Delegates to the democratic Party"s 1924 Convention native State, Oregon, and also Idaho unanimously opposed adding a plank come the Party communication that would condemn Ku Klux Klan violence. Source: the national Klan newspaper, The royal Night-Hawk, July 2, 1924, p4.

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David Leppert: market of Kent and also Seattle-area Ku Klux Klan Leader


(Click on image to view posts from the Seattle KKK paper, Watcher on the Tower)

Watcher on the Tower, Sept 1, 1923, p4.

Wapato school Director

Wapato Independent, Mar 12, 1925, p1.

The Ku Klux Klan was controversial in the 1920s not only due to the fact that of its intolerance and also promotion the vigilante violence, but also because that its entry right into American politics. Throughout the first half of the 1920s, the Klan, which had previously been linked with the South, concerned thoroughly overcome electoral national politics in Indiana, supposedly helped elect eleven Governors (including Oregon’s Walter Pierce), and also briefly regulated State Legislatures in the Western states of Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, and Oregon.

At the nationwide level, the Klan is alleged to have chosen dozens of Senators and also Congressmen in the 1920s. Though at the regional level Klan politicians were both Republicans and also Democrats, nationally it to be the democratic Party the was most linked with the Klan since of intense infighting in ~ its 1924 Presidential nominating convention. Klan allies battled tooth-and-nail to protest the nomination of new York governor Al Smith since he to be Catholic, and conflict between delegates walk from rhetoric come fistfights. The an unfavorable publicity indigenous this infighting supposedly aided Republican Calvin Coolidge win the Presidency the year by a landslide.

In this context, the inroads made right into electoral politics by State’s Ku Klux Klan seem fairly mild. Voting patterns on the Klan’s anti-Catholic school bill in 1924 suggest that if the Klan had plenty of members in big cities, its key voting power (which was not an extremely large) resided in little farming towns. Yet on the other hand, in ~ the democratic Party Convention previously that year, delegates from state, together with those native Oregon and Idaho, were unanimous in opposing a plank come the Party communication which would have actually repudiated violence linked with the KKK.

Notable Klan members chosen to publicly office in State include the mayor of Kent, David Leppert, and Bellingham City lawyer Charles B. Sampley. Political leaders who were likely members of the Klan incorporate the market of Blaine, Alan Keyes, and also Wapato’s manager of Schools, candid Sutton. Offered that the Klan to be a an enig society, it is tough to differentiate Klan allies native Klan members, and it is likely that plenty of other local chosen officials in state to be Klan members.

Congressman Albert Johnson

Certainly the best question v regard to the state’s Klan’s affect on local and national electoral national politics comes through its connection to Congressman Albert Johnson, Representative to the unified States home from’s third Congressional District.

Congressman Johnson to be a eugenik supporter and a national leader in demanding that the U.S. Restrict many of its immigrant to “Nordic” peoples. Together Chair the the House’s immigration Committee, that introduced and led a successful drive to pass what in 1924 came to be the most strict immigration regulation in American history. His intolerant views and also political career flourished independently that the Ku Klux Klan. He claimed to have actually been part of a lot that required hundreds of south Asians out of Bellingham, and into Canada in 1907, was elected in 1914 on an anti-immigrant platform, and played a leading function among western Congressmen in phone call for an extensive anti-Japanese and also anti-South eastern immigration limit as shortly as he come in the Capitol. Johnson was a member that the Freemasons, a group the Klan often sought to recruit from.

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The Klan to be public and also effusive in its support of Albert Johnson. Time Magazine detailed in 1924 the Johnson’s immigration restriction law was “generally supported by the West and South, admittedly v the backing the the Ku Klux Klan.” It report in 1926 that among the national KKK’s top 4 political top priorities was the “Renomination and re-election that Representative Albert Johnson the, for this reason he can continue to be Chairman the the house Committee on Immigration and fight for minimal immigration laws.” The Klan wasn’t the only organization pushing immigration restriction, also though that is spectacular development in the early on 1920s nationwide assisted make its i politically possible. We may never know whether Johnson was an allied of the Klan, a mentor, or even a member. However he certainly had the Klan’s admiration that support.

Next: Ch. 2, Luther I. Powell, Northwest KKK Organizer

“The State Klan in the 1920s” by Trevor Griffey has the following chapters: