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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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The Counterfeit Nation

The Counterfeit Nation

The KGC, Secession, and the Confederate Experience

(p.107) 6. The Counterfeit Nation
A Secret Society History of the Civil War

Mark A. Lause

University of Illinois Press

This chapter argues that secession transformed the Knights of the Golden Circle from a political confidence game into a multipurpose tool for a nation-building enterprise. That is, the Knights of the Golden Circle eased the effort of the Southern elite to build a nation by secession from a country it could no longer control and acquire the new territory they believed they could. Over time, George W. L. Bickley fine-tuned his flattery of the Southern elite, shaping for them a tool that appealed to popular prejudices against republican ideology. In response, the masters of the new Confederate nation found the Knights of the Golden Circle most useful as an all-purpose label for its enforcement arm at the defining margins of the new Confederate States of America.

Keywords:   secession, KGC, nation-building, Southern elite, George W. L. Bickley, republican ideology, Confederate nation, Confederate States of America

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