History, Department of


Date of this Version

Winter 12-2-2011


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: History, Under the Supervision of Professor Timothy Mahoney. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2011

Copyright (c) 2011 Trevor M. Magel


The 1920s was a transitional decade in the political history of the United States. Progressivism did not have the influence it had had in the first couple of decades of the 20th Century but its ideas were still part of the debate. But many other elements became more prominent such as: Americanism, Urbanization, and Nativism. North Dakota is a good case study of these trends and how the Klan tried to use these trends to gain power. The Nonpartisan League, Independent Voters' Association, and Ku Klux Klan conflict in North Dakota reflected broader political conflicts happening within the country over its ideals. North Dakota was the birthplace of the NPL and had a strong progressive tradition. However the Klan was able to establish a significant presence in the state during the mid-1920s and influenced the outcome of several state elections. It did this by utilizing some existing political and social attitudes not normally associated with the Klan. However, social and political elites quickly saw the Klan as a threat and drove them out.

Advisor: Timothy Mahoney