The Klan’s Enemies Step Up, Slowly

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James Madison


Indiana’s Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s was an expression of mainstream values. Klan members were not ignorant rubes but mostly middle-class, respectable citizens among the state’s white, native-born Protestants. One indication of the organization’s strength is the nature of the opposition it engendered, which was slow to form and weak in effectiveness. This article studies those who challenged the Klan, including Jews, African Americans, and particularly Catholics. Some lawyers, ministers, elected officials, and other individuals spoke out. But many Protestant leaders, newspaper editors, politicians, and others who might have stood up instead remained silent or joined the crusade. The feeble nature of Klan opposition is part of a larger understanding that the Klan was not an abnormality or aberration but a powerful expression of intolerance and exclusion that rests deep in Indiana and American history.


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How to Cite
Madison, J. . (2020). The Klan’s Enemies Step Up, Slowly. Indiana Magazine of History, 116(2), 93–121. Retrieved from