chapter  1
Brotherhood in the Invisible Empire
ByMiguel Hernandez
Pages 23

The first chapter examines the history of American fraternalism during its resurgence after the American Civil War, analysing the different theories presented by historians and sociologists for the rise of this “Golden Age of Fraternalism”. This chapter also explores how fraternalism developed in the period of the First World War, arguing that despite the impressive recruitment figures, American tastes for fraternities had shifted. The Second Ku Klux Klan’s fraternalism is often cited as one of its primary appeals, and this section evaluates several aspects of the group such as its rituals, brotherhood and secrecy to understand what made the order so popular in the 1920s when other fraternities had begun to falter. Ultimately, this chapter will demonstrate that while the Second Klan adopted many of the customs of other fraternities, its veneration of white masculinity and the aggressive Reconstruction order made this new order distinct. In addition, the order’s shift towards militancy and action outside the lodge made Klan more suited for the modern American public of the 1920s and was especially attractive for seasoned fraternalists.