seek in this connection to strike into the mind and conscience of my country is as simple as the multiplication-table. The Negro of to-day is less in numbers than the white inhabitants in all states but one, for a single reason. That reason is the high average mortality[Pg 36] among the Negroes. The enormous birth rate of the Negro population would rapidly submerge our white population if the Negroes were not decimated by a high death rate. The Negroes' numbers are kept within the number of our white population by various dreadful diseases. Though these diseases afflict us all in the South, the white people are generally far more immune than the blacks. We are somewhat behind the North and West in the practice of medicine, sanitation, and the general prevention of disease. But we are making great strides in this as in other means of progress. As all our people, including the Negroes, are progressively saved from the ravages of disease, the Negroes' birth rate will be more and more relentlessly shown in the census of the living. As night follows day, the Negro will, in the future, move on toward larger and larger comparative numbers in the South.

And so this map of our beloved land, which, as school children, we gazed upon[Pg 37] with deep longings toward the future greatness of our country—this map to-day, section by section, is discolored and fading. So do our hopes, too, fade and fail. We Americans are a perishing people, and the things we have inherited and hold dearest in our hearts are on the way to dissolution and total loss. Of all the greater people of history, we Americans least deserve even the pity which is the portion of those who fail. The glory of our rise, the large part that is ours in the present, the majestic hope of the nation which prophesies such a resplendent future—all this is our heritage. We lack only understanding of ourselves and the public spirit required to take action. The Ku Klux Klan, in garb of strange device, marshalled under the flag of our country, has thrust itself as a dire warning across the downward pathway of the American people—our own people, whom we love.

[Pg 38]


The Fraternalism of the Klan

Surely there can not be in this frank statement of the principles and the purposes of the Ku Klux Klan any ground for the criticism that the organization was founded on racial and sectarian animosities and hatreds. The Klan is neither anti-racial nor anti-sectarian. It is pro-American. We concede to every distinctive organization in race and religion the same rights of restricting and qualifying its membership that we claim for ourselves. If, in the light of all the past, and in view of the present, we are insisting upon an organization of native-born white American citizens, we do not, by stipulating the conditions of membership in the Ku Klux Klan, avow hostility to any one class or company who may not, for one reason or another, qualify for membership in our organization. Indeed, as Americans we not only have the right to organize under the law and in keeping with the[Pg 39] law, but far more than that—in the exercise of that right the Klan is positively committed to vouchsafing the same right to any other class of people on the American continent who desire to organize themselves for patriotic, social, fraternal or religious purposes. Only this too is also stoutly maintained: Any organization that is formed and fostered under the flag of our common country must not be inimical to our democratic government and institutions.

There are numerous organizations in America to which members of the Klan would not be admitted. These organizations are racial, social, political and sectarian. There has never been any complaint against these organizations. They have never been subjected to scrutiny by the Department of Justice of the United States Government. They have never been brought under Congressional investigation. They have lived and grown and pursued their purposes of organization without restraint or interference from the outside. All this is in[Pg 40] exact keeping with the freedom that is granted under the Constitution and the laws. We realize only too well that when organizations have arisen that have threatened the peace or morals or health of our social life, or, for any purpose, inveighed against the basic institutions of our country or the orderly conduct of our people in obedience to constituted authority, such organizations have been speedily suppressed. There are not a few of the leaders of such movements in the penal institutions of our country to-day, designated as political prisoners, because they undertook to obstruct the machinery of the country in its war activities. The Ku Klux Klan is committed so thoroughly—nothing remaining uncommitted—to the full freedom of human life guaranteed under the Constitution to American citizens that it can never interfere with the rights of groups or individuals outside its ranks. It stands everywhere against disorderly and disruptive movements which deny the authority of the government and disobey its mandates[Pg 41] whether in time of war or peace. If there is one thing, more than any other, which we Americans must now devoutly take to heart it is obedience to law. Perhaps we are rightly accused by Europeans of being quite the most lawless among civilized nations. This is indicated by nothing so much as by the series of terrible race riots which have disgraced some of our great cities during recent years—notably Atlanta, Washington, East St. Louis, Chicago and Omaha. Space limits us here to the description of a single case in which the Klan has been involved. At a small town in Florida, a terrible race riot was precipitated on election day, 1920. It was reported that one or more Negroes, disqualified by law from voting, were nevertheless demanding that they be permitted to vote. This incident led to others, and resulted in a terrible race riot. More than a score of persons, mostly Negroes, were killed. The white men, having defeated and dispersed the Negroes of their own community, thoroughly inflamed, proceeded, late in the day, to march upon ——[Pg 42]——, for the purpose of attacking the Negroes of that community. The Klansmen notified by a member of the —— Klan, of the approach of a force of armed whites, armed themselves and placed their services at the disposal of the officers of the law. They met the oncoming force just outside the limits of their own town. Unhappily, the attackers were not turned back without an armed conflict. In this affray two Klansmen were killed. The mob was driven back. The Klansmen lost their lives in defense of the law and while protecting the Negroes of their town.

On another occasion one of the largest and soundest local Klans ever founded by our organizers was instantly dissolved, because our rules and regulations in these things were violated. The Klan in question wished to find a remedy for a serious local disorder. A tradesman in the community was conducting a thriving bootlegging establishment which grew to be a scandal to the whole town. The Klan, recently[Pg 43] organized, and not fully comprehending our methods, posted notices warning the culprit to leave town. They emphasized their warning by posting along side certain signs of the Ku Klux Klan. For this interference with the orderly process of justice in this case the local Klan in question was quickly disbanded by our headquarters.

With this and other similar incidents in mind the reader may well imagine the thoughts and feelings of Klansmen everywhere when they are told that their organization has been founded for the purpose of "Lynching Niggers." We have been accused of crimes in towns where we had no local Klan within hundreds of miles. In such cases the lynching accusations are often carried on the wings of great organizations of the press. Our denials we find ineffectual. But of this I am certain: The truth will sometimes overtake the lies and the evil will recoil on the heads of the evil-doers.

But in addition to the purely patriotic principles of the Klan, which are fundamen[Pg 44]tal, it is a fraternal organization. A Charter for the Klan was granted by the State of Georgia. All of its activities are subject to scrutiny by the State and review by properly constituted authority. The Charter may be revoked at the will of the State. Where-ever irregularities are shown in the conduct of the Klan, or wherever the Klan departs from the purposes of its organization as set forth in the Charter, the Klan may be disbanded by due process of law. It is therefore not an organization that has sprung up over night, without responsibility, claiming independence of the law of the land.

The Klan offers its membership a graduate course in fraternalism. There are several orders administered and each of these orders marks an advance in devotion to our common country and in those fraternal relations and responsibilities which bind us to our fellow men. There can be nothing in this organization, as there is nothing in the many fraternal organizations in this country, that is inimical to the highest sense of[Pg 45] social order. Indeed, underlying the fraternalism of the Klan is a consecration to the American home, the preservation of its sanctity and the maintenance of ideal family life. From this a sympathetic helpfulness flows out to those in distress and discouragement, and a force of strong men is thrown about the weak and helpless without respect to color or creed. This is the service of love and sacrifice to our age and generation which is symbolized by the fiery cross.

[Pg 46]


The Klanishness of The Klan

It is perhaps not only proper but also necessary, in view of the vigorous and persistent attacks made on the Klan, to discuss more fully the apparent exclusiveness of the organization. I desire to reiterate with emphasis that the Klan is a purely American organization assembled around the Constitution of the United States, to safeguard its provisions, advance its purposes, and perpetuate its democracy. This definition of the Klan in its organization necessarily carries the idea of exclusiveness. All men without respect to race, color and religion may not be organized into a democracy. Democracy can not be established by outside pressure. It is something which must be developed in the individual consciousness, and is of very slow growth. We speak loosely when we talk of the Anglo-Saxon having grown into a democracy through a thousand years of struggle. Five thousand[Pg 47] years would be a more accurate statement of the fact. During all the slow processes of the development of the white man's civilization, there was something inherent in his life that slowly pushed its way up into the consciousness of the individual until it found expression in constitutional government, in freedom of thought and speech, and in all the elements of political and religious liberty. One of the most developed expressions of this growth into democracy is our American Government with all its complexities and intricacies. It should go without saying that all men, without reference to origin or history, can not be thrust into this country, and, under restraint and repression, be forced into our ways of thinking and living and so attain the true value of American citizenship. To begin with, a great many people, living under one form of autocracy or another, have never been awakened to a sense of and desire for democracy. In others the sense has begun to stir, but has not had the opportunity or the time for that sure growth that would[Pg 48] transform them into a citizenship capable of pure self-government.

This fact has been demonstrated by the futility of the attempts in Russia, first under the administration of Kerensky and now under Lenine and Trotsky. The bolshevist camarilla attempted to take that nation, which has been subjected for ages to one of the simplest and meanest despotisms on earth, and organize it into a sort of democracy. This proposition is still further illuminated by the experience of Germany in her attempt to build a democracy on the ruins of her old autocracy. The best thinkers in the German nation, notwithstanding the superior intellectual, economical and industrial qualifications of the people, predict that a real democracy can not be established in Germany in less than fifty years. If these two nations, both white, the one having the most robust physical manhood in the world, and the other the most vigorous mentality, can not rise from autocracy into democracy, how absurd it ap[Pg 49]pears that we should take great masses of the untaught, underfed, inferior people of all the lands and undertake to precipitate them, in masses, into our very peculiar and intricate national democracy.


The "Starry" Flag and the "Fiery" Cross Shall Not Fail

The Klan, organized to protect and advance the cause of our native institutions, is therefore exclusive in the restriction of its membership to white native-born Americans. We believe that only one born on American soil, surrounded by American institutions, taught in the American schools, harmonized from infancy with American ideals, can become fully conscious of what our peculiar democracy means and be adequately qualified for all the duties of citizenship in this republic.

In order to become a member of the Klan one must subscribe without reservation of any sort to the Constitution of the United States. Loyalty to the Constitution must be so thorough that no ultimate allegiance to any foreign institution, power or country[Pg 50] can be retained. Committal to Americanism is so absolute that nothing is left uncommitted. The Ku Klux Klan is patriotic to the last and highest degree. We believe that the principles upon which this republic was founded, and around which the great War Between the States was waged, should be constantly reaffirmed and emphasized.

The American nation has acted as a great magnet. The American city in particular has been an irresistible lure to the unhappy and oppressed peoples of the world. From all shores great tides of immigration have flowed in upon us. The alien peoples have not been distributed over the vast area of our common country, but have, for the most part, been congested in our great centers. Many of them can not read and write their own language. On the average they are three times as prone to pauperism and nine times as prone to crime as our native-born Americans. Because of their numbers, as well as their nationalistic ten[Pg 51]dencies, they organize themselves into separate communities and often breed hostility to American institutions. How natural that such foreign communities should spawn all forms of social and political vices.

Of course this plethora of population violates the fundamental law of our social life. This nation grew strong and took on its peculiar virtues out in the open fields and under the gleaming stars. Granting that the possibilities of democracy are inherent in many of these aliens that have been admitted into our country, the possibilities can not now be realized in the great cities of the nation. We believe that one can never be wholly patriotic or thoroughly democratized until he obeys God's great first commandment and settles upon some spot of ground and subdues it and makes it yield its secrets and its wealth. Permit these people that have come to us to segregate in cities by race and tongue, and continue to live in squalor and dirt, often accursed by disease and ignorance, foreign[Pg 52] in habit and thought and pursuit, understanding our country only as an unrestricted opportunity for license, and it presents the gravest problems that our nation was ever called upon to solve. This is especially true since these aliens have been permitted to qualify for citizenship and given suffrage within a space of time so short that they can not even become acquainted with the outward manners and customs of the American people, not to mention the basic intellectual and spiritual factors of our national consciousness.

More than fifty per cent. of the votes cast in the last presidential election were cast by cities. For the first time in the history of this country the urban population exceeds the rural. This vast alien population now holds and exercises the balance of political power. HERE IS A CHALLENGE WITH TRUMPET VOICE TO EVERY NATIVE-BORN AMERICAN TO FACE THE CRISIS AND PRE[Pg 53]SERVE OUR DEMOCRACY FOR THE GENERATIONS TO COME.

One other condition is imposed on all men who would be associated with the Klan, and that is subscription to the tenets of Christianity. We are in no sense a religious organization. There is no purpose of founding what has been suggested by our critics, a new American church. The Klan does not interfere, through membership, with any man's interpretation of religious truth or his connection with any branch or denomination of the Christian church. In fact, the Klan has nothing to do with dogma, creed, or ritual. Yet the Klan does insist that every man becoming a member shall strive to carry himself by the code of conduct promulgated by Jesus Christ. It is a high standard of living that the Klan undertakes to maintain, and at the very threshold of the organization one must accept this highest standard of ethics and morals that the world has ever known.

[Pg 54]

There are many who can not accept these stern conditions. But certainly it is not an arbitrary discrimination against any class, or sect, or race. We believe that, interwoven into the entire fabric of real Americanism, are the principles of Christianity. Reverent recognition of this fact has been made in the Bills of Right and in nearly every state constitution of the Union. In 1895 the Supreme Court of the United States, in a decision on the Alien Labor Contract Law, declared this to be a Christian nation, and the Court was very careful to establish its decision by referring explicitly to the principles and declarations of Christianity which run through all the organic laws of the country. So, believing as we do, that our patriotic principles and Christianity are inseparable and indivisible, we hold steadfastly to the Constitution and the Sermon on the Mount. It goes without saying that men who repudiate either can not look for fellowship in the Klan.

[Pg 55]


Is The Klan Anti-Semitic

Referring to the exclusiveness of the Klan, I am not quite prepared to admit that the conditions stipulated for membership in the organization set up the insuperable barrier that some people suspect. It has been pointed out in many hostile criticisms that the Semitic race is excluded from membership in the Klan. It is not true, for instance, that the Klan has set up arbitrary barriers to the admission of the Hebrew; but it is true that the orthodox Hebrew has established around himself barriers that preclude his admission into the organization.

The orthodox Jews are perhaps the most exclusive people in the civilized world. Their racial pride exceeds the pride of any nation or any land. They have a right to be proud in view of all their history. The Hebrew literature, the Hebrew religion, the[Pg 56] Hebrew commonwealth, and more than all, the Hebrew jurisprudence, much of which has been adopted by our western society, entitles the race to hold to its distinctive qualities and characteristics with a pride that all the world respects and admires. They have everywhere been a peculiar people. Because of marked racial distinctiveness, not to say eminence, they have drawn a boundary line about their social and religious life, shutting themselves in and the rest of mankind out.

Perhaps there is no patriotism in the world comparable to that of the Jew. His attachment to his ancient home-land and to his institutions has been through the ages a consuming passion. In the early history of his development, when defeated in war, reduced to slavery and crushed under mountainous oppression, his loyalty to his country and his creed never wavered. There is no picture in history more pathetic and, indeed, more inspiring than that of the Jew in bondage. Toiling in the brickyards of[Pg 57] Goshen, taunted with the despoiled glory of his country, the taskmaster demanding, as the burning lash was laid upon his bared shoulders, that he sing the songs of his native land, his intrepid spirit was unconquered and his superb loyalty unbroken: "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cunning, and if I do not esteem thee above my chiefest joy, let my tongue cleave unto the roof of my mouth."

The Jew has brought his religion to America, establishing his temple worship and clinging tenaciously to his creed of Theism. He has been welcomed with a hospitality such as has been tendered the Jew by no other nation. His religious institutions have had all the protection of the law thrown about them, and they have been covered by the broad mantle of American liberalism. He has been granted the right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of his own conscience, with none to molest him or make him afraid. But he has organized in America no system of evangelism[Pg 58] to convey his religious message to the people without the pale. He has made no proselytes or attempted to make any. He has held his church exclusively for himself and his posterity. To the orthodox Jew his religion is entirely an expression of his nationality. He has never invited men without creed to inquire into his dogmas and his doctrines. Indeed, he has held to his religion as a heritage that belongs to the Jew and to which none other than a Jew could subscribe as a matter of right or even as a privilege. A highly intelligent and influential Gentile sect, the Unitarians, has built its religious life about the doctrine of Theism. There are no fundamental or essential differences between the orthodoxy of the Jew and that of this Gentile sect, but even the Gentile theist has had no invitation to Judaism, and has been tendered scant cordiality by this proud, exclusive race that took its religion from the visible and audible presence of Jehovah and preserved it inviolate for themselves and for their kind.

[Pg 59]

In coming to America the orthodox Jew has brought with him all the racial pride that distinguishes him throughout the ages. He does not undertake to mingle his social life with that of the native people of the country, nor does he invite those of other racial lineage to cross his threshold. He marries and intermarries only with his kind. If the offspring of the orthodox Jew marries a Gentile he is excommunicated with drastic and fearful ceremony. So does the Jew keep himself apart. Even in the remote and sparsely populated sections of the country, where a single Jewish family is established in a village or at a cross-roads, selling merchandise, when the time comes for the marrying of his children, he does not seek or desire that the people with whom he has been trading, or that the children with whom his children have been taught in the common schools, shall be introduced into Jewish family life. He seeks to mate his children with members of his own race, even though the mating has to be done at long range. Sometimes a suitable husband[Pg 60] for a marriageable daughter, or an acceptable wife for a marriageable son, has to be obtained in New York or Chicago or San Francisco, from a thousand to three thousand miles away.

Perhaps this Jew has understood for ages what some of our American sociologists will not learn from biology; that is, that the amalgamation of two distinctive race types may lose, in the offspring, much of the distinctive good of both. A people of mixed race is long in establishing both the fact and the sense of unity. Its individual minds tend to instability. Witness, for instance, the results due to the divergent people who inhabit Ireland. Racial stability, as a biological fact in the realm of psychology, is a precious result, perfected only by long, very long unity of blood. A mixed race finds, for a long period, difficulty in attaining individual balance and social peace. With the orthodox Jew another racial purpose inclines him, with relentless[Pg 61] will, toward racial segregation. His people are the chosen of Almighty God. They listen through the centuries for the voices of angels proclaiming the advent of the true Messiah. To mix his blood with that of the Gentile is to lose his vision, his hope and his immortal soul.

The Klan organizes itself around the principles of Christianity, which diverge widely from the principles of Jewish orthodoxy. If it requires that those seeking admission into the organization should subscribe to the tenets that are Christian, it can not be construed into hostility toward the Jewish race. We believe that, side by side, a few Jews and many Christians, or a few Christians and many Jews may live in peace and contentment. For in either case the minority can never, by power of number, challenge the basic things of civilization of the majority. Let me here emphasize with all the power I possess: in America the Jew must ultimately mix with the Gentile. One million Jewish immigrants and their de[Pg 62]scendants can be, and will be, through the centuries, absorbed into the great body of our American people. Here we touch upon the true cause of the modern Zionism. His exclusiveness forbade the Egyptian, the Babylonian, the Roman, and the Russian, to destroy his racial identity. To-day he is surrendering in Western Europe and America to the liberalism of the younger generation of Jews and the neighborliness of the modern Gentile. Liberalism and Americanization will eventually break down the exclusiveness of even so large a number as we now have among us. But if practically free immigration continues and five millions, or ten millions, of Jews come to us within the next generation—then we shall have a people within a people, a state within a state, and the sad conditions of Poland or Roumania will be re-enacted in America. A two per cent. Jewish population can be, ultimately, thoroughly Americanized. A ten per cent. Jewish population will lead us from danger unto danger. We shall have absolute Jewish separatism on the one hand,[Pg 63] and anti-Semitism on the other. We shall then witness all those profound and terrible reactions which relentlessly mark the sharp contacts of two vitally different societies upon the same soil. I submit that when the Klan as an organization, holding to the tenets of Christianity, provided that any white native-born American who subscribes to its conditions may enter into the Klan, the Jew was not arbitrarily excluded. In fact, there are some native-born American Jews who have accepted Christianity and have at the same time become eligible to membership in the Klan. But the hard and fast racial organization of the orthodox Jew does not permit him to go outside of prescribed boundaries in either his social or his religious life. We have not excluded the Jew. The orthodox Jew has excluded himself.

The Klan not only protests that it is not anti-Semitic. The Klan seeks the execution of a policy which will prevent the growth of anti-Semitism in America.

[Pg 64]


Is The Klan Anti-Catholic?

The Catholic colony of Maryland, under the Calverts, was composed of a most excellent type of freedom-loving Englishmen. Cardinal Gibbons, who recently passed to his reward, was a fine example of this type. These people were seeking, as were so many others who then came to America, liberation from tyranny, bigotry, and intolerance. They brought with them a spirit not unlike that of the Cavaliers to the south of them, to whom their destiny was to be indissolubly linked by ties that remain unbroken to this day. These brave Catholic settlers in the wilderness, many of whom were people of refinement and education, invested themselves wholeheartedly in the early development of our country. No well-informed student of American history doubts that their large contributions to our American[Pg 65] nation have seldom enough been sufficiently recognized.


Klankrest—Home Donated to William Joseph Simmons by Klansmen of the Nation "As a Token of Love and Esteem."

In the great battle of Long Island, in the summer of 1776, Washington stood upon an eminence and watched the Maryland brigade as it strove to cut its way through the encircling forces of the British. "Good God, what brave fellows I must this day lose," he said, as he observed their desperate position. Later in the day, when he saw them fall, like the leaves of Autumn, he is said to have wept over the loss of the very elite of his army. Of such stuff as this were the Maryland Catholics in the American Revolution. The historian, John Fiske, describes that terrible and unhappy day (Battle of Long Island, 1776) as follows: "In this noble struggle, the highest honors were won by the brigade of Maryland men, commanded by Smallwood, and throughout the war we shall find this honorable distinction of Maryland for the personal gallantry of her troops fully sustained, until in the last pitched battle, at Eutaw[Pg 66] Springs, we see them driving the finest infantry of England at the point of the bayonets."

