Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2018

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

History

First Advisor

Professor Lee Chambers

Second Advisor

Professor Matthew Gerber

Third Advisor

Professor Andrew Chapman

Abstract

White American women have played a historically significant role in the oppression of non-white racial and religious groups in the United States. Although they rarely assume an active role as perpetrators of violence, the rhetorical implications of whiteness and womanhood promulgated by white men and women have resulted in the death of people of color for centuries. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the traditional-domestic, as well as untraditional, methods of female white supremacy in the early twentieth century. The Women of the Ku Klux Klan of Colorado presents an interesting example of the active organizational role played by women in articulating and perpetuating ideologies of racism, nativism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Catholicism. While serving as a social club, the Women of the Ku Klux Klan also offered a platform for political and economic activism supporting the Klan’s war on non-Anglo-Protestants. Through the use of archives of local Front Range libraries, I have constructed a narrative that explains why women in Colorado joined the Ku Klux Klan, how they operated as agents of imposed values within their communities, and what they stood to gain from Klan membership.

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