Age of Barbarity Makes The Tampa Bay Times

Sir I liked your article on Peter Hagan and his fight against the Klan. However you state that it was white Protestants that made up the mob. Yet when I read the article you show no proof of this statement. in fact Peter Hagan related that it was mostly outsiders that caused the problem. Nothing at all about Protestants, one must wonder how you arrived at such a conclusion, my guess is that you are either bias, or you made a major reporting error. Under one of the pictures, it states that there was strong antigovernment sentiments among conservative whites. I am a conservative, and have never found that conservatives or anti government, they are for smaller better run government, without over regulation, and excessive rules. Once again this shows a bias not founded by fact. The liberal media has stated this claims for year, always without the facts, so I guess it is now accepted as being politically correct. A term which only shows just how uninformed the media has become.


White Protestants did make up the mobs. Simple fact of history. And their targets were blacks, Catholics, drinkers, and other people who did things they considered to offend Protestant morality. Here’s just one of many, many examples of this in my book. It’s an open letter the Klan wrote to the Gainesville community in 1923 denouncing a highly-regarded Catholic priest at UF who had also served with distinction with WWI.

“We know why Crane Hall, to all intents and purposes a beautiful club house and dormitory, but in reality a Roman Catholic Church, with its altar, its candles, its holy water and its confessional, was built by Father Conoley “liberal” invitation to Protestant students to make Crane hall their headquarters and abiding place… Floridians, it is the indifference of Protestants that is Rome’s greatest assets in the Pope’s fight on America and American institutions. Wake up!…”
The Klan later abducted and castrated that priest, Father John Conoley.

At a rally in Palatka a couple days later that included the paster of Jacksonville’s First Baptist Church, a Klan speaker declared that the Klan intended to “protect the purity of every woman, and defend the tenets of the order which prevented affiliation with Jews, Catholics, and negroes.”

The Klan was a protestant organization, which included many, many mainstream Protestant ministers as leaders. The Klan often announced its appearance in a town by visiting a Methodist or Presbyterian church during a service to make a donation. It did so at St. James Methodist Church in Palatka in 1922.

These are simple facts of American history. You can choose to accept them or not, but they are not up for debate. No serious historian remotely disputes them. Read “Hooded Americanism”, the “Invisible Empire,” or my book “Age of Barbarity”, and this will be laid

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Now, there were also white Protestants who fought against the mobs. But they were a distinct minority, which is what makes Hagan so remarkable.
It’s also a simple fact that storming a jail or lynching someone is a profound act of anti-government sentiment.
But I would caution you that trying to shoehorn history into your modern conservative/liberal perception of the world is foolish. I would argue that Peter Hagan is a classic constitutional “conservative.” He simply believed in enforcing the law equally, either for the white Protestants, or for everybody else. His only radical streak was doing his job.

And the most powerful parallel with our

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own time that I find in this story is the corrosive effect of alcohol prohibition on society. Our modern drug war does the exactly the same things.

Many thanks for reading.

Actually the Protestants were against the Roman Catholic rules, governed by the church. How the Jews and blacks got into the picture, was because the Klan

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was looking for more support from the public to fund and grow their bigoted way. Yes there were church leaders that voiced their approval of the Klan, but many actual practicing Protestants were no part of the movement. Since they represented less then 15 % of the population, how could the Klan be anything but atheists, non believers, non practicing church goers and non church goers. I care less your book was full of miss information. The Klan was made up of bigots,the uninformed, power brokers and crooked political individuals. It was started by political people looking to empower themselves, with money and votes. What is later became is not clearly defined as it crossed many lines of government and society. But descripting it as Protestant is a disservice to Christian people. As I realize you may not accept this fact, but it is a myth.

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