Just a word more with reference to this sort of American Catholic. In the spring of 1921 a distinguished assembly of educators and savants, representing nearly every country, assembled with the University alumni to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the founding of the University of Virginia. The opening prayer of the first public meeting was offered by the Catholic Bishop of Richmond. In that invocation the Bishop returned thanks to Almighty God for that great deed of Thomas Jefferson which led to the separation of Church and State in Virginia.

To such Catholics as these all true Americans, whatever their religious beliefs, are bound by ties so indissoluble as to make perfect our fellowship in Americanism. It is to this section of Roman Catholic believers, no matter what their ancestry[Pg 67] may be, that the Klan makes especial appeal for understanding and co-operation.

Catholic Maryland won for herself the high distinction of being among the three colonies which permitted and protected religious freedom. So we can acclaim the Catholic colonists as among the very first to realize the full meaning of Americanism, not only as to the outward things of government, but also as to the inner things of the human soul. It should not be forgotten, too, that these same advocates of political liberty and freedom of conscience were themselves grossly offended and injured for a time in their own colony by a period of Protestant oppression. American history is a strange, strange story. To understand our America of the present, and her problems, we must look deep into the records of the past. With an unbiased mind we must set ourselves to seek out the truth.

In the State of Maryland one still finds in remote hamlets the original Catholic[Pg 68] edifices, with their sacred symbols, gracing the countryside. Wherever we find such an American Catholic church, the American public school is seen in the immediate vicinity. When the American Catholic in Maryland, or in any other state, goes to the ballot-box, he votes as an American citizen, not being under ecclesiastical control. We members of the Ku Klux Klan, positively insist upon making this distinction among Catholics. We ask, and who can say that we ask too much, that our whole Catholic population bring its American citizenship up to these high standards set by the original American Catholics. When this is done, we shall surely find the greatest pleasure in rendering to the Catholic Church that full measure of esteem which shall be its due.

During the past two generations great submerging waves of European immigrants have rolled in upon us. One wave brought with it loyalty to the German Kaiser and treason to America. Another wave threaten[Pg 69]ed to smother our working people with the noxious poison of Bolshevism. Still another sought to make a bitter animosity toward England and the British Empire the main-spring of all its political and social activities in America. Is there anything remarkable, anything inexplicable, about the fact that millions of illiterate peasants from the more backward parts of Europe, if they happen to be Roman Catholics, should continue among us their backward European methods? The peasantry of Poland were, until the Great War, practically a serf population. Why deny the most evident facts? They are still, in general, verminous and insanitary, illiterate and stupid. The theory that they can quickly be made into Americans is the thought of a fool. The view that their church can conduct itself like the American Catholic church in Maryland is equally ridiculous.

This immigrant element has been misused in two ways. Its clergy has kept it ignorant of America by keeping its children[Pg 70] out of our public schools; and it has been used in our elections as a mass vote by those who exercise control over its votes through the political power of the church.

With reference to the public schools our American position is as simple as it can possibly be. Having established the public-school system as the veritable cornerstone of the nation's democracy, we request, in the most brotherly spirit, all our immigrant peoples to give it whole-hearted support. We invite their children to sit beside our own children and receive the education needed to insure their good citizenship, their self-support, and their self-respect. And then there are those who say that we of the Klan hate the immigrant and seek to deny him his rights!

These immigrant children, sitting side by side in the same school, will be received as guests in one another's homes. They will form those deep and lasting friendships which will make for true social unity. When[Pg 71] we open our arms and our hearts to receive them and to give them all we have, it is they who reject us. They deny themselves the best gift we can possibly offer—a free public education. How often are we Americans made unhappy—sometimes, I fear, a bit displeased—when we see on one side of the street a beautiful, spacious and sanitary public-school building, and on the other side of the street a poorly constructed, insanitary and overcrowded parochial school. Our own children go to the public school. The immigrant children go to the parochial school. Our own children are taught by teachers carefully selected and trained for their service. In the overcrowded and insanitary parochial school the teaching is usually of a standard incomparably lower; often it is unworthy to be called education. Has the world ever presented a more curious and perplexing problem than we have here? We see American citizens of property and influence anxious to tax themselves in order to present to the child of the Sicilian, Hungarian, or Polish peasant the[Pg 72] best common-school education in all the world. And then we see, to our unutterable amazement, this peasant serf, or city wastrel, misled by his clergy, rejecting the only worthy means we have of making Americans out of his children. To an average American this whole situation is both perplexing and distressing.

As regards the use of the Catholic vote in elections, the facts, while startling enough, are more easily understood. In 1917, to mention a single instance, all the country watched the Catholic church of New York City defeat one of its own distinguished members, Mr. Mitchell, for Mayor. No informed person longer seeks to deny the political influence of the Catholic church. Very recently Archbishop Hayes, of New York, personally directed the New York police to break up a public meeting called in the Town Hall by American citizens. The police appeared before the meeting began and actually went so far as to prevent its beginning. The law could not have[Pg 73] been violated because no chance was given to violate the law. Archbishop Hayes simply decided that he would not permit this meeting, which had nothing whatever to do with any church or religious issue. So he ordered the doors of the building which had been hired for the purpose to be locked and the crowd driven away by the police. All we can say to our Catholic fellow citizens is just this: DO NOT FORCE US TO RESIST YOU. If you take direct control of the police power out of the hands of the duly constituted officers of government, then we, as Americans, must eventually resist your police power in defense of our liberty. Gifted with an infinite desire for peace and with great patience, we shall wait until we do not dare to wait longer. Meanwhile we plead with you daily: Do but accept the basic principles of our Americanism and all arguments, all unpleasantness, will vanish in a single hour.

In a democracy the separation of church and state implies much more than the[Pg 74] abolition of state support of the church. Separation of church and state must mean with us that the individual citizen shall permit neither the state to interfere with his religious worship nor the church to interfere with his duties as a citizen. Only a developed political mind can understand the nature of this very modern duality of attitude. The outward separation is, after all, largely a form of law. The inward separation, the state of mind, is the true source of the freedom both of the church and the state. When the individual walks into his church he must enter with his body and his mind free to worship according to the dictates of his conscience. When he enters the voting-booth, when he enters the court-room, when he opens his mouth to mix his thoughts with his fellow citizens as regards things political, mind and mouth and hand must be free from the control of the church.

To understand our problem fully we must never forget the platitude that our immigrant people are not Americans. They[Pg 75] are Europeans. Immigrant Catholics are European Catholics. In almost every country of Continental Europe there is a Catholic party. The Catholic political party of Germany, of France, of Italy, of Belgium, of Austria, or of Hungary, seeks to win the elections and control the government outright. Again, to repeat myself, is there anything strange about the fact that when these immigrants form themselves into enormous foreign communities in our great cities or industrial districts they should act here just as they act in Europe? I do not think so. It is all simple enough. Its outward effects, at least, are as easily understood as a Mississippi flood or a San Francisco earthquake. We must either put an end to this thing or this thing will put an end to our democracy. We can not have a Hungarian, a Polish, an Italian, or an Irish peasant Catholic party among us and still preserve the political system of our American nation which has been created by three centuries of democratic evolution. A political system run by sectarian ecclesiastics and an[Pg 76] Anglo-Saxon bill of rights can not live on the same soil. In these things there can be no compromise. To surrender an inch is to surrender all and yield to the executioner.

As regards this whole matter, our American humility and false modesty has already worked us great harm. These matters must at last be dragged into the open and publicly discussed. Hence this exceedingly plain statement. If some of our citizens wish their children to attend parochial schools, then we want those parochial schools properly inspected. We would like to know what textbooks are being used. The public ought to know just how much education, and what manner of education, the fourteen-year old immigrant boy or girl is possessed of when he leaves school. What does this boy or girl know about himself? How much reading and writing and arithmetic has he laid hold of? What has he learned of American history and American institutions? We Americans of all sections confess, not without shame, that[Pg 77] we have not as yet done nearly enough for public education. But the means we have provided we wish to have used; the standards we have set, none too high, we wish to have regarded; and what we are seeking to do for the immigrant we would like to have fully appreciated.

We seek for all our more recent immigrant peoples such a blending with our people as shall find in religion and the church no hindrance to Americanism. We expect, that, more and more, we shall be united by the lasting bonds of a common patriotism, a common morality, and common social ideals. We crave the development among us of such a Catholic church as will not make intermarriage with those of other faiths impossible or difficult. To throw such a chasm between our young people as is never bridged by the marriage tie would be a lasting curse to our country. Let us seek by every means to make all Christians ready for that more perfect unity of the entire Christian church which should ever be an ideal with all of us.

[Pg 78]

The reader will find repeated again in this book, until it perhaps wearies him, a certain expression. This statement represents something which I have made fundamental in all my thinking. We Americans must approach this and similar tasks in a spirit of the utmost fellowship and gentleness. Our every act must partake of kindliness and consideration. We expect to find, side by side with us in this matter, the American part of the Catholic church. Together we shall work out the problem and then forget it. This difficulty is, after all, but a passing phase of our complex social process. In a generation it will have been left behind us. The difficulties, even the tragedies, of one century often furnishes amusement to the historians of the next. So let us, in this thing, take thought of the morrow, too. May the execution of the policy we have declared be everywhere so inwrought with honorable motive and worthy purpose that presently none shall have the slightest cause to be against us or deny to us that fellowship and affection we seek to win from every American.

[Pg 79]


The Terminology of The Klan

Diligent inquiries have been made into the peculiar terminology used by the Klan to designate its purposes and mission. Why is the word "Imperial" employed to characterize the chief officers of the organization? Why is the organization designated as an "Invisible Empire"? Does the Klan contemplate, perhaps, a nation-wide organization that at the height of its strength means revolution and the overthrow of our present republican form of government? These and other similar questions—some intelligent, others less so—are being asked by both the enemies and the friends of the Klan.

The words "Imperial" and "Empire" find no friendly place in the vocabulary of a democracy. Whenever used they are connected with autocratic government and centralized power. These terms, as usually[Pg 80] employed, are in sharp contrast to the principles of our great American democracy. We have everywhere and always held that imperialism is a despicable thing, a survival of despotic power that came up from the caveman and was exercised always by force. Germany and Russia were the last great exponents in Europe of this imperialistic idea of forcible conquest. Nothing has been more revolting in America than the suggestion of centralized power by which a nation was to be governed and directed. Even the temporary expedient of taking the Philippine Islands into our keeping, as a necessary sequence to the war with Spain, and holding them under military rule until the people could be developed into approximate democracy and govern themselves, found strenuous opponents. During all the twenty years that we have maintained the mandate, it has caused dissatisfaction among the nations.


The Imperial Symbol of the Klan

We of the South know only too well what the reign of the bayonet means. The[Pg 81] tragedy of American history was the untimely death of Lincoln. Had he lived the story of the Reconstruction would have been different, very different. Following the "deep damnation of his taking off," the white race of the South was subjected to the supremest test to which Anglo-Saxon worth was ever put in the history of the world. The test did not result from the defeat of the Confederacy, or in the devastation of the states over which the armies fought, or in the appalling loss of life during the four sanguinary years. It was in the Reconstruction period, when the armed forces of the victorious North occupied the entire Southland and secured to the Negro a lordship over Anglo-Saxon democracy, refinement and civilization. The mute anguish of those years can not be put into any form of speech. But let me speak no word of blame. My people of the South hate every form of coercive government as they love the freedom of our great democracy. There is to us one symbol expressing the deepest loyalty of the Klan, elevated even above the[Pg 82] Fiery Cross. It is the American flag. To the Klan it is the emblem of human liberty and security, guaranteed to every citizen of the land and signalled to all the world beyond our borders. So jealous is the Klan of the American flag that it is unwilling to share its place with the flag of any other nation. We are unwilling even that the colors of the nations to whom we are bound by ties of both blood and gratitude shall in this country mingle their colors with the American flag. We desire no confusion in the minds of American people as they look upon the emblematic flags of different nations as to that place of supremacy in our loyal devotion which we hold for the American flag alone.

But at the same time the Klan renounces no obligations or responsibilities to the rest of the world. We believe that the world is moving toward "That one far-off divine event," "the Parliament of man, the Federation of the world," but even when this greater fraternalism of the world is con[Pg 83]summated, we should not be willing for our colors to be commingled with those of other nations. The emblem that symbolizes our sacrifices and our victories, our failures and our triumphs, and out of which our common democracy has come, must have in our hearts no lesser place, or even an equal place, with those of other nations. With us the place of our flag is not below, or along-side, the flags of other peoples. It must be kept apart and above.

We are ready to interpose our will and our strength to prevent the strong from oppressing the weak anywhere. We are ready out of our abundance to distribute charity to the unfortunate to the uttermost ends of the earth, without respect to race, color or clime. We are quite prepared to promote a great democratic evangelism to the oppressed and downtrodden peoples of all the earth, that they too may become conscious, through democracy, of human worth, and achieve something of the free[Pg 84]dom which we enjoy. Yet everywhere we shall serve under our own colors. All the nations of the earth shall continue their separate existence and work out their destiny under the emblems into which have been spun and woven the distinctive characteristics of their race and their country. All this has been relentlessly brought home to us through the resurgence of the nations during and after the Great War. Nothing but absolute independence would satisfy the Poles. Ireland must be free or perish in revolutionary effort. The smaller the people, the greater its effort to prove its right to national independence, its capacity for a separate government. With these facts in mind it would seem superfluous for native-born Americans to explain or defend our spirit of patriotism and nationalism.

The phrase "Invisible Empire" means that the Ku Klux Klan undertakes to establish and maintain a nation-wide organization in the thought of our people. It plans a conquest only in the realm of the[Pg 85] invisible where men do their thinking. The mentality of the American people is to be awakened, stimulated, and directed. It means the sovereignty of Americanism, of the democratic idea, in every American mind. We plan no system of coercion or outside pressure by which the American people are to be forced into this "Invisible Empire." I may modestly, and not irreverently, say that the idea underlying the establishment of the Klan and its principles in America was taken from one of the leaders in the early Christian Church, who said that the propagation of Christianity was without force, noise, or violence, without army or treasury, but that the Great Leader had established an everlasting kingdom by taking captive the thoughts of men. So the Klan holds that anything constructed by force may be destroyed by a superior force. Anything impressed upon unwilling subjects by outside effort may be rejected and thrown off in the springtime of returning power. Anything and everything that is established by such exercise of force is[Pg 86] marked and destined for decay and return to the dust. But that which is once established in the deeper thought, from the spiritual need, of mankind is indestructible because there is no manner of force that can lay hold of it. Alexander said, "Philip, my father, gave me life, but Aristotle taught me to think." It is not the blood of Philip, through Alexander, that pulses in the arteries of the world's civilization of to-day; but it is rather the thought of Aristotle, which, despite all the Alexanders of history, runs through the story of the world's civilization in all the lands and all the centuries. It is the idea possessing the spirit which vitalizes all our basic institutions and movements toward human freedom which animate the noblest endeavors of human life. It is in the thought of the American people that the Ku Klux Klan undertakes to establish its "Invisible Empire," mighty in its ultimate consummations, indestructible and glorious forever.

[Pg 87]


Symbolism of The Klan

Much ado has been made about the strange symbolism of the Klan. I stated at the beginning that the regalia now in use by the organization, like the terminology, was selected as a memorial to the original Ku Klux Klan. It has been generally regarded as grotesque and ghostly, designed to intimidate and terrify persons against whom the displeasure of the Klan might be directed. But the only purpose in adopting the white robes and incidental trimmings was to keep in grateful remembrance the intrepid men who preserved Anglo-Saxon supremacy in the South during the perilous period of Reconstruction.

The regalia of the Klan, however, expresses something more in the present organization than a mere memorial. Its symbols convey to the initiated the highest sense of patriotism, chivalry and fraternalism. These[Pg 88] symbols were designed by myself during the years that I pondered a revival of the old order, and contemplated the endangered position of the native-born American throughout our commonwealth. Every line, every angle, every emblem spells out to a Klansman his duty, honor, responsibility and obligation to his fellow men and to civilization. None of it was wrought for mere ornamentation, and none of it designed as mere mysticism. All of it was woven into the white robes of the Ku Klux Klan for the purpose of teaching by symbolism the very best things in our national life.

Emblematic robes are not uncommon to organizations of men banded together for either religious or fraternal purposes. My affiliations with the church and my connection with a number of fraternal orders have convinced me that the impelling truths which grapple and hold the loyalties and convictions of men are taught better by symbolism than ritualism. The Roman Catholic church proclaims the authority of[Pg 89] its mission to the world through the insignia of its clergy and its rulers; while its service of sacrifice and sanctity, of separation and consecration, is expressed in the robes of its nuns and its celebrants. In that colossal pile, St. Peter's at Rome, the most splendid edifice of Christianity in all the world, is to be found a vast collection of stones and gold, an array of art so magnificent that it dazzles even the imagination, an amazing accumulation of trophies torn by conquest from pagan temples—all symbolizing the universal dominion of the church not only over all things material but also over all things religious. The robes of the cathedral are elaborate and impressive throughout all the grades and ranks of service, from the drab garb of the keeper of the portals to the flashing parti-colored uniforms of the Swiss guard, and on through the white, red, and black trappings of the attendants in the inner courts to the vivid scarlet of the cardinals and the gorgeous purple of the pope. All are designed to express some[Pg 90] function, or mission, or doctrine of the church in its vast system of evangelism.

The Anglican church of Great Britain and the Protestant Episcopal church of America, as well as various other Protestant organizations have found it to be impressive and inspiring for the clergy and the sisterhood to wear robes designed to mark them as men and women set apart for service to humanity. Perhaps the Greek Catholic Church has the most elaborate system of teaching great religious truths by symbolism of any other religious organization. It undertakes to convey to the world the idea of its virility as a Christian organization by an extensive and artistically wrought out symbolism in its robes and insignia.

It goes without saying that nearly all, or perhaps all, of the great fraternal organizations of the world are characterized by the robes they wear. There are different robes of different orders and various robes for the same order in different degrees. These[Pg 91] carry the message of fraternalism in the garments that are worn. Why should we, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, be singled out and condemned for adopting a symbolism altogether unique, to represent our particular service to the age in which we live?

Some objections, probably not wholly misdirected, have been made to the mask that is worn by the Klan in public parades and demonstrations. The objections would have all the more force if it were true that the membership of the Klan were concealed from public scrutiny; but this is not true. Every local Klan has the custody of its roster and the roster may be given to the public at the option of the local Klan. Besides, it is overlooked that the Ku Klux Klan is a chartered organization—in fact twice chartered under the laws of Georgia.

Its membership is subject to the scrutiny of the State at its will. In addition to all this, the leaders of the Ku Klux Klan in respective communities are well-known, responsi[Pg 92]ble and representative men, and their connection with the Klan is generally known to the community at large. So influential and conspicuous are those men that their leadership is a guarantee of the worthy and orderly purposes of the Klan. However, the matter of removing the mask from the Klan whenever it appears in public is under consideration, and it is not improbable that the Klan will be authorized to remove the mask whenever a public demonstration is given.

Outrages and atrocities, expressing various forms of prejudice and hate, have broken out in some parts of the country during the past twelve months. Often they have been charged to the Ku Klux Klan. It is the same old story repeating itself. During Reconstruction days crimes were perpetrated by men wearing regalia similar to that of the Ku Klux Klan. The government spent much time and money investigating these crimes, and compiled altogether forty-six volumes in reports, but[Pg 93] wherever the perpetrators of an outrage against order and decency were uncovered, they were found to be not Klansmen but Scalawags and Carpet-Baggers who had used regalia like that of the Klan under which they might enact their dual purpose of committing a crime and blackening the reputation of the Klan. At the recent investigation in Washington numerous crimes were charged to the present-day order of the Ku Klux. These had been heralded in startling stories by the press throughout the land. I vigorously denied that a single crime had ever been committed by the authority of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. I repeat that it is not an order that can tolerate or condone disorder, violence or lawlessness. It pledges itself now and always, here and everywhere, to the protection of society under constituted authority. It holds itself in readiness to serve the best interests of society, not despite the law, but always under the law and through the law.

[Pg 94]

Symbolism teaches the great principles of life, and being, and destiny, better than any form of speech. There is in human nature an element of mysticism that responds to suggestion and intimation when no logic or philosophy could reach it. The mightiest movements in our human nature, those which transform the character and transfigure the spirit, have their seat in a realm deeper than where man does his thinking or even his willing. It is in that part of human nature where the loyalties and affections, the prejudices and the passions are kept, and it is only the mystical, the mysterious, the intangible that can reach these forces in human nature, arouse them, and put them into action. It is poetry and art and music that move and stir the best that is in us and make us conscious of what we may do and be. It is not strange then that symbolism has been used by the church in order to stimulate reverence and devotion; that it has been used by lodges to awaken fraternalism and humanism; and that it has been used by every great patriotic organ[Pg 95]ization to arouse passion for native land and freedom. Indeed, every cause that has ever lived and flourished in the world, whether religious, fraternal, or patriotic, has been highly spiritualized and all the fiery forces of the inner man have been elicited and organized in its service. There must be in every real movement something of the fervor of the Crusaders. Without this every spiritual effort of man, whether great or small, has had its ardor grow cold and the bright light of its enthusiasm go out in darkness.

What, indeed, could be more appealing to the finer things in human nature than the fiery cross? "By that symbol we conquer." It carries the idea of illumination and sacrifice. It symbolizes a love that lights the way to the noblest service; it symbolizes a service that is impelled by a burning love. Here lies the only way forward. The world's amelioration is proclaimed by the glowing cross. We sometimes think of the cross as remote, as belonging to the past, as[Pg 96] an isolated event. The cross is now and here, and it is an essential part in the advancement of the world's civilization. It means, in the highest sense, freedom—the freedom of all mankind. But there is no emancipation in all the world that comes as a gratuity. Wherever human life is freed a ransom price must be paid. When it comes to the liberation of human thought and the breaking of chains from immortal souls, there is no ransom that will pay the price except that into which men mint their lives, and out of which they coin their higher selves. All this and more the fiery cross of the Ku Klux Klan conveys to the Klansman. It means the supreme agony of love through the sacrifice of life, to the end that freedom and democracy may be secured to all mankind forever.


