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A Secret Society History of the Civil War$
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Mark A. Lause

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036552

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036552.001.0001

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Lone Stars and Golden Circles

Lone Stars and Golden Circles

The Manifest Destiny of George W. L. Bickley

3. Lone Stars and Golden Circles
A Secret Society History of the Civil War

Mark A. Lause

University of Illinois Press

This chapter focuses on the Knights of the Golden Circle. George Washington Lafayette Bickley became one of the most famous members of the Brotherhood of the Union after he founded his own Knights of the Golden Circle. In a nation of “self-made men,” the founder of the Knights of the Golden Circle so persistently and frequently remade himself that many contemporaries remained at a loss as to who he actually was. Nevertheless, by any measure, the Knights of the Golden Circle became much more well known and accorded vastly greater importance than the organizations of George Lippard or Hugh Forbes. While Giuseppe Mazzini's idea of a mystic national destiny rested, in part, on the cooperation of nations, Bickley worked where nationhood grew pure without feudal or monarchist constraints. In his mind, an American “Manifest Destiny” unfolded in an unbounded fashion that would be not only unique but exceptional.

Keywords:   Knights of the Golden Circle, George W.L. Bickley, Brotherhood of the Union, nationhood, Manifest Destiny

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