chapter  2
Freemasonry’s fighting brother
Militancy, fraternalism and the Ku Klux Klan
ByMiguel Hernandez
Pages 23

Though fraternities like Freemasonry were traditionally apolitical, this chapter studies the emergence of a more interventionist attitude among the members of this order in the early twentieth century. The chapter analyses this shift in emphasis and the emergence of a militant wing within Freemasonry, occasioned by new conceptions of proper masculine behaviour, the global and domestic shifts that resulted from the First World War, and the frustrations of these members with the antiquated or restrained approaches of their brethren. By exploring the conversations among Freemasons and their attempts to form more militant groups, this section argues that while this militant wing of the fraternity was active and determined to defend white Protestant American interests, many felt they could not reform their own group. These Freemasons instead chose to join the Ku Klux Klan, a more explicitly aggressive and political fraternity that would allow them to fulfil their manly duty as American patriots to defend the nation from perceived external and internal threats such as Bolshevism or the Catholic Church.