Stone Mountain—The Klan Rendezvous

[Pg 97]


The Rendezvous

Once a year, to be exact, on the sixth day of May, the Klan from all over the country makes a pilgrimage to Stone Mountain. Men from every walk and station in life leave their daily pursuits and journey to the Klonvocation. They come from the pulpit, the schoolroom, the market, the bank, the mine, the factory, the shop, the farm, and from high offices of public trust and authority, and meet at this unique rendezvous. Stone Mountain is sixteen miles south of Atlanta. The place of assembly is not without interest. It is a huge boulder compacted into solid granite and thrown up, ages ago, by some terrific convulsion. The stone is three miles in circumference and something more than a mile in altitude by the trail leading to its summit. Its frowning and forbidding front is scant of foliage. Soil which the winds have brought and deposited in its crevices and on its craggy sides[Pg 98] has no deepness. Adventurous shrubs and trees that have sprung up from time to time have been beaten back by sun and storm because they had no anchorage in the earth. To this mountain boulder of solid granite the Klan resorts for comradeship and consecration. The pilgrimage is not unlike that conjectured by a noble and worthy order which takes its initiates to the far East, travels them through the unmarked desert, over blistering sands, and under a sky of brass, while the breath of the winds is like that of a furnace, scorching the weary pilgrims as step by step they fight on to the Mecca. The Klansmen make their way along the poorly defined and jagged trail of Stone Mountain, climbing upward, always upward, every step taken requiring a step higher, until, among the elderly members, the last ounce of fortitude and endurance is expended in the ascent to the top. There on the bald crest, far above the insistent clamor and demands of daily life men are alone with each other and in the presence of the infinite. It has sometimes[Pg 99] seemed to us to be a place where two eternities met, the past giving its solemn command to the men so isolated and elevated, and the future beckoning them on to still further achievement. First, there comes a sense of tranquillity. The men look out upon the peace and harmony of the stars and seem to feel in their souls something of the strength and orderliness of the planets in their courses. Then comes, during our preliminary ceremonies, a moment of marvelous moral tension and exhilaration. The vast throng, with upturned faces, deeply moved to eloquent agony of speechless prayer, catches a glorious inspiration. It comes upon the multitude as a wind moving gently through the forests in the autumn time. Every soul is thrilled. In this conscious moment each man feels as if he were in a holy temple consecrating all that he is and all that he has to a great cause. In response to his dedication, new and secret divine forces begin to stir in his consciousness. I have looked upon the whole assembly of strong men, a few of whom had[Pg 100] jeopardized life unto death on the fields of war in the Sixties, and a larger number of younger men who had just carried themselves like demigods in the fierce fighting in France, and I have seen the tears rush unbidden from their eyes and trickle down their cheeks, while here and there a sob that could not be controlled shook the frame of a man unafraid of either life or death. It is the time and place where all pettiness and meanness is submerged and washed out by the great surge of the profoundest sense of human worth. It is a moment in which all hates and animosities and prejudices die and in which love and sacrifice and altruism are reborn. It is a time in which all that is coarse and unchaste and unrefined in human life is consumed by a holy passion, and all that is noble and courteous and divine is made regnant.

In the execution of such ceremonies, the Klan evidences its practical nature and its concrete knowledge. Americans can not be aroused by the mere citation of facts. Our[Pg 101] minds are stuffed unto bursting with facts. We want action. And we do not propose to wait a generation as has been so often the case, and then weep because it is too late to act. We seek to draw the souls of men into a service which means sacrifice. This service is vital to the nation, and essential to the salvation of our civilization. The language of symbolism is the language of the soul.

The Klan disperses, goes back to mingle with men, to meet all the stresses and the exigencies of life. But in each man there is a light that never before fell on sea or shore, that will lie upon the task that he is set to do, and, however hard and menial it may be, will transform that work into a beatitude. More than this: We have daily evidence that this light, in honor, kindness and charity, falls upon our fellow men along the pathway that they and we walk together. Surely there can be no hidden dangers in the assembling of men under such conditions, impelled by such motives, capable of such inspiration.

[Pg 102]

If we undertake to build or maintain a civilization in which the moral and social idealisms of men are not mixed with the mortar in the structure, we shall most surely build for decline and decay. But if Americanism becomes a holy cause in which the souls of men are enlisted, in which service of our country and our country's service of the world is made first and foremost, then we shall build an empire indestructible; because, mingled with the cruder material there will be the elements that are everlasting. In such workmanship alone can there be security for those American institutions which we seek to save by the consecration of all we have and all we are.

[Pg 103]


Democracy as a Social System is on Trial

In a preceding chapter I stated that we Americans are barely reproducing our numbers on our own soil. In comparison with the colored and foreign elements our percentage is every year being reduced. In full view, within a few decades at most, lies the new America. Perhaps it has been fear of giving offense to others, more likely it has been pure carelessness and individual selfishness on our part, which has prevented us from discussing our country of to-morrow. The new America, if the present tendencies continue, will be a nation composed of a majority of American white farmers only in the middle western and plains states. Black farmers will ultimately predominate throughout the coastal regions of the South and the Mississippi Delta, and Japanese farmers will rapidly multiply their numbers on the Pacific coast. But the ever-[Pg 104]increasing city population already numbers over half the nation. This city population in the North and East contains to-day about fifteen per cent. of original Americans. Presently this diminishing element will count only a few capitalists and professional persons. The majority of the business class, even, will be composed of Greeks, Jews, Germans, Italians and their descendants. The great working class of the cities is even now composed of two elements. First, there are the skilled workers, mainly British, Irish, Germans, and Scandinavians, with their immediate descendants. The unskilled working people of the cities, always tending to submerge the skilled, are composed of Italians, Negroes, Slavs, Jews, French-Canadians, and thirty-odd other elements from the south and east of Europe and from Asia. Recently seventy-two Americans, members of a literary club, in a small industrial town in New York, took a census of their children. They discovered, much to their surprise that altogether they were rearing exactly fourteen offspring. Mean[Pg 105]while fourteen children is not an uncommon number at all for an Italian or French-Canadian couple to add to the citizenship of our country.

Questions arise here which it is quite necessary for us to answer at once. Why, indeed, do we Americans lay such great store by our peculiar racial heritage? Are not our recent immigrants, taken as a whole, as "good" as we? If we do not desire to bring children into the world, should not our country be left to others who are willing to undertake the responsibilities of parenthood? Hence, why are we not disposed to accept our dissolution silently and go to the grave with a smile?

The answer to these questions is implied in the title of this article. It is the cherished belief of the members of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan that democracy—democracy in all its aspects, the social spirit of democracy, the practice of democracy, the regeneration of the soul of mankind through[Pg 106] democracy—that this is the greatest of all values created by modern civilization. We hold further that the part played by the American people in the evolution of democracy has been of primary importance. Despite all our mistakes, and they have been many, we have succeeded. And our success, even with its limitations, has been, we fully believe, as a light and as a leading to all the world. It was our glorious privilege to unlock the prison door of France when our sister republic was first created in the French Revolution. It was largely the success of universal, white, male suffrage in America which impelled our brethren of the British Empire to undertake the same colossal experiment. No doubt our history has been the subject of far too much fervid eloquence and vain boasting. We have not often hesitated to tell all the world about ourselves. Here I am seeking merely to state the simple facts, because without them the standpoint and argument of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan could not be understood.

[Pg 107]

Among the most false of theories which sane minds ever gave themselves over to believing, has been that which claims that the democratic system, if only put on trial, will work among any people at any time. Indeed, many persons otherwise well informed still accept this folly. They believe that democracy is a sort of "universal truth." All that we must do is to preach it to all mankind as a sort of saving gospel. All the heathen need do is to accept it, believe it, and forthwith practice it. Oh, vanity of vanities! It has been three hundred years since the English Bill of Rights was signed by King James First and nearly one hundred and fifty years since our American Declaration of Independence. And now the Great War has ended with our seeking to ram democracy down the throats of nations which do not want it. What blows in the face our optimism receives from the simplest facts of history! One hundred and thirty years ago the French revolutionists attempted to pull down every throne in Europe and plant democracy in every land.[Pg 108] And then only seven years ago the hosts of the Kaiser made their plunge toward Paris in order to destroy the French Republic and establish absolutism and kultur in its place.

No! The practice of democracy does not spread around the world as rapidly as we can tell people how nice it is and how much we like it ourselves. Democracy has been a slow, delicate and perishable growth among a specific group of Europeans. These peoples have been much favored through a peculiar heritage. No doubt, ages ago, it took the ancestors of man a long, long time to stand upright. Some quadrupeds seem to have tried but never could learn the new method, so they still amble along half the time on all fours. So to-day it seems to take a considerable period for the masses to learn how to rule themselves successfully. Yet we ought not to be utterly discouraged. If the facts indicate that some peoples can never learn, that is no reason at all why we should surrender our own learning and growth in[Pg 109] order to be equal again with the weaker brethren.

Democracy is on trial. It is on trial in America just as much as anywhere else. It is being weighed and revalued before the whole world. We have seen many a European people after being overurged to accept a republican form of government, again returning to autocracy. The Greek majority which recently voted to bring back the Kaiser's ally, King Constantine, and the Kaiser's sister, the Queen, was rather staggering in its size. If a vast majority of the Greeks in their home country joyously accept monarchy and Hohenzollernism, how can we expect our Greek immigrants here in the United States to enthuse over our republican institutions? They come, like others, as everybody knows, to avail themselves of the opportunity to advance their material interests. This has been true with the majority of our immigrants for over fifty years. Who, indeed, can blame them for taking advantage of economic con[Pg 110]ditions in America? Indeed, these immigrants of every sort and kind are well within their rights. If some of them seem to make too much money out of us, is it not because some of our employing class first urged their coming in order to make money out of them? We brought them in because we thought they would be cheap and profitable to us. Some of them have proved in the long run to be very dear and unprofitable.

Let me here make a general observation regarding the attitude of my colleagues and myself in connection with this whole matter of immigration. Where, in these chapters, mention is made of any particular race or group of immigrants, not the slightest offense is intended. But too often our squeamish fear of giving offense to the over-sensitive has prevented our discussing this most crucial of our national problems. Everyone feels free to-day to discuss Russia, to investigate Russia, to come to conclusions with reference to what is being done in[Pg 111] Russia, and to make suggestions as to a Russian policy. Why, then, we ask in the name of all common sense, should it be an offense to anyone to discuss the millions of Russians who live in the United States? How do they make a living, and what is their percentage of national increase? Are they or are they not desirable immigrants? The same holds good of the Germans, the Irish, and of every other racial element which is increasing among us. All this is interesting to us and greatly important. It is interesting and important in more ways than one. What the immigrants may and should demand, what the Negro or the Japanese are quite right in demanding of us, is that we as native-born, white Americans should discuss these questions of population in a way that is at once honorable and kindly. We must stick to the facts. We may indulge neither in slander nor in base insinuation. Those of our immigrant population who have been received into citizenship may ask especial consideration. We, of the Klan, on our part propose to bring facts in[Pg 112] support of a policy. There may be those who wish to disagree with us publicly. If so, we shall expect to be asked to consider only facts brought in rebuttal. As man to man, marshalling fact for fact, let us sit down together and seek to sift this matter to the bottom.


The Emperor Addressing First Imperial Klonvokation.

[Pg 113]


Our Cities a Menace to Democracy

Referring again to the menace of the American city to American institutions, I desire to remind the reader of the thought of some of our most profound thinkers on the great problems of democracy. Some of these views expressed at different periods of our history were prophetic, and some of them were conclusions, as though the visions of the seers were being fulfilled. In the early days of the republic when there were no great cities in our country and when the tide of immigration had just begun to flow to our shores and settle in the growing centers along the Atlantic seaboard, Mr. Jefferson said, "The American city is a cancer on the body politic." He seemed to foresee, at the very beginning of the republic, the deadly poison of anti-democracy generated among the alien people congested in our cities. In 1866 Wendell Phillips, a powerful advocate[Pg 114] of emancipation, said, after the great conflict was ended and the Negroes free, "The time is coming when the American city will strain the government as slavery never did." He, too, foresaw the virus which the city would spread to the entire nation, attacking and consuming the great principles of democracy upon which the republic was founded. In recent years, Lord Bryce, Ambassador of Great Britain to the United States, after years of study and careful investigation, wrote that classic entitled "The American Commonwealth." In this work there was much commendation of American institutions, but the book was not without candid criticism. He said that "the conspicuous failure of American democracy is in its great cities." The clear meaning of the eminent Englishman was that the American people remained really democratic only in the rural sections and the villages. Already conglomerate population from every clime and shore had destroyed democracy in our congested centers. Only recently Mr. H.G. Wells, one of the most conspic[Pg 115]uous, progressive thinkers in the world, looked upon New York with its seething millions, heard its Babel of languages, felt its delirious fever, and then calmly announced that Petrograd in its rust and desolation was a picture of New York in the future. In our greatest city, this profound student of social and political life saw unmistakable evidence of the real and seething madness of Bolshevism which meant the overthrow and the utter collapse of all things democratic.

We are told to-day (1920) that millions of workers in our great cities are unemployed. I reflect at once upon the figures which are placed before us. In round numbers we have, this winter, about six millions of unnaturalized foreign working people living in our cities, and almost exactly the same number of employed on our hands. What would they have us do? Are six millions more to come to us and thus give us a total of twelve millions of unemployed? What would these people all do for a living? There[Pg 116] are simply not enough jobs in the cities for them, and it seems evident that there will not be in our generation. It is these masses, which, by sheer force of number, gave us the present insoluble problem of the city. Our cities can maintain their large populations only if the country population is increased to supply them food and raw materials on the one hand, and with markets on the other.

Overgrown cities are in themselves a menace. When the surplus is composed of unassimilated and unemployed aliens the menace is doubled,—nay, it is multiplied tenfold. The great city as at present constructed and conducted corrodes the very soul of our American life. Factory work, with every new invention of automatic machinery, progressively selects those who are more and more unfit to be Americans. A factory manager in Chicago recently amended a new rule for the selection of employees. He would hire no blondes. The big blonde people, he said, "would not stay[Pg 117] at their machines until the whistle blew." He was evidently hunting for a people who could be trained never to move a foot, or an eye, for ten hours a day. The growth of an American is ordinarily impossible under the conditions of either great wealth or great poverty. The city simply can not furnish the character-building elements which must needs go into the making of an American. Every American child should be born to a vast heritage. This heritage should include a fine healthy parentage, clean birth, gentle care, proper nourishment and opportunity for play and education in the open country.

Is there no cause for the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan among the robust, native-born folk of the countryside? Is not the menace of the city to our ideals and institutions an urgent demand for the organization of our unspoiled rural life to save the nation from infection by the great cities?

[Pg 118]

It may be that we are too late in starting this movement of "America for Americans and Americans for America." No doubt it should have been begun thirty years ago. But if we can find some method by which, after ten years of entire rejection, immigration can be narrowly and rigidly restricted, and by which the surplus population can be distributed over the vast, uncultivated area of our great country, and slowly wrought into our social life, there is yet a hope left for our country. But if alien populations are permitted, as in the past, to flood our land, colonize in our great cities, and propagate their kind with such amazing rapidity, while only native-born Americans continue to till the soil and propagate their kind in an appallingly decreasing ratio, then our country is lost and everything the fathers strove to build for posterity will sooner or later be wiped out. We do not in the least seek to hide the fact that the Ku Klux Klan is making a last stand for America as the home of Americans and Americanism.

[Pg 119]


The Failure of Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe

To the average country-born American the period of the war has been a time of painful disillusionment. There may have been among us some who, before the war, had some accurate knowledge of what was going on in the world; but the great mass of Americans were very much shocked by the succeeding event. We took the statements of the leaders of the people in Germany and Russia at their face value. It seems to me to be very much worth while, at present, to trace the various events by which we were led into knowing what central and eastern Europe were really thinking and doing. Let us recall our first period of disappointment. We had always believed that the parties of the people in Germany, especially the great social-democratic party, had the power to prevent the Kaiser from undertaking a war of conquest.[Pg 120] The declaration of war was to be the signal for a revolution and the creation of a republic. This was rather taken for granted, without investigation, by reading people all over the world. When we saw the entire German nation, with hardly an exception, turn quite insane with the war spirit, we sat back and wondered what this people was really like.

It was also a generally accepted theory among us that the German immigrants who came to us had left Germany because they disliked the tyranny of its government. Then, in 1914, with a suddenness that quite took our breath away, came the propaganda of "Kultur." The entire German nation, through every means it had of speaking to the outside world, informed us blandly that it possessed a system of society infinitely more efficient and desirable than democracy. "It is Germany's duty under God," wrote Bernhardi, "to give her superior culture (Kultur) to all inferior peoples." Indeed, the war itself was generally inter[Pg 121]preted by Germans as an act of charity and self-sacrifice upon their part. At the time the idea was so new to us that it took us just three years to really comprehend what was going on in Europe. Even President Wilson, in 1916, declared publicly that we did not know the real causes of the War.

We may or may not have completely destroyed the Germany autocracy; but we may be sure we have by no means done with the system of Kultur. It is all too easily put into practice. The stupendous machinery and organizations of modern industry presents a perfect maze of social problems for solution. Kultur is, by far, the easiest way out. The direction of the whole business of life is simply turned over to a "great man" or to a small clique. People everywhere are naturally lazy and morally irresponsible. For the thinking and characterful minority there come times of mental anguish and disillusionment. To-day the times tempt us to despair. We are almost driven to lose faith in the majority and so[Pg 122] in government by the majority. "Why not try a change," "it could not be worse;" we hear it said on every hand. So, perhaps, we in America may yet try Kultur. Certainly we shall if we again have unrestricted immigration. When democracy fails, some form of monarchy will be our only salvation from oligarchy; and an oligarchy is more dangerous to freedom than monarchy. A monarchy, with our peculiar industrial development and our great propertyless masses, means Kultur.

In the midst of the Great War came the Russian revolution. We sat back and said, "How fine! Now they are going to follow our example by building a great Russian Republic, which will soon break down the German autocracy." Even now most of us do not begin to understand what has really happened. What we do know is that the Bolshevists have not only created a state of universal starvation, disease, and despair throughout Russia, but they have also tried to spread their system throughout[Pg 123] Europe and the world. To this end they have made foreign war and conducted an enormous and costly world propaganda. As I write we learn that, while we were voting credits and collecting funds for the starving in Russia, they were paying $30,000 to a single agent to execute a single murderous bomb-plot in New York City.

In our last chapter we quoted Mr. H. G. Wells's statement that New York City will be the next Petrograd. This observation can be, by no means, taken jocularly. Go in our present course, and Bolshevism will be, in all our larger cities and industrial districts, the natural alternative for monarchy. Compelled to choose between the two, our original American people will probably divide and civil war will result. Lenine and Trotsky did not create Bolshevism. Bolshevism grew as naturally as a rank weed on a dunghill. It sprang from ignorance and poverty and despair. It will appear wherever ignorance, poverty and despair are mixed together. Quite likely we shall[Pg 124] have, with unrestricted immigration, a Bolshevist revolution first, then monarchy and Kultur.

A great many persons are disposed to compare the present state of central and eastern Europe with the conditions in France at the time of the French Revolution. I, for one, am not at all impressed by this easy explanation. The French Revolutionists represented and advocated a movement toward democracy for all Europe. Both the Germans and Russians have burst out upon us shouting that, in their peculiar system of tyranny and slavery, they had something better than democracy to proffer us. The average reading American throws up his hands and cries, "What in Heaven's name, will China next urge upon us, or Africa?"

What has happened to us is, after all, upon reflection, quite simple. We are placed on the defensive for democracy. And we have wisely given over trying to urge[Pg 125] our point of view and our peculiar system upon those who not only reject it but openly despise it. No doubt this has been a severe shock to our ancient national conceit. Let me again emphasize that democracy seems to be, for the present, limited to the boundaries of certain peculiar nations. Other peoples may evolve into democracy later. But their steps will be slow. Their experience will be gained gradually. We can not help them much, if at all, by urging them merely to follow our example. Meanwhile, if there be anything precious in democracy for us, we had better bestir ourselves to save what we have left of it.

[Pg 126]


Foreign Outposts in the United States

Four distinct national elements in the United States showed, in lesser or greater part, disloyalty and pro-Germanism during the War. These were the Germans, the Jewish Bolsheviki, the Sinn-Feiners, and the French-Canadians. Of course these four were no different from most other foreign-speaking elements. Only their standpoints and loyalties were clearly brought out by the war—that was all. Italian or Portuguese, Greek or Slav, in case their home country had been lined up against the United States, would have acted in just the same way.

Here we must touch upon a fact which is pretty widely known or taken for granted. There is a fundamental difference between this later immigration and that of the middle portion of the nineteenth century. The Germans, Hungarians, and Italians of 1848-[Pg 127]70, for instance, came to America for the same reason as most of the original British and Irish. They were seeking freedom and democracy. Their purposes were idealistic. They sought in the new country not only economic opportunity but political liberty which were denied them in the old. They were Americans at heart before they left their old home.

The new immigration is totally different. This later swarm has come mostly to get jobs and money. Among them, no doubt, there are a few who are gifted with qualities of mind and character which make this description inapplicable. I am referring to the many, not the few. In Southern and Eastern Europe they form the lowest grade of the working class and include a large percentage of beggars and peddlers, of thieves and criminals. The average immigrant of this sort has been accustomed to a condition of poverty unknown to, and almost unimaginable to, the average American. His physical standards of living are[Pg 128] such as to make his competition with the original American worker unfair and deadly. Great masses of them have come without the slightest intention of remaining with us and adopting American standards. Herded together under the most unsanitary conditions, hoarding up their wages with a greed incomprehensible to an American, crowds of them rush back to the country of their origin as soon as their savings are sufficient for their purposes. Meanwhile they are replaced by others until the standards of living of the American-born wage-earners are hopelessly undermined. Each immigrant who comes to us under these conditions prevents the founding of an American home and the birth of American children. Let us hasten to add that their coming and going can not in any way be held as an accusation against themselves. Responsibility lies entirely with us. Employers who bring them over, or prevent their rejection, under the conditions stated, are guilty of a monstrous crime against civilization. This crime is comparable to only[Pg 129] one other in our history—the African slave-trade of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.


