Date of Award

Spring 1991

Document Type




First Advisor

Robert Swartout

Second Advisor

Rev. Jeremiah Sullivan

Third Advisor

John Downs


The Ku Klux Klan was an impressive force in Montana during the 1920s. There were nearly 3,000 Klan members in at least 46 different Klan chapters throughout Montana. The most significant aspects of the Montana Klan included its opposition to many immigrant groups in the state, its involvement in key political issues, and the Klan leaders' use of the fraternal order to lure many Montanans into the organization by playing on their personal insecurities. In order to understand the dynamics of the Klan in Montana during the 1920s, however, it is important to examine the Klan at the national level, and see why the movement was prevalent in the United States at the time. Many of the characteristics of the national Klan parellel those of the Klan in Montana. It is equally important to look at the setting in Montana to understand why the state was ripe for such an organization as the Ku Klux Klan, and why so many Montanans found it appealing. The Klan's presence in the state symbolized many of the social and economic tensions arising in Montana during and after World War I.