Where the Water Gushes From the Rock Klansmen Assemble Each Year to Drink the Libation of Fellowship.

Meanwhile every conception and institution upon which our social and political life is established is torn from its mooring and broken up by the force of the inpouring waves. In Southern and Eastern Europe and in the Near East, these masses are, or have been, until very recently, ruled as they were in the Middle Ages. Rebellion against tyrants to them means acceptance of Anarchism or Bolshevism, or at least German state Socialism. East of the Rhine and south of the Alps they are capable at present only of running wildly about from one tyranny to another, from one stupid blunder to another and back again. If this population in Europe is proving itself to be totally incompetent to govern itself, how can we expect it to take an intelligent and useful part in all the complexities of democracy here? If a million Hungarians, for instance, have failed at every point of the political[Pg 130] compass in Hungary, how, in Heaven's name, can we expect them to succeed in New York or Chicago? That mass of Hungarians, like Italians and Germans, like Jews and Greeks, induces the vilest sort of boss rule. They are largely kept away from our public schools by clerical opposition to our school system. A slave population in Europe, they become a slave population here. Politically they are the willing tools of every hidden and dangerous force at work in our public life.

It is no part of my purpose to arouse, in the slightest degree, hatred of these people. Many of them are kind, innocent, simple, unknowing creatures. As strangers in a strange land, they deserve every degree of consideration, every means of help at our hands, which it is in our power to give to them. Their natural inclination, as well as their great numbers, are responsible for that separation from us which the foreign quarter implies. The continued use of foreign languages, and the clinging to foreign customs,[Pg 131] are things which should never have been tolerated on our soil. By herding together they bring up their children in a foreign atmosphere, thus perpetuating and increasing the weaknesses and dangers which they have brought into our national life. I used the word "increasing" advisedly. In Europe each unit of this backward and inept mass of poor is merged in a nation which understands him and where he, in turn, somewhat understands his surroundings. But segregated by language and nationality here, they are broken away from their old moorings without binding themselves to the new. In the old world they are led politically, sometimes, by men of education and ideals. With us they fall easy prey to any fool and fakir and dishonest representative of the political machine or vicious interest which may seek to prey upon them and mislead them.

A few particular facts concerning propagandistic activities among our immigrant population may be illuminating if set down[Pg 132] together. During the war the pro-Germans organized and conducted a most elaborate and expensive propaganda among our Ukrainian immigrants. This was done in order to weaken Russia at home, both before and after the revolution.

Sinn-Fein Irish, because of their inveterate hatred of the British, were in many cases used to spread pro-German propaganda. This was effectual both before and after we went into the war.

A very large percentage of the Russian Jews in New York City and elsewhere were, at the beginning of the war, pro-German because they were anti-Russian. After we entered the war they were bitterly anti-American because they were pro-Bolshevist. No possible turn of events could make them take a pro-American position upon any issue under the sun. This is the element, by the way, which used funds from Russia to carry on its pro-Bolshevistic propaganda among our Negroes. In certain places, in[Pg 133]cluding New York City, it urged the Negroes to arm themselves and fight the whites.

The French-Canadian immigrants among us number, with their children, nearly half a million. During the war they were, strange as it may seem, anti-French. The French-Canadian population is completely dominated, politically, socially and intellectually, by their clergy. These clericals still hate France and the French Government because the French Revolution overthrew the power of the Roman Church in France. They still belong to the ancient regime. So they naturally took the side of the ancient regime, the German side. Among us, they were largely passive. In Canada they actively opposed every war activity of their government from start to finish of the war.

Of the Asiatics there are two main elements—the Japanese and the East Indians. Of the East Indians there are not many, but their number is steadily increasing.[Pg 134] They are being widely used to stir up an Indian revolution against the British Empire. Whether this is or is not justified we are not discussing here. The point is that this foreign element is using America as a vantage-point from which to make war upon another country.

Finally, we come to the Japanese. Here we find the climax of this whole matter. The religion of the Japanese immigrants is, primarily, Mikado-worship. Sums of money to build the temples for this delectable form of religious expression are furnished largely by the Japanese government. When we ponder these facts we may well ask whether we as a nation do not ourselves require a guardian. We resemble a five-year old child with a purse full of money, sitting in a poker game with greedy and astute gamblers. To carry our sentimentalism so far, to overwork the theory of the brotherhood of man to such an extent as this, is to court total disaster. We as a nation are asleep because selfish, corrupt and designing interests among us have[Pg 135] drugged us out of our senses. These great interests want cheap labor. They are aided in their designs by a crowd of well-meaning but ignorant sentimentalists, most of whom do not dream that they are helping to destroy our American nation in order to experience an emotional satisfaction. The employers get their cheap labor, and the sentimentalists their self-satisfaction. We, the foolish majority, are losing our freedom and our country. If the facts do not cry us into action, why multiply words? All America is hoping, praying and preparing for peace with Japan. But to further permit even the smallest amount of Japanese immigration will surely tend to war. In the event of war any American in Japan will undoubtedly take the side of his own country. We shall fully expect him to do so. For the same reason the hundred and fifty thousand Japanese in our own country will prove to be a hundred and fifty thousand skillful and resolute enemies. Making an American out of a Japanese under the conditions above described is as impossible as making a sheep[Pg 136] out of a goat, or a dog out of a cat. As to whether or not we are superior to the Japanese, is not the matter at issue here. The important fact right here is that we differ greatly from each other in the basic things of life, and these differences are largely inherited qualities. Furthermore, these differences must surely make Japanese amalgamation with our people wholly undesirable. Such a mixture of bloods runs counter to a fundamental principle of biology which all high-school children learn as a matter of course. The offspring of such a blending of widely different stocks are likely to be unstable in mind. In general they can not qualify as to either the physical, mental or moral standards of either race. In amalgamation there is likely to be a loss from the standards of either side.

The Japanese child in the United States is sent to a school owned and controlled by the Japanese Government. There he is taught the language, ideals and duty of an abject subject of the Mikado. Finally,[Pg 137] the Japanese birth rate in California is sixty-nine per thousand annually, the white birth rate nineteen per thousand.

"But the pure descendants of the Japanese immigrants may surely change and become real Americans," I hear somebody saying. Meanwhile, we have just been informed that the son of German parents in Cincinnati, who had accepted a Captain-Surgeon's commission in our army and gone to France had not been perfectly Americanized. The fellow was hanged for inoculating our soldiers with disease germs instead of typhoid serum. This creature was born and reared not in the United States, but in the German section of Cincinnati. With this in mind we expect to Americanize the Japanese, the very breath of whose intense religious emotion is the sacred worship of their absolute and august ruler, the Mikado!

Be it a million Russians or a million Japanese, a million Italians or a million French-Canadians—either their importation or their birth upon our soil prevents by[Pg 138] the stifling force of economic competition the birth of a million Americans. In the name of Almighty God and our country, what has become of our brains? These facts are enough to make any of us not totally bereft of his senses to go into the highways and the byways crying for the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, or if some man has a better plan for safeguarding the nation conjuring him in God's name to proclaim it.

[Pg 139]


The Racial Limitations of Democracy

Democracy is the practice of self-government by the people. It is the rule of law instead of persons; of the majority instead of the minority or individual. As a system both of government and social life it has but recently been either widely accepted in theory or established in practice. A short three hundred years mark its very real advance in the modern world. Only during the past hundred years has majority rule been accepted as desirable or possible among a very few of the more advanced countries. If we examine the political map of the world we find that the triumphs of democracy are limited to but a few nations. We may generalize by observing that a very few nations have but recently succeeded in making democracy work.

What part is democracy likely to play in various quarters of the world during our[Pg 140] present century? Are we to see, now that Europe and Asia are torn from end to end by revolutions, a sudden adaptation of all these backward peoples to the democratic method? All recognize that we are just now going through one of the greatest of revolutionary periods in history. Maybe the millenium of universal freedom and democracy is even now at hand. Let us see.

The practice of political democracy to-day is practically limited to two main groups of nations—the English-speaking and the Latin. Of the latter group, Spain alone tarries in the Middle Ages. Besides these we have Holland and the three Scandinavian countries, which, while ruled by kings, are democratic in both thought and practice. In a previous chapter we have described the pitiful surrender of the German people to absolute monarchy and state socialism, and their recent trembling efforts toward freedom, as well as the sad miscarriage of the attempted democratic revolution in Russia.

[Pg 141]

Beyond the limits of Europe, the two Americas, and English-speaking colonies over seas, there is little enough hope for the growth of democracy anywhere in the immediate future. The most fulsome optimism can not expect the Chinese republic to succeed in our day. For a long time in the future, as in the past, the "white man's burden" is going to include practically the whole of Asia and Africa.

The limitations of democracy are set by many considerations. These involve first the state of biological evolution in which a particular race finds itself; second, the particular history of the particular country under discussion. The African Negro can not realize democracy to-day because he is psychically, and hence morally unfitted for its responsibilities. The cause here is biological. The German people are the first cousins of the English, being much the same in blood. The difference between the two peoples are not biological, but historical.

[Pg 142]

Democracy in practice requires certain mental and moral qualities. The most outstanding among these are intellectual acumen and a knowledge of public affairs. Among the moral essentials are a spirit of good sportsmanship, a profound regard for the rules of common honesty, and above all, a fine sense of personal honor. Democracy must be based upon character. Every qualification we have mentioned necessitates a large measure of economic freedom; for without this, the individual is enslaved and driven in things political. They imply, also, freedom from tyranny of intermeddling by any religious power. Unity of church and state, or the interference in politics by a religious organization for ulterior purposes, makes true democracy impossible. The individual citizen must always have perfect freedom of political choice. For the masses in any nation to acquire these qualities is to place that nation in the very front rank of the world's political civilization.

[Pg 143]

We now come to the most important element of all. In any well ordered democratic country there must be a high degree of unity in both the thought and feeling of the people. There is a principle of mechanics involved here. If the machine is to run at all, its parts must function together properly. If it is to run smoothly, without mishap of any sort, then those parts must have been most carefully fitted and adjusted together. If a population is seriously divided along lines of race, language, religion, or social classes, in just so far is a working democracy made difficult. Given enough differences and the machine breaks down. For instance, Switzerland is often cited as a country where democracy works even though the people are divided into three language groups. Nothing is more untrue. In Switzerland the entire population is united because almost everybody uses two or three languages in common instead of one. Religious differences among the Swiss are not dangerous to democracy because church and state are completely separated,[Pg 144] and it is taken for granted that no church shall meddle in the slightest degree in political affairs.

Any larger disunity robs a nation of its hope of democracy. Witness the peculiar failure in the democratic effort in Russia, where the fanatical sect of Bolsheviki has set up a dictatorship in the name of the wage-working class alone. What a lesson can be learned from Poland, where religious difficulties have recently resulted in bloody riots; or in Italy, where Nationalists, Socialists, Communists and Catholics, each organized into a party, have recently gone out seeking the blood of one or more of the opponents. In this the famous words of Lincoln forever come into mind. "A house divided against itself can not stand. This nation can not endure half slave and half free. It will be all the one thing or all the other." Democracy in America has been successful hitherto because we have been enabled, first and last, at whatever sacrifices, to preserve our national unity.


Where Country, Our Home, The Klan and Each Other are Secured

[Pg 145]

Democracy is limited to those nations whose citizens possess these peculiar and lofty qualifications of mind and character. It is limited to nations which are blessed with unity and solidarity among its people. It is further limited to nations which have grown into the practice of democracy during long experience. Instead of asking what nations and peoples are likely to fail at democracy, we had better start by inquiring as to what few nations are fortunate enough to possess all of these qualifications which, taken together, make democracy possible.

Democracy, we shall all agree, can not develop among the Australian bushmen. It will not develop among the gypsies. It will not develop, for a long time, among the African Negroes. Democracy will grow slowly among the white peoples of central and eastern Europe. It will probably grow much more slowly among the brown and yellow peoples of Asia. We can best advance the cause of democracy in our time by saving[Pg 146] it and developing it in those countries where it has been already pretty well established. Surely the greatest possible service we can render the cause of democracy among the peoples not yet wholly fitted for its practice is to give them a high and striking example of its success in our own country. The supreme battle for democracy in this our day is taking place in the minds and hearts of American citizens. There is no immediate cause for doubt and worry concerning the preservation of democracy in Great Britain and France. There is cause for deepest concern in our own country, whose democracy is threatened from every side, by greedy and designing powers above, as by a great mass of incompetent, unprincipled and undemocratic voters from below.

[Pg 147]


The American Negro as Ward of The Nation

Grover Cleveland once declared that one American problem for which he saw no solution whatever was the problem of the Negro. If we were in The land of the beginning again, that country of our dreams, we should, of course, not bring the Negro to our shores. It is easy to idealize our American ancestors, but no doubt they made enough errors in their time. Their most gigantic blunder, one to make Providence himself almost despair of humanity, was the Afro-American slave trade. "Man's inhumanity to man" brings at last the greatest of all sorrows upon him who works the inhumanity.

The first emotion that thought of the great problem of the Negro must awaken in the hearts of all Americans is humility. Before Almighty God we must resolve in[Pg 148] this matter to do justice, and more than justice. Here more than any other place, we must be moved by Christlike kindness and love. The bane of us Americans, in all periods of our history, has been carelessness. We have a tendency to let things drift from bad to worse. Such has been particularly the case with reference to our attitude toward the Negro. It is high time that we applied to our public thinking some of that sounder knowledge of society and social laws which recent years have given to us.

Why should the simple truth give offense to anybody? The Negro in Africa is a childish barbarian. Left to himself, he has never at any time or place evolved even the beginning of a civilization. Do what we may in the way of an education, the mind of the pure Negro, compared to the white, on the average does not get beyond the age of twelve years. To ignore this fact is to get into error from the start. Continue to ignore this fact, especially in the execution of larger national policies, and[Pg 149] we shall invite, as we have done in the past, trouble that is deep and dangerous. Two facts should be remembered if we would make real progress in this discussion. The first is that only those who live among the Negro and so learn to know him at first hand can really understand his manifold traits. To sit down five hundred miles from the nearest considerable Negro population and write books about the Negro is not likely to help much.

The second fact to be kept constantly in mind relates to our population of mixed blood. Every distinguished leader of the Negro race in the United States has been part white. In fact, a majority of the more distinguished have contained only a small infusion of Negro blood. It is the presence of this Mulatto element which clothes the whole problem in porcupine quills. It is this portion of our colored population which is restless and often unhappy to the point of bitterness because of our present policy with reference to the[Pg 150] Negro. If there were no mixed population to consider our problem would not be nearly so difficult.

I have always felt that superficial minds have a peculiar tendency to lay hold of the Negro problem. For instance, witness the illogical claims of some of those who think they are the special friends of the Negro and who continually emphasize the necessity for an enlarged sphere for Negro opportunity. On the one hand they boast of the very great progress the Negro has made during his half century of freedom. On one page they will emphasize Negro accomplishment. More than half of our adult Negro population, for instance, can read and write. Tens of thousands of Negro families own their own farms or city homes. An even greater number of Negroes are attending high schools and colleges. Then, on the very next page, the same author will take pains to show that the Negro is most foully treated. He is kept in ignorance and poverty. The wicked white population[Pg 151] which surrounds him denies him every advantage and means of progress. Of course both of these tales can not be true at the same time.

Those of us who grew up among the Negroes and have lived with them on terms of mutual kindness and of helpfulness all our lives are inclined to the conclusion that it is easy to exaggerate the progress of the Negro. The record of what we people of the South have done and have tried to do for the Negro during these fifty years is an open book to all the world. It need not be described or analyzed here. Our task has not been easy. In general, I think we have tried to do it in a way to win both the approval of our own conscience and the commendation of our fellow citizens of other sections of the country. Yet we have acted not only according to our means, but also according to our knowledge of what could be accomplished. In so far as we have failed we simply ask that our fellow citizens of the North and West make special[Pg 152] effort to understand the true cause of our failure.

This brings us to the main issue of this discussion. The Negro problem is not peculiar to the South. The Negro problem is the burden of the nation as a whole. The Negro was brought here during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries on the merchant ships which sailed mostly from the ports of Great Britain and New England. Some few put forth from Philadelphia and New York, but none from the South. This was not due to the fact that all Southern people were morally above taking advantage of the African slave trade. It was because commerce on the high seas was not developed in the South. We were then wholly agricultural. But the fact remains. The Negroes were brought to us by the ships of old England and New England. For this terrible error of all the English-speaking world of colonial times we in the South have paid and paid and paid. We have paid by reason of the very fact[Pg 153] of slavery, which continued so long among us because no one knew how to make an end of it. We have paid and are still paying in the form of the most inefficient labor force in the world. We paid in the War Between the States and during the Reconstruction, until extinction threatened us; and we still pay. Not the least portion of our bill is the disesteem in which we are often so wrongly held by those of our own language and blood throughout the world. Yet we patiently await the day of complete understanding, of perfect reconciliation.

How long will it be before our modern knowledge of the fundamental facts of American history are accepted and used in our political and social thinking? Slavery continued in the South and died out in the North not because our people were different at the start. They were quite the same. But the climate was different. Crops were different. In the South the slaves produced cotton, tobacco, and sugar-cane during a long growing season, and hence[Pg 154] slaves were profitable to their masters. In the North where they produced only food and fodder crops during a short growing season, slaves were an economic loss. Short summers and long winters do not permit the Negro to become a permanent inhabitant of Northern climes. So the few Northern slaves were mostly sold South and total emancipation followed.

Meanwhile, let it not be forgotten that during the period when cotton was king, the North shared with the South in the profits of slave labor. The economic system of our country was based upon cotton and tobacco. For a full generation it took the following form: the South sent her products to Europe, America received, in return, not commodities but capital. This capital was invested in railroads and other public improvements. Pennsylvania, New York and New England furnished the articles of manufacture which the South needed at prices much higher than obtained in Europe. These high prices were main[Pg 155]tained through a protective tariff. The profits of slave labor were thus divided between the South and the North. When, in the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Virginia led the border states in demanding the Constitutional prohibition of African slave trade, the New England delegates joined with those of the far South in keeping this nefarious traffic open for twenty-one years more. When we say to-day that the problem is in every sense a national problem, we base our statement not only upon present necessity—but also upon the basis of historical facts which lead to definite conclusions.

Finally, the title of this chapter has a wider significance which I would emphasize with all possible vigor. In maintaining that the Negro is a ward of the nation I wish to place emphasis upon WARD. The Negro's presence among us requires an ever greater interest and care on our part. It is high time that the people of the South made a wider appeal to their fellow citizens of the[Pg 156] North and West. A stupendous moral responsibility is involved in the presence of these ten millions of black people. Not only the past, but the future, too, is looking down upon us. All Americans may well realize that in this, as in so many other matters, we are being weighed in the balance as a nation. As a people we are fortunate in being quick to let bygones be bygones. We of the South know that if other sections come to understand us and our peculiar problem better, not only we, but they also, will be the ultimate gainers. The sooner the nation unites in looking upon our ten millions of colored folk as ten millions of children for whose protection and care we are morally responsible, the sooner we shall all be placed upon solid ground.

Let me repeat here what I have been constantly touching upon in these chapters. The maxims of our democracy are not for universal application. Some Europeans are a hundred years, others five hundred years, behind us in the process of democratic[Pg 157] evolution. We may guess, but we can not know, how long they will be in catching up. How far behind them the Negro may be in these things I leave for the anthropologists to determine or surmise. But what we of the South assuredly know, because of our experience, is just this—to treat the Negro as the political equal of the white is to do grave injustice not only to the white, but to the Negro as well. We can not justly enforce the laws among children that we make for adults. To enforce the white man's law, in all cases, upon the Negro is an injustice so great that the effort often causes sorrow to every normal mind among us. Cared for and protected as a child, the Negro's better qualities are developed and made evident by his works. But when he is burdened by moral and legal responsibilities which neither his mind nor his character is prepared to bear, in the vast majority of cases he breaks and falls under the load. The errors of our mistaken policies during the past fifty years have caused unfathomable suffering among our Negroes. Our country took its[Pg 158] foolish fling and sowed its wild oats of democratic Utopia during Reconstruction days. We proved then that the vote is an unmitigated curse to the Negro. From this curse he still suffers. We were forced by Federal act to make him everywhere subject to the white man's civil and criminal law. Often enough the white man's law sends him to the penitentiary for twenty years when twenty days of hard work upon the public highway would be punishment enough for his unthinking crime. In this matter we have simply tried to put a gallon of water into a quart bottle. So we have spilled much water and come near breaking the bottle. The people of the Philippine Islands are, on the average, much more highly developed than our Negroes. Yet the better advised among them realize that they are not yet ready to get on without our supervision and help.

Let me not be misunderstood. I am not here trying to offer any permanent solution for certain aspects of this problem. That[Pg 159] solution if ultimately sought will require, for many years, the painstaking and united efforts of our best thinkers in all sections. I am now merely stating certain facts and principles upon which any future solution whatsoever must be based. All I ask is that we take these facts into every phase of our argument. The Negro is not yet prepared, mentally or morally, to share all the results of our civilization with us. Amid the great complexities of modern social and political life, it is difficult indeed to prepare our white electorate to bear the responsibilities of government. Wherever the Negro numbers twenty per cent of our population, his vote on election day would endanger democracy. In every state where he lives there are and will be vicious white demagogues who will work upon his credulity to mislead him and misuse him politically. Where he numbers forty per cent of the population, his suffrage would throw us back to Reconstruction times and make democracy impossible. Let us not refuse to shoulder the full burden of this responsi[Pg 160]bility. But the burden belongs rightfully to the Nation as a whole, not to the people of the South alone. We of the South know full well that, once rightly understood by thoughtful minds in other sections, we can ask the nation to undertake those larger policies of reform and readjustment which conditions undoubtedly require.


Revealing the Mysteries at Midnight

[Pg 161]


We Americans are a Peculiar People

Even among the various nationalities of the white race there are very great differences of character and temperament. To try to overlook these, to declare that they do not exist, is both dishonest and dangerous. Moved by the inspiration of a common cause in the Great War, no doubt the American troops and the French people made every possible effort to be agreeable and companionable. Still their very real differences caused friction. We recognize all sorts of peculiar characteristics among individuals. Why this folly of trying to deny their existence among nations? Sound conclusions in any matter are reached only by starting with facts. But the humanitarian and sentimental purposes which some of us have in mind often lead to the misuse of facts. Self-deception is the very last support upon which to build a sense of international or interracial friendship and good will.

[Pg 162]

Democracy, as a working system, as we have said in previous articles, is peculiar to a few nations of the white race. As such it is perhaps the greatest social and spiritual adventure in the history of humanity. Democracy can thrive only where it sinks its roots deep into the personality of the individual soul. In a successful democracy the citizen must be free, honest, intelligent, informed, sportsmanlike, and willing to be always active in the performance of his political duties. These qualities can not be brought forth by the hocus-pocus of wishing them upon anybody. They are the result of a long evolution. They have grown, thus far, only in particular environments and only among peculiar peoples whose whole history furnishes the essential background.

It is often pointed out as an evidence of the success which follows the mixing of our various nationalities, that we original Americans have resulted from the greatest of all mixtures. We began, in Colonial times, as[Pg 163] English, Welsh, Scotch and Irish; as French, Dutch, German and Swedish elements. The results of this mixture, we conclude, have been entirely satisfactory. But right here we are apt to come to error.

True, the original American people were formed by the mixture of these various nationalities. Yet the success of out great experiment was due to the fact of a much greater social unity than at first appears on the surface. Our American people were drawn, mostly, from a single European class. This was the class of small property-holders and skilled workers. They came from the progressive countries to the north and west of Europe. What members of the British country gentry who came to Virginia and South Carolina were quickly unified with those among whom they settled. Indeed, ever since Magna Charta, the English country gentry were thrown together, especially in the House of Commons, with the representatives of the small farmers and the towns people. To ignore this fact[Pg 164] of essential unity is to leave Hamlet out of the play. The dominant group, the great majority in every colony, was this mixture of gentry, independent small farmers, shopkeepers and skilled mechanics. This was then the rising class of Europe, struggling to find itself; hungering to give expression of its peculiar form of civilization; ardent in its desire for larger freedom. These facts can not be over-emphasized.

The original settlers, in large part, came to America to find the freedom and political opportunity they so richly deserved. If they did not, at once, always grant freedom to others in their own settlements, there was plenty of room for the others elsewhere. The Baptists, driven out of Massachusetts, found refuge in Rhode Island. The Quakers, whipped out of New England, discovered room and to spare in Pennsylvania. The Cavaliers, forced into exile during the Puritanic tyranny of the Commonwealth period, settled in Virginia and South Carolina. When the French Protestants came, after[Pg 165] the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, they were not really foreigners in America. They possessed the same faith, they were guided by exactly the same system of morals, they were the same class of people basically, as those among whom they settled. One of the most liberal and democratic groups to organize a colony were the English Catholics of Maryland. The secret of understanding the beginnings of America is to know that there was room for everybody and for everybody's beliefs. Even the bigot in Europe eventually became the liberal here. The indentured servant, of whom there were comparatively few, eventually found freedom and acquired property in the wilderness.

It was this abundant opportunity to possess free land which finally led to the complete triumph of our democracy. The real America has always been country America. The settlers came from Europe ready in mind and heart for the great adventure. The effort required independence,[Pg 166] self-reliance and high courage. The weaklings failed and died. With every movement into the wilderness these mightier qualities of body, mind, and soul were renewed and developed. So our American democracy came, at last, to its greatest triumph west of the Alleghenies. Here the limitations upon opportunity which obtained in the coastal colonies were not to be found. Here was, at last, rich soil in abundance for any hand that could wield the axe or hold the plow. Under the leadership of men like Jefferson, Jackson and Lincoln there was finally builded a great nation upon the broad foundation of universal white male suffrage. Here came, with the nineteenth century, the realization of the democratic visions of twenty-five hundred years. Here our American vanguard of democracy, at last, placed the banner of its hope and its triumph upon the topmost pinnacle.

Sometimes we refer to these pioneer Americans as "common people." In fact they were most uncommon. The wilderness[Pg 167] environment made them deeply spiritual, even mystical. In men like Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln their basic qualities, however crude the outward aspect, took on the forms of genius. The mind and the spirit of this individualistic American is seen in everything he was and did. He built his solitary house, hidden among the trees, upon his own land. In physical form and manner he came to resemble the native Indian quite as much as the European. He grew to be slender, "rangey," keen of eye, and ready of hand—a "Jack of all trades." This type to-day can not possibly live in American cities as it is unless it keeps one foot in the country.

As to unlovely qualities, we Americans have no doubt been richly endowed. The frontiersman farmer readily enough fights his neighbor with fists or firearms. The laws we make for ourselves we often find too irksome to obey. We are careless, often inefficient, and most wasteful of our national resources. Recently we have been led far[Pg 168] astray by the deceitfulness of riches. Finally we are apt to become blind to the quieter graces and refinements of life. In certain sections an original austerity gives way these days to pleasures that do not really please anybody. Having conquered a continent with such tumult and shouting, we have not yet learned how to live sanely or even safely. The finer values of life easily elude us, even when we try to seek them out. Yet, are we entirely in error when we claim that we, as a people, have had something valuable placed in our keeping by our history and evolution? Are we not worth preserving in the world? We know that we are. Even in the moments marked by failure and humility we can not lose our national pride and sense of worth.

Assuredly, we Americans are a peculiar people. The conditions of our European origin gave us a careful selection of personal qualities. Our remarkable environment has upbuilded us. Infinite possibilities have been opened up to us through the extent and[Pg 169] resources of our country. We have lacked nothing needful to a great destiny. Our future has seemed so certain that we have never permitted it to be questioned. So have we been prepared to become the ancestors of a glorious and ever unfolding race. And now, within the short span of half a dozen years, we are given over to every terrible doubt and misgiving. Ours has been, were we but so minded, the wonderful privilege of continuing to select the ancestors of America's future. We have shamelessly neglected this privilege which is, indeed, the most sacred of duties. The ancestors of America's future sons and daughters have been recently drawn, in large part, from the most stolid peasantry and denizens of the slums of Europe and Asia, simply because these sell themselves cheapest in the labor markets of the world. So we are self-accursed. History may unfold every page of her story and discover nowhere a profounder reason than this for damning a great nation to destruction.

[Pg 170]

Our peculiar Nordic civilization, the creation, par excellence, of the whitest of the white European races, has found but one primary field for its larger expansion. That field is North America. Both South America and Africa lie too much within the tropics to make of them the home of our race. The Southern extremity of South America, including Argentina and Chile, possesses a soil and climate comparable to our own in the Northern and border states. But the incoming Mediterranean people are giving this temperate area the aspect of a subtropical civilization.

The larger portions of both tropical South America and all of Africa will no doubt be kept for or won for the darker peoples. The white population of South Africa is now less than twenty per cent of the whole. Australia, too, is largely tropical. Within the greater portion of her territory the Nordic white man can hardly conserve, through centuries, his distinctive physical and spiritual qualities. Our North American continent was destined by history to be the[Pg 171] greater Nordic Europe. Here our stalwart race has been offered a gigantic area for its expansion—a suitable field upon which to play its mighty part in all the future. Indeed, this marvelous home is suited by nature to meet our reasonable needs for many thousands of years. An intelligent population policy might have permitted us to welcome from Northern Europe a considerable number of immigrants throughout the twentieth century.

Restricted to Europe and a few outlying insular colonies, our race will, at an early date, cut but a sorry figure beside the populations of the colored peoples on the one hand, and the undeveloped white peoples on the other. The British Empire is to-day more than three-fourths colored. The World War has only hastened the sinking of the hopes of the European. The "natural" tendency in racial evolution is always for the races with the more developed standards of life and culture to be dragged down and engulfed by the surrounding world of less[Pg 172] developed peoples. A high standard of living with leisure among the masses must be jealously preserved from competition or it will become extinct in another generation. The most expensive thing in the world is a moral ideal. The most wasteful system of government is a democracy. But these things are worth the cost. We Americans have set out upon a great adventure in social life. We have made some valuable discoveries. Our spiritual possessions are numerous and valuable. We can not successfully give them to all the world by first letting the world take them away from ourselves. The "rising tide" of the colored peoples and the backward white peoples, their ultimate domination of the human process, to-day OVER-TOPS IN IMPORTANCE EVERY OTHER FACT IN THE WORLD.

We are throwing away North America as the home of our people and our civilization. Were we to open our gates to hostile armies and welcome the yoke of servitude[Pg 173] to a foreign autocracy, the results, in the end might be less tragic. In the Hawaii of to-day, with its white American element a small minority and rapidly becoming a fading remnant, we see the North America of to-morrow. Across the length and breadth of our Continent falls the darkening shadow.

[Pg 174]


Giantism—the National Disease of America

Giantism is a disease. In the human body it is caused when certain glands do not function properly. A child does not stop growing in the right way or at the right time. Perhaps the whole body, more often parts of the body, grow to enormous size. The head or the hands may become too large. The features are apt to be made ugly by frightful distortions. For any child to grow too fast is dangerous. For certain organs or features, or the whole body, to keep on growing when the time has come for them to retain normal size is in itself a sign of this terrible disease of—Giantism.

Economic and social giantism is the curse of the United States. Our larger cities have grown far beyond the bounds of national safety. New York, Chicago, and a dozen other large cities are monstrosities.[Pg 175] It will take a full generation, with no immigration at all, and the forces of reform fully mobilized, to bring them to correspond properly with the other parts of our country. Everywhere the disease works havoc. We crowd a few square miles with stupendous structures, leaving narrow chasms for streets. Each new building shuts the light and air away from many others. Then we pack ourselves into these buildings more like stifled vermin than human beings. Whereupon we go about the world boasting in a loud voice, as though we deserved praise for our achievement.

Giantism is found in every form of our national activity. We measure the greatness of a university by the size and number of its buildings, or by the millions of money which constitute its endowment. The richest among us in money figure most in the newspapers, which proves that they are considered by the public to be the most important. An author is held in esteem in proportion to the number of copies of his[Pg 176] books which are sold. Works of art prove interesting because they bring fabulous prices on the market. At every census the inhabitants of our cities and states wait with bated breath to discover whether or not they have increased in numbers more than their neighbors.

Giantism everywhere. To boast of the greatest city as the city with the most people is like boasting of an enormous scrofulous swelling. We even boast of the height of mountains, the size of lakes, or the length of rivers, as though we had created them all. One state cries out that it is the first in the production of hogs, another that it slaughters more wild animals and peddles more furs than any other. Often there are not nearly enough houses to shelter the people of a "great" city; many of the students of a "great" university may leave as ignorant as they came, and weaker in mind and morals. The colossal battleships we build are used as targets before the sound of our boasting has died away. Our piled[Pg 177] up statistics of "progress" mostly prove our degeneracy.


The Fiery Cross on the Mountain Top.

All this seems to escape the accredited leaders and teachers of the people. The tendency shows in us as individuals. A large proportion of our people are cursed by overeating, lack of exercise and overweight. Meanwhile the unemployed may starve. Everywhere that old and absolutely sound principle of "plain living and high thinking" is surrendered for the exact opposite. In all our great cities we build palatial private residences which are more fit for cold storage houses than for human habitations. A woman pays fifty thousand dollars for a fur wrap weighing two pounds. If the most abominable whiskey at ten dollars a quart did not find plenty of purchasers, the price would be falling instead of rising. Behold the size, weight and contents of our Sunday newspapers! They need no further describing here. A popular magazine recently contained eighty-two pages of advertising, and less than twenty[Pg 178] pages of reading matter. In whole sections of our cities natural human affection is lavished on expensive dogs. In other sections the swarming children of the poor lack food, shelter, clothing, affectionate care and education. Meanwhile we boast of both the number of children and the value of the dogs. Fatty degeneration of the heart is one symptom of giantism.

If we continue in the way we are going, our future national self can be easily enough pictured. Any amateur mathematician can plot the curve of our "progress." Our wealth to-day totals two hundred and fifty billions. Pretty soon we shall be worth a full trillion. The last census of New York gives its population as 5,620,000. Of this total a single Brooklyn insane asylum contains four thousand. Several of our states spend as much of their taxes to care for the insane as to educate their young. Let us have pencil and paper and calculate how many will be shut up in lunatic asylums or homes for other defectives, and what will[Pg 179] be the cost of their keep, when we number three hundred millions of people. If we bring all the underfed masses, all the beggars and peddlers and criminals from every country in the world, and thrust them into our over-populated cities to prey upon us, then, assuredly, we shall have soon enough more inhabitants than China or India. Some of our private dwellings now cost as high as eight millions each and the windows are boarded up because the owners live in Europe. According to our present standards that, too, may be taken as an indication of our "progress" and "greatness."

Of course the masses of the factory and office population, and most of the idle rich, are physical weaklings. They get no adequate exercise. They breathe no clean air. In some of our southern states the curse of degenerating factory labor for young children is still permitted by law. But whether enslaved in factory, idle upon the streets, or shut up in a crowded apartment the child of the city has no fair chance to[Pg 180] grow. Always the thought—this mass of weaklings is fit only to be the subject of a more or less absolute monarch. They can not be citizens in a republic that is a reality. Any strong, healthy, normal American farmer turns from looking upon these city types, hopeless for his country. Our cities are not built to live in. They are built to get rich in. Jefferson was right. Unless they are reformed they will destroy both democracy and civilization. Somehow we must spread our cities out in the air and sun upon the countryside.

The old America of our fathers is everywhere fading from sight. The new America is full upon us. And that new America is rapidly becoming a stench in the nostrils of the decent and intelligent minority. We Americans must change our ways. We need a great revival—a revival of common sense and healthy-mindedness. Our national life is starving for the want of fine, thoughtful, educated, young persons with the courage to wish themselves poor.[Pg 181] Our whole national life must change its direction. We are not going ahead. We are going backward. Instead of seeking to find, through our wealth, a richness of mind and heart, we crave yet more bigness and fatness in things purely physical. We seek our brother's purse strings instead of the affection of his heart. We are holding fast to lies instead of the truth. All this abnormal, distorted growth is making us ugly and disgusting in almost every feature. In us the better America will soon be hardly recognizable.

Never before have we so much needed the stalwart teaching of those who have led us in our greater past. These still speak to us if we would but listen. Benjamin Franklin still says on every page of "Poor Richard's Almanac" that "We are giving too much for our whistle," and that an old coat is often more to be desired than a new one. The tall Thomas Jefferson still rises above the petty minds about us to say that it were better that we had a nation com[Pg 182]posed of two persons, a man and a woman, who were truly free, than a nation with millions enslaved. The calm voice of Robert E. Lee urges upon our hearts that he who does his duty with all the strength he has may well leave even the matter of victory or defeat to Almighty God. During these later years, the entire nation has claimed to do honor to the name of Abraham Lincoln, even while we forget everything he stood for, by word and deed, when he was among the living. He is much honored for making the black man free. We have forgotten that great speech of his in which he declared that the white man's freedom should be forever guaranteed by free soil as a national institution. One Robert E. Lee or Abraham Lincoln is worth a great city full of crowding and scheming neurotics, treading upon one another's toes, always trading in their eternal souls for a chance to get rich and then mostly losing out and dying in misery and poverty.

Present-day America is unworthy of the mighty voices which have, in the past, led[Pg 183] her and called her to the leadership of the world. Those voices spoke to us when we were weak, unformed and poor, yet so rich in thought and in the impelling forces of our national soul.

[Pg 184]



Our country is not lacking in incurable optimists, more commonly known as fools. Do we not always hear, they repeat, the cry of "Wolf, wolf" by night, and do we not always wake up in the morning quite safe and sound? I maintain that these poor words of mine are no mere warning of the wolf. Yesterday he was in close pursuit. To-day his jaws are closing upon our flesh. This outcry wrung from pain and fear is due to no imaginary ills.

We are drifting on every hand. The stupendous national problems which beset our country internally can not be counted off on the fingers of both hands. The exploitation of our farmers is leaving our countryside, the cradle of our national character and well-being, depleted of population. The Great War is over, but high prices largely remain. We have not even[Pg 185] approached a solution of the problem of both safeguarding and properly controlling the nation's greater industries. Labor strikes take on the nature of social revolutions. The advocacy of Bolshevism arouses mighty crowds to wild enthusiasm. The children of the rich and poor alike grow up without proper normal training, not to speak of spiritual vision. With millions of people lacking houses to live in, we find ourselves with millions of people unemployed. The problem of the Negro is no nearer permanent solution than it was forty years ago. I might go on adding to this list indefinitely.

Throughout the length and breadth of the land our political life draws ever weaker character and poorer mind to political leadership. Strength, purposefulness and astuteness, when united together, are used mostly to win riches. The weaker brethren are more and more being drawn into the public service, into the pulpit and into the profession of teaching. If we really wanted, as[Pg 186] in the past, our first-class men to preach to us, to teach us, and to direct our government, we could easily enough secure their services.

A century ago our national problems were exceedingly simple. Their full meaning and purport could be quickly explained and grasped. To-day our economic and social problems are infinitely complex. Keeping the trains running between New York and San Francisco in the year 1921 is a vastly different piece of business than keeping the stage coaches running between New York and Boston in 1787. But the average of intelligence and character in both our state legislatures and in Congress is far lower than it was in 1787. If any be disposed to deny this, let him make a comparison between the debates of the Federal Convention of 1787 and the debates of our Federal Congress or the average state legislature of to-day. Our political mind, in so far as we have any, is still living on the contributions of our national past. The last quarter of[Pg 187] the century, especially, has registered failure with reference to almost every internal national problem presented by our time.

Reflect, for a moment, upon the present colossal issues of municipal government. A hundred thousand, a million, or five millions of persons are forced, for better or for worse, for good or for evil, to live together. In the recent municipal elections, the great city of New York continued the domination of Tammany Hall, by a vote of more than two to one. The people of Buffalo elected a mayor who received a majority of votes because he promised upon election to throw the Eighteenth Amendment of the Federal Constitution into the waste basket. Youngstown, Ohio, and Indianapolis, Indiana, elected "freak" mayors, ignorant and inexperienced, whose campaigns for office both they and those who heard them treated as huge practical jokes. The great city of Cleveland, Ohio, containing nearly a million inhabitants, elected as mayor a man who was expelled from the[Pg 188] position of Chief of Police because of proved irregularities and unfitness to hold office. In the midst of our war with Germany, Chicago re-elected as mayor a man who, throughout the war, was an outspoken enemy of his country. In the outright venality of every sort, the government of the city of Chicago, I am informed, exceeds any in the country, even New York. Through the South we have not been able to secure since the War Between the States, as a general thing, that fine type of political leader who did such honor to our section in the earlier period. Our country is not receiving from the South that contribution of leadership which history might lead us to expect. The industrial North and East should naturally lead the nation in the solution of the peculiar problems of industrialism. Its remnant of American population readily admit their utter failure. We of the South can offer no help.

A full generation of so-called reforms have ended largely in failure. Even seats[Pg 189] in the United States Senate now go to the highest bidder like old furniture at an auction sale. The minority which is decent, honest, and informed, is giving up the fight. The ballot in the hands of ignorant and untrained immigrants, of Negroes, and of illiterate native whites, has proven to be a terrible flare-back, burning our hope of progress to ashes. Again force the ballot upon the southern Negro and we of the South will outdo the North in political failure and decay.

Our greater internal public problems, only a few of which I have enumerated at the beginning of this article, will ever grow more complex in character, more threatening in aspect. Who can expect men with neither work nor property to take an idealistic attitude toward our government and the public service? Their vote must express their meanest immediate interests. He who stands in the bread line votes for sugar in his coffee and a bigger slice of bread. Every unemployed man is a pros[Pg 190]pective Bolshevist. Every illiterate man who votes inevitably supports bossism and graft rule. With such an electorate how can we move safely and intelligently into the uncharted and terrifying future? Soon we must rule the great industrial organizations by law, or they will rule us ignoring the law. Meanwhile the efficiency of the individual wage-worker is decreasing. His joy in his work becomes less and less. His loyalty to his task has almost struck the zero point. Ignore the problem of the white small farming class yet a little longer, and we shall be driven into farming on a great scale, with armies of stolid peasants doing the work. We already have agricultural communities where a score or a hundred small farms have recently been joined together in one estate. What a sign post of our times to see the old farm house made to serve as the dwellings for the immigrant serfs who till the land! So "Wealth accumulates and men decay." It is with a shudder that any patriot foresees the time when the countryside, like the city, shall have lost its free, independent[Pg 191] population. In our South this small, free, white farming class requires special consideration. The danger of its submergence and total loss here is greater than in any other part of the country.

As an American, ardent alike for Americanism and the Americanization of our foreign born, I have often enough been accused of narrowness. I saw others burning with enthusiasm over the hope of the League of Nations, but I felt my own heart chilled by the sense of the shortcomings of my own country. With the majority I was hesitant. The map of the world to-day, in all its parts, strikes suffering into the heart that feels. The blood lines in every direction indicate that the world as a whole is drifting from failure unto failure. Europe is struggling helplessly in the midst of storm and crying piteously for help which never comes. With the German financial system broken down, France, denied the reparation she expected, is immersed in gloomy despair. The smaller nations East and Southeast of Germany are collapsing,[Pg 192] if not already fallen down, starving and diseased; their peoples are becoming every day more helpless and hopeless. Italy, wasted by the war, is now in the throes of civil strife and revolution. Russia, the first white nation of the world, continues to rot in her insane orgies. With the passing months and years hope for the early salvation of Russia no longer deceives us. The battle lines of the Greek army, facing the Turks in Asia Minor, are awaiting reinforcements and supplies in order to resume the offensive. The four hundred millions of China, torn from without for a generation, lacerated by revolution and civil wars for ten years, have merely proven to us their incapacity for self-help. India is in revolution and Egypt cut adrift. All the world is more decadent to-day than when America entered the war. Again and again the nations come to us begging for the strong arm of leadership. Again and again they go from us, broken hearted and bowed down by the weak words of our indecision and failure. Yet again they come because elsewhere there is no help to ask.


The Imperial Wizard Kneeling and Kissing the Flag, the only Flag to which a Klansman Kneels.

[Pg 193]

Such is the world which our times have given so largely into our keeping. This world demands a leadership such as gave our country unity under the Constitution of 1787. The giants of those days—a full dozen strong, loom large over the succeeding generations, and like Titans of old, their deeds illuminate our whole history. Much accursed as we are to-day by petty minds and selfish hearts in high places, we read the history of our heroic period with deepest yearning that the mighty dead might rise up and speak to us the living words we need to hear. We feel so helpless, so lost, and gone astray. What mind and character we may still have has ceased to function normally. From now on we may expect a steady drift toward monarchy. In a decadent republic monarchicalism is a natural growth. First comes a great class of the rich on the one hand and a great class of poor on the other. Both tend, because of their conditions, toward corruption. Both corrupt the state. The one will barter the ten commandments to keep what it has;[Pg 194] the other to get what it wants. For a time the proletariat is oppressed with free corn and the circus, with organized charities, baseball and the movies. No republic can long endure on that regimen. Gold has already paved the way that leads to the United States Senate. All that is needed is more gold and the way will be smoothly paved to the throne of Caesar or Belshazzar.

It has always seemed to me that our stupendous national sacrifices during the War Between the States have never been recovered. We lost a million of the sturdiest and best men who ever grew to manhood in the world. So did that generation lose a million homes. We have to-day, instead of the ten millions of their descendants, equally divided between the city and country, some twenty millions of unskilled foreign workers crowded into the cities alone. With the close of the War Between the States we ceased, in every section, to produce first class national leaders. To-day[Pg 195] Charles Murphy has replaced Alexander Hamilton. In Illinois, Lincoln the Great gives way to William Hale Thompson the Little. The passing of Woodrow Wilson from the public life leaves the South searching, perhaps in vain, for a leader to present to the service of the republic. Into our Southern political life, as into that of the North a generation ago, there is creeping the hireling of special interests. Only the ignorant can say that we have not fallen on times that are weak and evil and failing at every point.

So we drift—on and on; when to drift at all is to drift toward the abyss. With each setting sun we become less capable of doing well the great task assigned to us. We are deceived by the superficial results of mechanical progress. Hence we do not care to know that each waning summer marks a loss for us in all the fundamental determinants of blood, of character, of all the elemental forces. These basic elements of our peculiar civilization can be main[Pg 196]tained only through the most watchful care. A single careless deed done to-day by the nation and countless ages must pay an ever increasing price of failure and misery. Our English-speaking peoples are as a ship of democracy struggling in the sea of unfaith,—an ocean of the world's failure and despair. We are driven before a furious gale; great waves wash over our decks. We drug ourselves into believing the theory that somehow Divine Providence always has cared for, and always will care for, the children, the lunatics and the United States. Of course this theory is trash. The Almighty helps only those that help themselves.

You millions of the middle classes of America, living in comfortable ease—upon your conscience is the greater burden placed! Will you continue to fiddle while the common weal is in flames? The future throughout your country and the world will hold you responsible! "BE [Pg 197]. NOT DECEIVED, GOD IS NOT MOCKED. WHATSOEVER A MAN SOWETH, THAT ALSO SHALL HE REAP."

[Pg 198]


"The Federal Union—It Must Be Preserved"

The American government under God shall not perish from the earth.

In 1830 Andrew Jackson arose before a group of distinguished men assembled at a dinner in Washington and proposed the toast which forms the title of this chapter. It seems to me that this expression of the iron resolve of the old war-worn hero should be placed among those statements of our great leaders which have been as divine commands in the great crises which our country has experienced. Jackson loved the Union. In 1830 few people understood those peculiar underlying forces which were drawing the Union apart. It is evident to us now, after studying the history of the generation preceding the Civil War, that only a Union which exists in the minds and hearts of all its citizens can be an enduring entity. It may seem rather[Pg 199] trite to say again that national unity is based first of all upon an individual sentiment. Even during the War Between the States this love of the Union as an ideal never ceased to animate the people of the South. They sought merely to rebuild the Union on a different basis. After the surrender at Appomattox the South faithfully accepted the old Union under the changed conditions of its re-establishment. Since that time their loyalty to the Union, as it is, has never been questioned. All must now recognize that until the great differences which severed the Union had been finally settled, the Union itself could not be re-established.

If a nation is to exist at all, certain basic principles and forms of procedure must be generally accepted by all its citizens. As regards these essential things we cannot afford to differ at all and yet try to live side by side. In English-speaking countries, for instance, we must needs all accept and support the constitutional bill of rights. Without freedom of speech, of the press[Pg 200] and religious worship, to mention three of the more important guaranteed constitutional rights, any English-speaking country would very quickly find itself in the throes of revolution and civil war. We must agree, also, to be subject to the same general principles of morality. If a citizen argues, for instance, that the crimes of robbery and murder are sound and correct modes of political procedure, he thereby rejects his citizenship. We must all agree to live peaceably and lawfully under the same constitutional and legal system. Finally, to attain national unity and national peace we must not only accept, but unitedly support, with affection and enthusiasm, the prevailing system of law and social order. That great poet of democracy, Walt Whitman, expresses this thought so exquisitely:

"To hold men together by paper and seal, or by compulsion, is no account;

That only holds men together which aggregates all in a living principle, as the hold of the limbs of the body, or the fibres of plants."

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Our American people, if we are to be perfected in unity, must come to be a sort of family.

Differences of personality among individuals, differences of opinions among groups, differences which show themselves in a variety of religious beliefs and political policies, all these are not only natural but necessary to civilization and progress. Absolute unity in thought and action can be attained only among a tribe of savages. The political unity of an absolute monarchy is a leftover from savagery. Above all, these valuable and desirable differences show in all the interesting variations to be discovered in our cultural life. In the education of children these differences of personality should be not only tolerated but purposely developed. The growth of this quality of personality is one of the most precious results of our democratic civilization. Yet it can not be too much emphasized that all these differences must work themselves out and perform all their desir[Pg 202]able functions within the restricted bounds of a generally accepted law and custom. Otherwise nationality is impossible; and this is but another way of saying that human society is impossible.

Imagine a group of relatives and friends sitting down to break bread together. They differ in age, in appearance, in understanding, and in almost every purpose of life. Some will reject soup, and others fish. As the dinner proceeds sharp differences of opinion lend interest to the conversation. In our present day society any two members of this group may well belong to two different political parties and two different religious organizations. Yet if there is to be a true companionship in this place, how dominating must be the things that unify! This group, to get on well, must speak the same language and abide by the same established forms of social manners. In all the deepest things there must be the same regard for essentials, the same attitude toward life. In the mind of each, unity with all the others must be truly desired as a spiritual[Pg 203] attainment. How seldom do we pause to reflect upon how many such principles and forms are taken for granted, every day and all day, in ordinary business and social intercourse. If people are to live together happily they must not only tolerate one another. They must enjoy companionship, one with the other.

On the same soil you can not have, permanently, two systems of law. Two basic forms of moral conduct can not function side by side. If there are two groups of people in any society, one of which totally rejects the other, trouble is sure to come. Given two groups of people with such a gulf fixed between as is never crossed, for instance, by intermarriages, and it is time to hoist the danger signal. Civil strife lurks in the offing.

That generation of Americans which grew up under the shadow of the Civil War, and in the terrible period of Reconstruction, has had occasion to have burned in its in[Pg 204]most consciousness, as by intense religious conviction, this necessity of national unity. Such a complete sense of unity, such a practice of solidarity, I have visualized for my country. It is the disunity of the present which, with "Hope deferred, maketh the heart sick." About us on every hand are discordant voices, clashing interests, screaming recriminations and blazing hatreds. Our republic cannot continue unless we re-establish, and that very soon, a status of civil peace in the minds and hearts of all our people.

Everybody who reads the newspapers or talks with his neighbors knows that the conflict between labor and capital is drifting us into another civil war. We can already reach ahead in imagination and fix our eyes upon the dreadful moment when the forces of class revolution will raise their standards and move to the attack. Among thousands it is being openly advocated. Among great numbers of quieter citizens of all classes it is accepted as a sort of grim[Pg 205] necessity. Men seem always to be ready enough to fight. However, a sound national life can not be maintained by crushing down the masses, any more than freedom and progress can be secured for anybody through a Bolshevistic revolution. And how much more deadly is disunity between classes than between sections!

How difficult it is to make men so desirous of peace that they will consecrate their lives to secure its conditions! Are there none among us so devoted to our Union, so ardent in the cause of peace, that they are willing to rally around the principles which will make both peace and unity possible? I steadfastly maintain that, if properly led, a majority of Americans are willing to think and act in order to forestall anarchy and civil war. A vast majority of our farming people and middle classes are ready to demand, as Andrew Jackson demanded in 1830, that the nation do lawful justice to all. We who still constitute the solid body of the nation wish to urge upon the wage-[Pg 206]working people with all our hearts that America and Americanism can solve their great problem without rebellion and bloodshed. And we are just as ready to assure those who own and direct capital, even those who are so often hated because of their great riches, that no penny shall ever be taken away from them without due process of law. Surely a majority of us have not yet lost faith in the very foundations of our democratic union. The recent stupendous events in revolutionary Europe should cause every thoughtful American mind to re-examine most carefully the principles of our government and of our democracy. We stoutly maintain that these principles and the constitution based upon them furnish a peaceful means, even a brotherly means, for the solution of the labor problem. But if, under the dangerous conditions which impend, our Federal Union is to be preserved, our love for it must draw us ever closer together in its service. Every principle of the bill of rights must be steadfastly defended. Embittered hatreds and[Pg 207] suspicions must be allayed. The nation as a whole must be persuaded to take counsel in a quiet way. To those who shriek out upon us that "Might makes right," and that "Government is founded upon power and wealth alone," we must be able to reply that our Constitution and laws are still vitalized by the love of our American hearts, and by our willingness to sacrifice self for the sacred things of the Union. May we not still reply, also, that freedom is only curtailment of power—power to rule over others—and that true freedom can be experienced only in a nation whose citizens highly resolve to protect the freedom, the rights and interests of all.

Both plutocracy and Bolshevism are new forms of tyranny. Neither have, as yet, run their course. None can refuse to take note that during the last decade some of our rich, as for instance, Mr. Henry Ford, have begun to learn the lesson of the stewardship of wealth. With what pride and pleasure we have observed, too, that[Pg 208] organized labor in America has rejected Bolshevism and declared ardently and almost unanimously for purely democratic methods of action. It is not among the twenty per cent who are organized; it is among the eighty per cent of our workers who have not the capacity to organize, or who are denied the right to organize, that Bolshevism is raising its ugly head and weaning the workers away from democracy and from the love and service of their country. If our Union is to be preserved in our day, it must win a new hold upon the affections of this vast number of our people, native-born and foreign alike. Among them all its interests must be made the subject of constant thought and conversation. All must learn that no man who hates his neighbor can sit down in peace under his own vine and fig tree. So, to this, our altar of unity, we who labor for social peace must bring in absolute sacrifice the work of our hands and all the cultural results of our civilization. Only thus shall we be enabled to lead the warring classes back to Ameri[Pg 209]canism. The Union, if it is to be preserved from social disintegration, must be established upon character as well as upon a common material interest.


Consecration to the Flag

The time has fully come for all Americans to reason together and finally think this thing through. Who among us can say that he knows exactly what to do? But this we all can say: That if our people approach this whole matter in the attitude of affection, one for the other, if we consider this issue as ardent patriots and sincere Christians, then we are sure to discover, presently, the straight way in which all can walk together in unity and fellowship.

The Ku Klux Klan is composed, I trust, of men who will face this crucial issue with relentless firmness. We shall say to Americans of all classes who now prepare their minds for civil war that they must and shall make peace. We do not propose, as the years pass, to wait and wait and drift and drift. Let none mistake our purpose.[Pg 210] Civil war is the most terrible curse a nation can suffer. We do not propose to look idly upon the mischief of others until it rages all about us. We shall prevent war by planning for peace, by preparing for peace, and by knowing in our inmost hearts that peace can be maintained. The way to the peace we demand lies through justice, righteousness and affection. "The Federal Union, it must be preserved."

National unity, as we here understand it, is more than a means to an end. National unity is an ever enlarging result. It is the loftier and worthier goal. In the full joy of its realization the individual soul is enriched and finally saved. Thus is patriotism made to share in the spiritual values of religion. So the individual losing self, shall again find himself in the service of his fellowmen.

Looking back beyond the temporary issues of the War Between the States we can see, rising in clear outline against the times in which he lived, the tall spare form[Pg 211] of "Old Hickory." There rung through his brave utterance both resolution of will and high purpose of policy. So were his faith and his hope maintained. To-day, amid the clamor and disunity of our times, his memory again urges upon the troubled hearts of our people this great word of a day that is done, that it may again be made flesh and dwell among us.

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Our Country's Part Among the Nations

Preceding chapters have indicated our present national unfitness in so many things concerning our domestic public life. Yet, until recently, we were enabled to concentrate what public mind and spirit we had upon such problems as arose among ourselves from the conditions of our internal growth. Now, being weak, hesitant, and our wills quite unformed, we are suddenly hurled into the very center of the international whirlpool. In the preparation for and in the execution of our part in the Great War, we were, no doubt, quite magnificent. But no one ever doubted our ability to fight. It is in the execution of the greater tasks of peace that we falter and fail.

With the close of the war there was presented to us, in the urge to world leadership, the most difficult and dangerous prob[Pg 213]lem of all. Here, again, we were offered no alternative. We must go. We must help to "settle order once again." We drew back from Paris, only to reassemble the nations at Washington.

Two opposite opinions have settled in the minds of the majority of Americans with reference to the subject matter of this chapter. One would have us move far out and lose ourselves in a mad mixing world. The other would withdraw us from the world utterly and hide us like a "hermit crab" in any rotting shell we find. I shall here show that one of these policies is impossible to execute. I shall prove, also, that the other, if fully carried out, would destroy us as a people. Between the two, surely, there lies a way in which our ship may move more safely towards its appointed haven.

Changed international relationships are largely the result of new forces, physical forces, in the economic and social life of the[Pg 214] world. These forces were drawing and pushing all the nations of the world very close together. The first wireless message has only recently been sent entirely around the world. Commercial aviation, already widely in vogue upon land, will presently span the Atlantic and then the Pacific. The commercial and financial dependence of each modernized country upon the other is too commonly realized to need much emphasis here. If Europe does not buy cotton, the Oklahoma farmer can not pay his taxes or his grocery bill. If the Germans can not borrow money in New York and London, they can not buy raw material to work upon; hence, France, Belgium and Italy, getting no reparations, will not be able to pay their American creditors. So runs the system into every counting house, factory and cow stable of the civilized world. Railway lines now penetrate the deserts of Asia and the jungles of Africa. Everywhere the half-naked savage is trained to work at strangely modern tasks. So is[Pg 215] his labor interwoven by the machine process into our gigantic fabric of international industrialism. All the world unites because it is impossible to any longer stay divided. He who does not understand these things of the world's work can not begin to think intelligently concerning international relationship.

Our large American part in the life of the world is, and is to be, determined by a number of factors. These include our wealth, our comparative numbers, our national state of mind, and the place we hold in the opinions of other peoples. We are seven per cent of the world's population and sixteen per cent of the world's white population. At the table of the great International Disarmament Conference at Washington we sat with Britain, France, Italy, and Japan. Our wealth is probably greater than that of all these combined, including the white colonies of the British Empire. In power to make war we undoubtedly stand alone. These ele[Pg 216]ments of physical greatness indicate our natural part in the reorganization of the shattered world. We can not leave the world to its ways and build a Chinese wall around America; nor would we if we could. No wonder our old-fashioned American citizen was deeply worried in the year of 1920. "Whither," he asked, and "how far are we going?" So he decided to pause and wait awhile. Deep within the national mind was the terrible knowledge that, with our feet entering strange and devious ways, our lamp was untrimmed.

We cannot accept an internationalism that would compromise the immigration issue either in the East or West. We can not serve Japan by permitting her to annex California as she has already annexed Hawaii. We can not save the world by seeking first our own dissolution. An international market for money and goods is one thing. A free international market for wage-laborers is quite another. If we are to undertake our international task, we[Pg 217] must ever more jealously guard the strength which is ours by inheritance. Let us cleave even more firmly to those things of mind and character that have created us a nation. As a unified and democratic people, as a successful, happy and educated people, we can no doubt play a leading part in organizing the world for better things. All the world cries out for this leadership of America. But we are as yet unfit to lead. The nations, which are sinking, stretch out their hands to lay hold of ours, but we ourselves are falling into the pit. One who reaches down his hand to rescue a man falling into Niagara's current must first be sure of his own footing. If we are to save others we must begin by first saving ourselves. It is impossible to resist the influences that make for internationalism. But it is possible, it is absolutely necessary, to save and make perfect our nationalism upon which any useful internationalism must be based. To speak of internationalism as taking the place of nationalism is to deny the very meaning of the word from the[Pg 218] start. The separate nation, in its world relationships, may be compared to a separate home in a community. The citizen joins with his neighbors to construct a road, to build a village school, to maintain a police and fire service. But the community effort is not undertaken for the purpose of dissolving and destroying the home. Just the contrary. The community protects and serves the home. It accomplishes what the single can not undertake.

Eventually there will come, if we learn to lead, a great world community. It will come slowly, growing through the centuries. Our own country, ever more positive of her individuality, of the deeper things of her own personality, of the true worth of her inmost soul, and with a realizing sense of the value she can so contribute, may yet aspire to the privilege and the honor of that world leadership which will make for the peace, unity and well-being of all.

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We English-Speaking People Must Stand Together

Here, too, a choice is not permitted us. The desperate condition of the world is forcing our minds and hearts. The demand is given to us who speak English: "CO-OPERATE, OR PERISH WITH A PERISHING WORLD."

This broken world can not be put upon the path of peace and prosperity without the most careful and courageous leadership. Modern industrial and commercial conditions, in a word, the machine process, has thrown all the nations of the world together. If we can not separate ourselves from the other nations, if all the world must eventually march in the same direction, the only practical question relates to the direction of the march. Are we to be saved together, or are we going to fall together into the pit of a new sequence of the Dark Ages?[Pg 220] The great masses of the colored races, mostly unfitted for self rule, must be protected, civilized, educated, and led onward and upward toward the best that they can do. On the other hand lies the dread alternative of a military imperium which might eventually organize the whole of China and India. If we do not organize the world for peace, it is not impossible to conceive that twenty-five years of astute propaganda might win all these seven hundred and fifty millions to the militaristic leadership of Japan. A great Indian nationalist leader recently said that no one fact had so aroused and encouraged the spirit of India as the present brilliant role of the Japanese nation. Such a pan-Asiatic movement might very likely draw Russia, Germany and several other European nations into a new and terrible alliance. The poor and the dejected always seem to find cause enough to pick a quarrel with the rich and the powerful. I repeat, if the English-speaking people will not undertake together the task of giving ordered progress and freedom to[Pg 221] the world, upon what nation or nations is the duty to devolve? We have rejected, rightly or wrongly, the League of Nations. What next?

In this connection the happy solution of the age-worn Irish question makes straight the way. While the Irish in the home-land were in rebellion against Britain, the political waters of every English-speaking country in the world were made muddy. Peace in Ireland makes our task of co-partnership with the British Empire easier and simpler. Indeed, directly after the signatures were attached to the British treaty of peace with Ireland, a distinguished Irish leader remarked that he hoped to see America cooperate with all the other English-speaking people who are united through the British Empire.

Let us glance briefly at some essential conclusions to which the reduction of naval armaments inevitably leads. The American and the British navies are to be made[Pg 222] about equal. In ten years time an almost perfect equality will be secured. These two navies, taken together, will of course dominate the seven oceans. The only naval power which will remotely compare to either is that of Japan. Because of our wealth and population, also because of our industries, production and commerce, the United States and the British will have no immediate rivals. Together, we can declare the world's peace. Together, we can give the world a decent measure of order. We include, of course, the practically independent and rapidly growing nations of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. It will be readily seen how much greater is our power, a united power, for good than any other possible combination of nations in the world. Here, tossed about in a sea of color, lies the white man's hope. Here, too, is large hope for all the world. Under the world peace we can establish the forces that make for international justice which will at last be given a chance to function; while under the threat of war every sort[Pg 223] of inhuman and barbaric force will win its way. Given an assured peace and better minds and gentler hearts among our English-speaking people will never be silenced. They will triumph in our own countries first. They will save the world as a matter of course. On the other hand, world anarchy and world war will always submerge every liberal voice and every progressive policy among all nations, ourselves included.

We need no formal alliance with the British to bring these things to pass. The alliance of the American with the British people is formed by all the qualities we have in common. These are already more powerful than any document. The theory that competition for the world's trade makes co-partnership in everything and anything impossible for us is a piece of ignorant nonsense. All our better humanity is crying out the command that trade keep to its rightful place in human affairs. If this Anglo-American understanding could have been possible ten[Pg 224] years ago there would have been no World War. At that time we in America were not ready for co-operation. If we are not entirely ready for it to-day, then under the Providence of Almighty God, and being responsible to Him alone, those of us who see the light must make all ready for it.

With every forward step we try to take toward the peace and the salvation of the world, we shall find, at first, blocking our way and attempting to push us back, our great foreign cities. The war, in so far as we Americans ourselves are concerned, has not liberated us from this tyranny of the foreign vote. It is, in large part, still mobilized on the wrong side of almost every public question we can think of. However, we may now expect this influence to slowly give way to better knowledge and wiser counsels. With the Irish question finally settled, our Irish fellow-citizens here will have no further occasion to oppose the British at every step. Our German voters, too, may soon come to[Pg 225] learn that Germany cannot be saved if the world be lost. If we American-born citizens can only attain sufficient unity to once for all ignore the foreign vote, and rule ourselves intelligently, we shall soon discover that vote has ceased to be a danger. But it will not cease to curse America for fifty years if it is not met with the firmness of a united American will. Let us draw a line about the foreign sections and about the hyphenated votes, and declare our absolute independence of them. During the war this foreign vote was silenced and nullified. So it will be again as soon as we speak our national mind with certainty of purpose.


Illustration: God is our Refuge and Strength

In perfect harmony with the British people, we are now seeking and securing naval disarmament. Having limited and equalized our power for defense, it is absolutely essential that we stand together to prevent the building, among possible enemies, of dangerous armaments on sea or land. No doubt Japan will, from this time[Pg 226] on, carefully heed the united demand of our two English-speaking peoples. The first imperative duty that we must accomplish together concerns the protection of China from the lusts of the exploiter. The independence of the Chinese nation must be guaranteed. Her unity must be re-established. Her resources must be protected from the greedy ones among our own citizens who would take from the Chinese people the resources they so much need for their future. To-day China can not protect herself. It is incumbent upon us to afford her the fullest measure of protection. The gratitude and esteem our children will receive from the Chinese nation will be in the future the strongest and surest of all the guarantees of world peace.

We in America are as much interested in the care and progress of the African peoples as are the British. Why should we not share in this responsibility? What a boon to the future of those backward[Pg 227] black people of Africa, should they find themselves more largely united through the more general teaching of the English language! More and more will such of our American Negroes as are unhappy here, find a place of refuge in their native land of Africa. We should be serving the highest purposes in a number of ways were we to purchase the Congo Free State from Belgium and the Portuguese colonies in the Southern part of the continent. Side by side with the British Empire we could help in administering the affairs of those barbaric peoples in their own interest. The third international plague spot is the Near East. With the heavy tyranny of the Sultan removed, the conglomeration of broken and unhappy peoples who composed his subject population have been freed. To-day they fight and fester like vermin stifled and starving in a dark place. It seemed to many Americans that, after the war, supervision of these Christian peoples was our particular duty.

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Why should we, speaking the language of the mighty dead, who gave command in the English tongue, be so fearful of sharing each other's purposes and each other's tasks? We are what we are; and it so happens that we are forced by circumstances to guide the world. Let us lead wisely and well, winning for our children gratitude and esteem. Let us have done with all this sickening pose of Pecksniff and Uriah Heap, and do the great deeds to which our times call us as Cromwell and Washington would have done!

We need world vision to-day. "Without vision the people perish." But we need more than vision. We require great, practical, general policies of world reorganization; and the veritable cornerstone of that policy is this mighty English-speaking co-partnership. This saving fellowship we Klansmen propose to advance by every means in our power. The common language through which the whole world must ultimately find communion is the[Pg 229] English language. This is evident to anybody who even casually surveys the linguistic map of the world. North America, India, Australia, more than half of Africa—such is the future empire of Shakespeare and Milton and Lowell and Poe. Beside all the various national languages and local dialects, our language will be used as a means of universal conversation. So shall our every word, for good or for ill, be a word spoken in authority to the whole world.

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The Nemesis of Immigration

Our American civilization has received during these three hundred years two crushing blows. So staggering have been these onslaughts that it is still doubtful whether or not we can recover and go on as a democratic people. On both occasions the blows have come primarily from a relatively small group of profiteers. During the first two hundred years of our history the African slave traders of old England and New England traded their vile cargoes of rum for the black man, and sold him throughout the Americas. So they accursed half our country with slavery. To-day their deeds remain in the form of a large population of black people, which, like a millstone about its neck, still drags upon every natural aspiration of the Southland.

The desire for cheap labor was not fully satiated through the importation of the[Pg 231] African slave. The coming of modern industrialism gave it a new turn. Our American system of industrialism has been based, from the first, largely upon a European system of labor. Without the slightest question as to their unfitness to take part in our social life, or our political democracy, without thought of anything in the world but securing much labor for little money, our employing classes have, until very recently, persuaded the nation to give them a free hand in their immigration policy. What the importation of the black man did to the South in accursing our history for centuries, immigration has done and is still doing to the industrial districts of the North and West. Having advanced far beyond Europe in the development of a democratic civilization, we have now again, deliberately, turned back upon our past and prevented the social, intellectual and political progress of our country by instituting the conditions of a degrading poverty, illiteracy, overcrowding, slums, and mediaeval religious worship. The gang rule and the[Pg 232] boss rule of our cities are simply a return to monarchical forms without the decencies of government and the refinements of society which an hereditary monarch provides. All this we have gotten together with the riches we so much craved. We have amassed our wealth only to realize, perhaps too late, that our very food and drink are ashes and vinegar.

There have come into America during the last fifty years great hordes of immigrants. The tide reached its height in the fiscal year ending June 30, 1914, when it totalled 1,320,000. From Europe there came during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1921, 805,000. With our cities swarming with millions of unemployed, congress was impelled at the end of the last fiscal year to pass the three per cent law. This law permits, annually, immigrants to come from each European nation to the extent of three per cent of their peoples already here in 1910. That is, if 100,000 Rumanians were settled among us in 1910, 3,000 a year[Pg 233] are now permitted to come. This law is difficult to enforce. Within an hour I have read in the day's news that 1,100 immigrants, mostly from Hungary and Armenia, brought over by the greedy shipping companies in excess of the three per cent quota of those nations, are to be admitted. This is done as a Christmas gift to these unfortunate people. Once arrived at our ports, who can have the heart to return these unfortunates to Europe. No doubt this act of charity will be repeated again and again.

If we permit this three per cent law to be continued during a time of economic stress and unemployment, we may expect the profiteers, and cheap labor advocates generally, to come upon us with their demand of unrestricted immigration as soon as times are better and workers are more in demand. Of course, as might be expected, these foreign born already here are most zealous in their advocacy of unrestricted immigration. In the first place they wish to bring over their relatives and friends. Then, too,[Pg 234] the foreign born wrongly interprets all opposition to unlimited immigration as being a base imputation against his particular people. The thoughtless and unpatriotic appeal of all these groups is usually made upon the basis of a sentimentalism. "Is America not the haven of refuge for the oppressed?" they ask. In the same manner was the trade in African Negroes defended three hundred years ago. The blacks were being brought over, it was said, "in order to Christianize them." If half of them died on the way and were thrown overboard to feed the sharks, as often happened, still our intentions were said to be Christian. This sickly, and ofttimes affected, sentimentalism is one of the most disgusting features of both the criminal profiteering of the few, and of the criminal carelessness of the many among our people.

Reflect for a moment upon the fact that there are at least one hundred millions of poor in Europe, who would come to America now if they could. They await only ship[Pg 235] space and money to pay for their passage. To bring over one million this year is always to prepare the way for two millions next year. Each incoming crowd soon invites and pays the way for a greater host of relatives and friends.

This importation of the poor and destitute does not much benefit European countries, if indeed it helps them at all. A country, which, like Italy or Belgium, is primarily industrial in character, has long since reached its limit of population. Remove a million Belgians or a million Italians to America, and their places are at once refilled by a million more births at home. Hence the creation of Italian or Belgian slums in Boston, Pittsburgh and Chicago does not ultimately decrease the size of the slums in Brussels or Naples. Nor does the overflowing tide help the home country where, as from Poland or Hungary, the emigrants are largely peasants. The land of Poland and Hungary is held in large estates. Every peasant who deserts the[Pg 236] soil of Europe to fester in our cities merely postpones the change in the land system which denies him opportunity in his own country. Furthermore, in Poland, Hungary, Rumania, etc., this peasant is now needed more than ever before to raise food crops. He leaves his country because conditions are bad. These evil conditions are due, in part, to the aftermath of war. But this is only secondary. The primary cause of poverty among the peasants of Southern and Eastern Europe has been large holdings of land and conditions of practical serfdom, but, above all, primitive and backward means of production. Instead of plowing his land with a plow, this backward peasant turns it up with a hoe three times the weight and with only half the cutting edge of an American garden hoe. Instead of reaping his grain with a reaper, the Polish or Russian peasant reaps with a scythe of about the size, weight and shape of an American fence rail. So, to compensate for his own ignorance, backwardness, and the crude mediaevalism of his whole environment,[Pg 237] this peasant escapes responsibility by rushing to the United States. His case is exactly the same as that of the city wastrel from Belgium or Italy. In leaving his own country he does not help it in the least. In coming to America he drags us down to the pit of Hell.

As regards the immigration from Japan, the West Indies, and Mexico, the conditions are only exaggerated. They are exaggerated by greater differences in race and by the wider gulf which separates our economic conditions from theirs. There are tens of millions of people in India who never know from one year's end to another what it means to have enough to eat. One good American dollar will outfit their wardrobe for twelve months. Throw these millions into the industrial life of America, and in twenty years' time their place in India will be taken by as many millions more, just as wretched, just as absolutely hopeless as the millions who are begging, starving and dying to-day. Here is a place where senti[Pg 238]mentalisms are only trash. A sentimental attitude by an American toward this problem is a criminal attitude. It is a sort of criminal insanity which makes for suicide. If the suicidal intent concerned only the individual, we should not worry nearly so much. But it is our country which is committing suicide.

The problem may be simplified by a comparison. Let us picture our sentimentalist as possessed of an American family of wife and three children living in an eight room house. Will this average citizen welcome the arriving immigrants into his own house to the extent of five per room? If he lives in Texas, will he fill his home with Mexican peons; if in California, with Japanese and Hindoos; if in New York, with Sicilians or Turks? All that I ask is that he be fully consistent. If the sentimentalist is willing to prevent his own children from having homes in America in order to provide homes for the Japanese; if he is willing to prevent his American neighbors from having chil[Pg 239]dren in order to make way for the children of the Japanese of to-morrow—then he ought to be willing to open wide the door of his own house in order to provide for the destitute immigrant.

There is something quite terrible in the stern fact that this country will belong to the people who multiply most rapidly. The imbeciles and the other feeble-minded, if permitted to do so, multiply much more rapidly than normal persons. Suppose that we permit this class to multiply at will and carefully preserve its progeny from disease and other causes of a high mortality. In that case we can easily calculate the time when the feeble-minded and insane will number a majority of our population. Among the competing races in America the birth-rate is the ultimate victor. The German and the Irish among us outbreed the original Americans. The French-Canadians and the Poles outbreed the Germans and the Irish. The Negroes and the Japanese outbreed all the whites. Return to[Pg 240] the liberal immigration policy of five years ago and we shall become a conglomeration out of which it will be impossible to build a nation. Under such conditions almost no sound reform policies, no national progressive movement of any sort, can be successfully advocated and executed. Stop immigration and a homogeneous English-speaking nation will again be developed. Such a nation will solve every economic and social problem as it arrives. Such a nation will develop according to our Anglo-Saxon methods of free speech, free press, democratic methods and popular respect for the law. We are dealing here with the most crucial and fundamental issue of our generation.

The time has come to brand every advocate of continued immigration as the outright enemy of this country and of our American civilization. We are already two generations late in waking up to this matter. We are on the very brink of the pit, and if we are to act at all, we must act in unity and at once. Eventually, after our present[Pg 241] foreign element has been Americanized and absorbed as best it may be we might permit again a small amount of carefully selected immigration annually. But even that would be a mistake. Future Americans should be born and reared in America. Again and again let me urge that I am not claiming that Americans are inherently superior to other peoples. We have a peculiar civilization to guard and to guide. The tendency in our industrial regime is always for the weaker, the more humble, the more serf-like peoples to undermine the sturdier native whose standard of living spells his destruction. The lower standard of living which the immigrant willingly accepts, at least at first, is his essential curse. Admitting swarms of low standard Europeans in order to "bring American working people to reason" as regards their wages and conditions is a piece of ignorant folly. In the end this always increases, instead of decreases, our labor difficulties.


A "Klonklave" where One Thousand "Aliens" were "Naturalized" and Became Citizens of The Invisible Empire.

As I have already stated, our American labor problem can not be solved by break[Pg 242]ing down the American standard of living and the American spirit among American born working men. Our labor problem can be solved only by winning the employers and workers alike to accept a common policy of justice and Americanism. The view that there is ever "more work in America than we can do ourselves" is the falsest of false economic theories. Why should we try to exploit our resources or develop new projects of any sort at the crazy and destructive rate of speed which has marked our industrialism during the past generation? Just the contrary is the correct policy. The unskilled labor of America must be done by Americans. A dozen of our presidents have wielded the axe and guided the plow. The very foundation of our country is a sturdy, intelligent, characterful and self-respecting working class, who do not at all crave to be parsons and college professors. Better build fewer miles of highway or dig less coal than destroy our civilization by the admixture of unsuitable and unworthy elements. There is an old story of a farmer who burned down[Pg 243] his barn in order to get rid of the rats. Here we have a case of burning down one's house in order to settle an argument as to who is going to wash the dishes. Right here appears what may be our supreme test in the building of a great nation, in the conservation of our democratic civilization. Are we Americans ready and willing to eat our bread by the sweat of our brow? If we are, we shall live and prosper as a people. If we are not, if we crave the importation of an ever larger servile class, then we shall perish, and we shall deserve to perish. Democracy is impossible in the presence of a class which holds common labor in disesteem. On the other hand, no idle aristocratic class exists in all the world, that the mills of the gods will not grind to dust and oblivion in the end.

Another aspect of European emigration deserves especial comment. Let us take for granted that it is desirable for a certain number of Europeans to emigrate from their various home lands. Why do they not go[Pg 244] to South America, where millions of square miles are as yet untilled and unbroken, and where raw materials in countless amounts await the tools and the initiative of the worker? Or, why does not the European emigrant go to East Africa, where a fair and fruitful land, resembling California, is open to settlement by white men? Australia, with three millions of square miles, has a population of only six millions. She can take millions of immigrants, and provide lands and plenty.

The answer is simplicity itself, the mass of European wage workers and peasants to-day do not wish to become pioneers. Those who are physically, mentally and morally capable of becoming independent and successful farmers no longer emigrate. They stay at home and improve their conditions by instituting modern methods, as in Germany, Ireland, and Scandinavia. They know that we have no longer free lands for them. The present European emigrant is one who wishes to become a city[Pg 245] wage-worker or petty trader. Here in America considerable numbers have attained great wealth. It is this story of the poor emigrant boy who acquires millions of money and perhaps political distinction which troubles the mind and disturbs the sleep of the unemployed European wage worker, the peddler and the landless peasant. Stop European emigration to the United States and within ten years South America, Africa and Australia will begin to receive such emigrants as they need for their natural and rightful development. But those who emigrate from Europe to the great open spaces of the world will be forced to become farmers, foresters and miners, producing the solid wealth which all the world needs.

One further word. We shall presently come again upon a period of prosperity. It will be limited by world conditions, probably, to a few months, at the most to a year or two. During this period an enormous propaganda for unlimited immigration will be again financed by the profiteers and sup[Pg 246]ported by the feeble minded and weeping sentimentalists. At that time the intelligent and patriotic portion of our citizenship must be especially alert and active. We must so organize our working forces that great numbers can readily be shifted from city factories to the harvest fields and back again. Certain seasonable trades and outdoor construction work can be made to supplement one another, so that the workers will not be forced out of employment at any season of the year. To a man of the breadth and experience of, for instance, Mr. Ford, the execution of such a plan would be simplicity itself. We Americans can and must solve these peculiar industrial problems on the basis of a slowly increasing native population.

I realize fully that to consummate so great a reform as the permanent stopping of immigration requires the setting in motion of larger forces than the Klan can command. To this end every American must function through his political party, his[Pg 247] fraternal order, his business associates or labor union, and his church. All the argument is on one side. What we require is action, and we Klansmen propose to have it without further dilly-dallying and compromise.

[Pg 248]


The Problem of Restricting the Suffrage

During nearly the whole of the nineteenth century our American people played up hill and down dale with a very dangerous political doctrine. I refer to the theory of unrestricted suffrage. Probably a majority of our people actually came to believe that because a man (or a woman) had arrived at the age of twenty-one, that was reason enough for granting him the right to vote. This individual might be illiterate. He might be mentally undeveloped, perhaps an imbecile. If our imaginary voter were deaf, dumb and blind, besides being halt, he could still be carried to the polls and his vote registered and counted.

Only recently have any considerable number of our people come to take a practical view of this thing. At last we are[Pg 249] beginning to see that this, like any other good principle of life, may be driven to excess. One may work too hard or think too much. Even the most exalted virtues may be overdone. So it is with the principles of democracy. Having succeeded with a large measure of democracy, by the time our government was put into operation, we did not lack those who were prepared to see it carried to fanatical and dangerous extremes. So the spoils system has been long defended as being a necessary attribute of democracy. Politicians discovered that votes might be secured through disclaiming all breeding, culture, and even denouncing efficiency in office. Instead of trying to make of our democratic system a sound and reasonable way of conducting public business, our people fell to advocating certain democratic political and social theories with a sort of religious frenzy.

So it was with universal suffrage. A corrupt government at Washington would never have been permitted to enfranchise[Pg 250] the Negroes directly after their emancipation had it not been for the wide acceptance among our people of this false theory of the suffrage. If "everybody should vote," then, indeed, how could the freed Negro be denied this "inherent and inalienable right."

Of course, as a matter of fact, the vote has always been denied to certain groups and classes. To begin with, the young people under twenty-one years of age, in the eyes of the law, "infants," were disfranchised. These had no "inherent and inalienable" right to vote, because of their immaturity. Until recently women were not allowed to vote on the basis that the franchise would interfere with the performance of domestic duties. Paupers and criminals are also disfranchised.

However, it is quite true that heretofore our theory of the suffrage has been that any adult male could vote unless specific cause were shown why he should be disfranchised. Right here we must reverse our[Pg 251] approach to the subject. The burden of proof should be upon the other side. Our prospective voter should be made to show indisputable reason for enfranchisement, instead of being permitted to vote unless cause for disfranchisement can be shown. In other words, the ballot must be considered a privilege and not an "inherent and inalienable right."

This brings us to the question of the standards to be enforced. No doubt this is a very difficult matter to decide. A very large proportion of our people are quite likely averse to any change. That the wind is blowing in the right direction is indicated, however, by a general tendency to raise the standards of the suffrage. Thus, in the State of New York, in the last election (1921) an amendment to the State Constitution was passed requiring that a prospective citizen and voter should read and write in English. What is needed is an amendment not only to the various state constitutions, but to the national[Pg 252] constitution. In preparation for such a drastic and far-reaching step, the national mind should be prepared by the widest possible discussion of the problem.

The suggestion that I am to make here I wish to be understood as purely tentative. I realize fully that the whole discussion is just beginning.

Hardly anybody will deny that reading, writing and speaking the English language with facility should be required of every voter. Without the ready use of English it is impossible for foreigner or native born to keep himself sufficiently acquainted with affairs to vote intelligently. This requirement would disfranchise a considerable portion of our native born whites, and a much larger portion of our Negro and immigrant population. It is not too much to say that the graver danger of the ignorant voter would be abolished by this measure,—that is, if the measure were properly drawn and strictly enforced, and at[Pg 253] the same time would guarantee absolute and complete rights of all under a real intelligent democracy.

But the literacy test is not enough. Government to-day is intricate and the duties of the voter are most varied and difficult. Very few Americans will hold it necessary to so restrict the suffrage that only a minority will be qualified to take part. But any American intellectually fitted to discuss this problem will presently come to hold, I believe, that the standards may well be raised. They should be so high that our more backward young people in the schools must be forced to strive diligently in order to fit themselves to attain this great privilege and responsibility.

It would be simple enough, in connection with our public school system, to establish boards of examination to pass upon prospective candidates. A majority of these boards should have had experience as school-teachers. They should have in hand the[Pg 254] matter of providing facilities for educational preparation on the part of the student, young or old, who might wish to continue his school work in order to qualify for the use of the ballot.

The nature of the educational requirement, in my opinion, would have to do with two sorts of preparation other than the ability to read, write and speak the English language. First, we should demand an intelligence test such as is now required of every applicant for enlistment in the United States Army or Navy. These tests have been reduced to a high degree of scientific accuracy. The specific requirements would be somewhat different, of course, than those demanded for the admission to the Army or Navy, insofar as they would have a different object. But the principles should be the same. The purpose of such a test would be to reject all imbeciles, morons, and the mentally unbalanced. We now know that these groups number from ten to fifteen per[Pg 255] cent of our population. Placing the ballot in their hands amounts to the same thing as intrusting it to children from six years to fifteen years of age.

The second feature of our test should have to do with a different sort of qualification. The purpose of the intelligence test should be to reject those who are so lacking in natural intelligence as to be unfitted for the simpler responsibilities of life. Our second requirement would have to do with positive preparation. Any applicant should have a full measure of sound knowledge with regard to the history and government of the United States and current political and social problems. Unhappily not only many immigrants, Negroes, and illiterate native whites are at present unfitted to vote intelligently. I fear that an enormous percentage of quite intelligent, and in some respects well educated, persons are not in a position to pass the simplest examination upon the elements of our[Pg 256] history and government. Let me not be misunderstood here. I do not propose to limit the suffrage to those who are qualified to become judges on the bench or professors of history and political science. I would favor no standard so high that an intelligent young person could not fully prepare himself in a year, by careful study for a few evenings a week. The last two years of any efficiently graded school should furnish courses sufficient to prepare the student in these things. Indeed, any child completing his grade course where such studies were offered and required would naturally be considered as having measured up to this part of the suffrage requirement. His diploma on leaving school, properly attested, signed and publicly registered, should give him, upon arriving at the age of twenty-one, the right to vote. For children who have not been enabled, for any reason, to complete the grade school work, the necessary process seems simple enough. Evening classes or other means of preparation can be furnished them at any time[Pg 257] during the years preceding voting age. Whenever they can pass the examinations they will receive the testimonial of proficiency, so there will be placed in their hands a most valuable and precious document entitling them to the sacred privileges and duties of an American enfranchised citizenship.

My basic contention in this matter is simply this: both our young people and our immigrants must be asked to fit themselves with the greatest care for the use of the ballot. I am agreed that a great many, native-born and foreigners alike, should be admitted to every other privilege and right of citizenship except that of the ballot. Nothing should be denied these except the power to degrade and destroy our government through ignorance and incompetence. The ballot is both a sacred heritage and sacred privilege. It must be recognized and appreciated as such. The scandal of the criminal use of the ballot by outright purchase is the primary source from which flows political corruption. A premium is[Pg 258] put upon the achievement and honors conferred in the hearts of the people upon the successful politician regardless of the methods by which he attains success. Most recently this has broken out upon the body of the nation as a putrid sore, revealing within a systemic condition portending the decay and death of our democratic civilization.

Our American democracy, generally successful at first, has more recently left much to be desired. Even a hundred years ago, when we were a primitive, farming population, our victorious democracy had its seamy side. It brought with it every sort of inefficiency. It thrust upon the nation the diabolical spoils system, which is still so largely with us. Yet at that time democracy was saved by the very simplicities of our national life. To-day all is so different. It is time for democracy to tie up its loose ends and pull up the slack at every point. Our public problems to-day are most perplexing to the best informed[Pg 259] minds among us. Our whole citizenship must not only acquire a degree of education in public affairs which no people has ever yet attempted—they must be reanimated by a spirit of sound morals and an intense desire to serve their country well. Otherwise no purely negative reforms can save our democratic system.

[Pg 260]


National Solidarity Through Education

In discussing the public school system of the country there is little new for me to say. But the importance of the public school system in our democracy makes it necessary to state again and again the dependence of our government upon the public school. In the building of a peculiar civilization, the home and the church, as two necessary institutions of divine planting, have been everywhere emphasized. But in the maintenance of a democracy, a system of free schooling is as absolutely necessary as the home or the church. Democracy, however interpreted, must mean a leveling of all the people upward. Intelligence is essential to progress. There is no pathway to higher and better living except that which is illuminated by the light of a general intelligence. Our democracy must be taught to think, and taught to[Pg 261] think right, if it is to live. The nations that continue to grovel and grope, indeed, the nations that are being overwhelmed by internal revolutions and internecine strife, are all untaught or badly taught. I have been told that a hungry man near starvation has strange dreams of palaces and feasts. Untaught human minds, unfed by information, unstimulated by sound knowledge and undirected power of logic, have strange dreams. Communism, Sovietism, Bolshevism, Anarchy, are the nightmares of ignorance.

Our American democracy, in its earliest declarations, emphasized the necessity for the general public training of the children and the youth. Probably this was the real thought in the mind of Mr. Jefferson when he wrote his equality clause in the Declaration of Independence. Nothing he ever said has been so misinterpreted and misapplied. Certainly he could not have meant that all men are fundamentally and constitutionally equal. John C. Calhoun, the[Pg 262] most logical mind in American history, except perhaps Hamilton, said that that would be a self-evident falsehood and not a self-evident truth. The great Lincoln said that there were physical differences between the African and the Anglo-Saxon that precluded political and social equality. No two things in the universe are equal in this impossible sense which has been distorted from Mr. Jefferson's statement that, "It is a self-evident truth that all men are created equal." Among the billion colored people of the earth, the black, the red, and the yellow, not one nation has ever developed and maintained a constitutional government. If there were equality in the essential things that go to make up the characteristics of the colored races, certainly during the ages there would somewhere have developed among them a civilization capable of producing an upright, dignified, independent manhood. All that this phrase meant at the founding of the republic, and all it means to-day, is equality[Pg 263] of opportunity for realizing the inherent possibilities that are locked up in human nature.

This, of course, contemplates a national school system into which all the children and the youth of the nation are to be brought to have their eyes enlightened, their hearts trained, and their ideals harmonized. So distinctly American must the public school system be that the young life of the nation, without respect to race, color or creed, shall be brought into it and subjected to its moulding and developing process. National unity and integrity cannot be maintained if a part of the nation is taught and a part remains in ignorance. A democracy must have uniformity and universality in the elementary training of its young life. Neither can the nation maintain its existence and work out its destiny if in its early training its youth is broken up into sectional, racial and sectarian groups.

Concessions have been made to foreign elements that have come into this country and[Pg 264] organized themselves into communities, holding tenaciously to the language of the country from which they came. The almost insuperable difficulty of undertaking to mobilize the American people in time of war had its roots in just this thing of permitting aliens to occupy the American soil, live under the American flag, and continue to teach the political loyalties of their respective countries in their own languages. It necessitated the draft law by which these people were compelled to bear arms in defense of the world's civilization. No thorough American required any sort of compulsion to put him into the great conflict. The right to volunteer in the time of national danger, or in defense of the great institutions of human liberty anywhere in the world, was the inheritance which had been transmitted from the Revolutionary period to succeeding generations until it came to us and to our children. We were denied our birthright when drafted for service in war, and in that fact there is a tremendous indictment of the nation for its[Pg 265] failure to Americanize all its growing life through the public school system and the English language.

In every state of the union the Ku Klux Klan will insist upon thoroughly Americanizing the children of the nation through the public school. All the racial elements in the country must be brought under the same standard of tutelage. Only in this way can these peoples be harmonized. It was the idea of Cecil Rhodes when he founded scholarships in Oxford for American students that British and American ideals should be harmonized. The difficulty with Mr. Rhodes' idea is that the American youth are to be harmonized with British ideals, but he made no provision in scholarships in any great American institution to which British students might come and be harmonized with American ideals. The public school, however, contemplates taking all the elements that are represented in our vast population and harmonizing them with the ideals of our democracy. So poorly has[Pg 266] this work been done in many sections of our country, and especially in our congested centers of population, the large cities, that the product turned out from the schools has frequently contradicted the purpose for which the system was founded. We cannot take a person of foreign birth or extraction into our schools maintained by taxation and turn him out Italian-American, British-American, Irish-American, Jewish-American, German-American, Japanese-American, Chinese-American or Afro-American. He must come out an American with all of his distinctive qualities and characteristics swallowed up and absorbed in American democracy. The institution was founded by the fathers and the pattern of American life was made by the great architects of human liberty, and every time a hyphenated American is turned out of any American school it is a contradiction of the very purpose of the republic.

This work of educating the youth of the nation must be done in the open. We have[Pg 267] no objections to the foundation of schools privately or by communities of peculiar racial distinction, or even by sectarians who, because of peculiar tenets, wish to keep their children under the eye of the church. To repeat what we have already stated, all we insist upon is just this—that these schools shall be in every sense public, open to public inspection. They must be subjected to regulation by properly constituted authority. The same courses in the fundamentals of Americanism must be taught in a privately owned or conducted school as in the public schools. Democracy can not be taught and developed behind closed doors. Its vital breath is openness. It has recently broken down many doors throughout the world. There are to be no more secret treaties, no more diplomatic intriguing, nothing between the governments of the nations upon which the eyes of all the world may not look. Surely, a democracy demanding openness in all the ways of mankind, as the nations move surely toward a common fraternity, can not undertake to[Pg 268] conceal any part of its young life in its training for service to its country and to the world.

Holding as the Klan does that the tenets of Christianity as a code of morals are essential to our democracy, we are only too ready to agree that there should be distinctive religious training. Here, at the very threshold, there is a difficulty. Absolute freedom of conscience in religious matters is granted to American citizens. The public school teachers are drawn from various religious organizations, without respect to their church affiliations. In the average public school the children being taught represent numerous Christian sects and not a few non-Christian sects. It would be contrary to every fundamental of our national life to introduce specific religious doctrines or tenets among this diversified group. Perhaps the plan recently tried out in New York City would solve this problem. The children were dismissed from school a part of a day each week, that they might go to[Pg 269] their respective places of worship and there be taught by ministers or lecturers of their peculiar faith in the essential things of religion and ethics.

This much is sure: These foreign peoples must be unified in Americanism and it can not be done except through our public schools. North Carolina has adopted the slogan, "Abolish illiteracy in ten years." We should take that slogan for the whole American nation. By "literacy" we should mean literacy in English. This can only be accomplished, however, when native and foreigner, Catholic and Protestant, Jew and Gentile, gladly bring their children together and place them side by side to be taught in the things of democracy.

Demands have been made during the past few years that the funds collected in taxes for the maintenance of public schools be segregated. Our fellow citizens of one powerful religious organization have insisted that monies paid out by members[Pg 270] of that church in taxes for public education be returned to the denomination and applied to the parochial schools, which are owned and controlled by the church. Of course this means that a considerable percentage of the young population of the country would be withdrawn from the Americanizing schools of the public and trained only as the church directed. Church and state are forever separated in the democracy of America. Any tendency to bring them together in building the solidarity of the nation should be arrested. It is not worthwhile to experiment further in this matter. All history shows the utter futility of attempting to build a robust, virtuous, enlightened national life through union of Church and State; and I wish to say with the utmost composure, and speaking, I trust, for every real American, that not one dollar of public monies shall ever be diverted from the public schools for sectarian institutions. This declaration may sound explosive. Yet I hope it will give no offense to anybody. The sooner it is ac[Pg 271]cepted as final, so much the sooner will a very real cause of difficulty and misunderstanding be removed.

A study of our history is fundamental to the construction and the maintenance of a sound national life. Thomas Carlyle once very correctly said that one cannot manage the present or predict the future except from an accurate knowledge of the past. All sectarian textbooks in histories, partisan textbooks or sectional textbooks, are naturally distorted and perverted. Men who hold tenaciously to a particular setting, given a religious truth or any other historical fact, have looked at their fellowmen through a distorted perspective. The trivial has frequently appeared to them to be the magnificent, and the magnificent the trivial. Bias has characterized all such narratives. It is difficult enough to secure a history of any country or its people in its political, economic, industrial and social development, that is basically true to the facts. The man who writes is apt to be[Pg 272] tremendously impressed by the age in which he lives. The tale that he tells is often a crude compilation of errors. Only recently the manuscript of a history in its making was tendered by a well known publishing house to a patriotic organization of the South for review. One of many glaring errors that obtruded from this book, which was designed to become a text book, was the statement that the democratic party originated with the original Ku Klux Klan of the Sixties. Another history in common use in the public schools of the country, filled with all sorts of inaccuracies and misstatements, was recently taken from the schools in one great section of the country. When the attention of the author was called to the inaccuracies, he offered to expurgate the offensive statements of which the section complained, but refused to change his history for other sections of the country where the statements were as yet unchallenged. If such histories are foisted upon our school system, and our children are taught the errors of the prejudiced and in[Pg 273]accurate historian, how much worse, and how much more dangerous, would the teaching be if the history texts are purposefully written by narrow sectarians, and the facts discolored by religious prejudice? The time has surely come when real history should be written by the truthful and wise, and the facts of our national virtues and vices, our strength and our weakness, our dangers and our securities, should be taught in our public schools, and taught to all the children. The preparation or selection of school text books in history is no more a fitting subject for rancorous bickering among sectarian politicians than the writing of text books in chemistry. It is entirely a matter for trained historians and professional teachers. We must insist that politicians of all breeds keep their hands far removed from these things.

[Pg 274]


The Conservation of the American Home

The American home is rapidly becoming a failure. After countless ages of biological and social evolution, that marvelous process of change and growth which has produced us, we are committing suicide as a nation and as a people. A home without children is not, in a social sense, a home at all. It is only a place in which, and a condition under which, two persons of opposite sex live together more happily and comfortably, perhaps less so, than they could do apart.

The American home, the home in which healthy, intelligent and characterful children are bred and reared, both for their own sakes and the nation's service—this home is the veritable rockbottom of our national well-being. Let the home fail, and all our wealth and material achievement is naught but poverty and trash.

[Pg 275]

The millions of homes in which there are no children, or only one child, the birth of which was perhaps wholly unintentional, are so many millions of tombs in which the nation's hope and future lie buried. The millions of young unmarried Americans, between the ages of twenty-one and forty years, whatever be the cause of their unnatural and unsocial condition, are just so many millions of Americans who have rejected life. All of the unmarried, all of the married who do not reproduce themselves, are a crushing accusation against our national intelligence, our national morals, and our national social policy. What do these figures not mean in terms of disappointment and despair, of social purpose unfulfilled, of negative sorrow and anguish in the heart of the individual, of souls unfed in terms of every higher realization of life?

A people which can calmly behold a large per cent of its marriageable young people homeless and childless has confessed itself to be a broken and dissolving remnant[Pg 276] among the nations. We, lords of the richest land in all the four quarters of the world, voluntarily place our national head upon the block and beckon to the executioner, axe in hand, to make haste.

Visualize this old-time American home—on the hillside, among the trees. For many generations it has stood foursquare against every blast of winter, every ugly aspect of circumstance. From its wide portals have gone forth a myriad of the young and gay, the hopeful and the brave. Its offspring peopled all our West. Its victories in the wilderness, through a hundred years, have no counterpart in all the history of humanity. The history of America has been the history of the American home—of what that home has accomplished for the citizens that were born and reared under its sheltering roof.

Open the door! Wait! You shall see none enter here. Only a going out—a funeral procession. A death march sounds[Pg 277] forth, a mighty people, the hope of the world—such a people is borne to the grave. Where there is no laughter of children, there Death is King. And those that see make jest and frolic.

In the even scales of biological law and of mathematical calculation, our people are being weighed in the balance and found wanting. We Americans, all that we have been, and all that we are, are being borne to the grave in execution of the law. We have been tried and condemned by a just Judge.

It is a most dangerous error to undertake to build a national life on the individual as a unit. "God has set the solitary in families," said Moses, as he led his people through the vast wilderness unto the promised land. We may destroy all else, but leave the home and the family, and yet all the elements and works that make the nation can be once again regained and rebuilt. We may possess all else, wealth and power, all the[Pg 278] arts and all the knowing, thriving schools and majestic temples—but if the home crumbles and decays, we perish with it utterly.

Oh! The deep, deep and terrible tragedy of our Nordic race in America! We have been decimated by fratricidal war. Our flesh and blood have been corrupted by industrialism. Now, however, we go to our destruction simply because we do not care to live. We go as blindly as a species of animals whose conditions of life have been completely upset by new forces with which they do not know how to deal. Sheep and swine, nay, the wild beasts of the field, could not act with such utter carelessness and immorality as we. All that we have done will perish with us. Other nations have lived and left record of their labors in a lofty literature or a resplendent art. The glory of the temples they have builded keeps their memory green centuries after their very language is forgotten. The people of the age of Pericles will live on in their[Pg 279] work, to beautify and glorify humanity for twice ten thousand years. But we Americans are perishing miserably to leave no record of high value, because our greater work has been bound up in our very selves. We have all lived and labored together as free men. We have proven to a faithless world that the humblest toiler could wield the mightiest and most glittering scepter of power. We have made good the proud boast of a triumphant democracy. All that we have been, as a beckoning star among the nations, all that we have meant to the world of hope in the common man, is doomed to perish with us.

All I seek to do in these chapters is to bring the mind and heart of my country to this place. Here, in the old-fashioned American home, we shall do battle. Here we shall fight the last fight, to win or to lose. If we are to have a greater and better America, we must begin by breeding better Americans in larger numbers. There is no other way. The man who says our young[Pg 280] men and women, in general, do not desire homes and children, says a falsehood. We neither desire nor expect fifteen children in the home. What we do insist upon, in recreating all the conditions about that home, is two, three, four, and sometimes, in exceptional cases, five or six children. For our country as a whole, during this century, we crave but a small increase in native born population in every decade—perhaps ten or twelve per cent. We would reject, by taking forethought and preventing marriage, the children of the criminal, the children of the imbecile and the insane, the children of those who are accursed with incurable diseases or incurable indolence. We would remould all that needs remoulding in order to receive into the hearts and the homes of our country the children of the healthy and the industrious, the honest and intelligent, the high-minded and the sensitive.

Give our young people of America but half a chance! Let them have their own[Pg 281] country in which to test out the labor of their hands and the love of their hearts! Let them again lay upon themselves the first duty of the supreme law of nature! They can and will preserve to this continent every higher value, every article of faith left to their keeping. Remove from their environment a competition that is unfair and killing. Give them bread and not a stone for their toil. Give them solid assurance and not a gnawing insecurity of livelihood, and they will give to their country a future through the sons and daughters of their love.

To admit that there is a growing number of our young women who reject child-bearing as a burden is merely to re-emphasize the crying need of a socializing education. It is the work of those who know and who care, to teach those who are ignorant and careless of duty. We teach our young people that they must help prepare themselves for citizenship and self-support. Citizenship for our American young women includes[Pg 282] the essential duty of motherhood, and for our young men the duty of the creation and support of a family. A cornerstone of our ethical teaching should be the preparation of the minds of the young for home-building and parenthood. Every able-bodied man, or woman, who deigns to eat, should perform some sort of useful work. Similarly every normal young man and woman who accepts life should be gladly willing to create life. Around and above these homes and these children we must place the protection of every means furnished by applied science. To educate them and to fit them for useful work and public service, we must apply the first fruits of our nation's wealth. To offer to these young citizens, upon maturity, full opportunity for fruitful labor and self expression, we must be ready to reject much error that is ancient, and accept much truth that is new and sometimes startling.

America consists of and exists in the home. The home is America. To lose the[Pg 283] fight here is to lose all. To win at this point is to win for ourselves national salvation, and for the world our share in its ultimate redemption.

[Pg 284]


Let me confess that I alone am responsible for the reorganization of the Ku Klux Klan. No one suggested it to me. No one helped me in the formulation of its new task, nor in the working out of any of its basic principles or methods. So it may not be entirely uninteresting to the reader for me to close this statement with a brief narrative of the first growth of this concept in my own mind.

To begin with, my childhood fancies were much laid hold of by the stories I heard of the original Ku Klux Klan. These stories were told me in my own home. Sometimes in Negro cabins the old darkies would play upon my boyish mind with marvelous tales of the hosts of white-robed horsemen—the souls of the departed soldiers of the great war—who were used to ride up and down the countryside. Sometimes I would imagine these cavalcades passing swiftly and silently, like a white cloud,[Pg 285] across the starry heavens. Later, when a more accurate book of knowledge of this strange epoch of American history was opened up to me, I eagerly devoured all the reading I could find pertaining to the subject. Yet the impressions made upon me by the legendary account never entirely lost their force. So, as I grew to manhood, my mind, perhaps overburdened while yet too young, with a sense of the responsibilities of citizenship, made the service of my country a deeply set conviction. I never went very joyously either to my studies or to my active duties. To my generation, as it grew up in the defeated, broken and impoverished South, the problems of life presented heavy tasks rather than stirring issues. We had to make all our beginnings as a people over again. Our mood was much like that of the Puritan founders of New England when they set themselves to struggle against the stern climate and the thin and unfruitful soil of their section. A statement of Robert E. Lee to a member of his staff the day before[Pg 286] he surrendered at Appomattox has been more than once my sheet-anchor. "Captain," said our great leader, "I should gladly lay down my life, but it is now my duty to live. The way for me has been hard, very hard—no pathway of duty is easy—only those who have encountered obstacles, faced difficulties, and endured extreme hardships, know how much easier it would be for me to die, than to live in response to the call of duty."

We people of the South lived on. We have tried to do our duty. We have even tried to forget the past, though often it may not seem so to our fellow citizens.

In 1898 it was my privilege to enlist in the glorious service of our reunited country. Of course every youth who then donned the uniform imagined that he would proceed at once to Cuba and do battle for the liberation of that country from the tyranny of the Spanish monarchy. My first evening in camp, under the old flag of the Union,[Pg 287] was an experience never to be forgotten. I believe that all of the thousand young men in the Alabama regiment with which I served felt their hearts moved by something of the same great emotion. We were to be under the command of Nelson Miles and Fitzhugh Lee, of Wesley Merritt and Joe Wheeler.

The heat and noise of the day gave way to the soft, warm flush of the evening. Such an evening! Under the clearest of skies and the brightest of stars I stood on guard at midnight. My mind seemed to be so passive, so sensitive, so subjected to the thoughts that rushed out of the universe, from the past and the mysterious present and the unknowable future, to take possession of my soul. I saw my country ennobled by the great task of liberty and of love to which she had set herself on that occasion. United at last! United in a common cause! Reforming a Union which had always existed in the hearts of all, underneath those superficial forces which[Pg 288] so long troubled us and kept us apart. And now a great fountain of joy and of pride, pressing from the heart, filled every artery almost to bursting. On that night I first understood my country and saw, emblazoned in the sky, the part to which the Lord of Hosts had called her.

To a young man whose heart is truly enlisted in the issue of a great war, the mighty thrill of the soul is the ultimate experience of life. So is the banner of his country raised aloft. So are his arms consecrated by the deepest impulses of the spirit. Lyric poetry has often exhausted its meters and its music at the altar of the lesser loves. On that strangest of nights I knew that here was a love that makes the heart of youth deny all that comes from self and lift burning eyes to the stars.

Oh my people—soldiers—workers—pioneers—adventurers—saviors—in the four quarters of the earth! Be you—your deeds—your vision,—all in all—imperish[Pg 289]able! The world listens to hear the sound of the song you sing upon the march. Somehow I feel and know that you shall live—gloriously—throughout the ages.

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