Knights of the Golden Circle

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KNIGHTS OF THE GOLDEN CIRCLE. The Knights of the Golden Circle (KGC) was a pre–Civil War, pro-Southern secret society founded in Ohio in 1854 by George W. L. Bickley, a Virginian, who soon moved the KGC to the South. Members were known as Copperheads. Wishing to extend slavery into Mexico and to form a country that surrounded the Gulf of Mexico, a "golden circle," they opposed abolition and fought for secession. KGC was reorganized in 1863 as the Order of American Knights, and again in 1864 as the Order of the Sons of Liberty. Republicans tried to discredit Democrats by associating them with the KGC; their efforts failed, making themselves look bad instead.


Crenshaw, Ollinger. "The Knights of the Golden Circle: The Career of George Bickley." American Historical Review 47, no. 1 (1941): 23–50.

Klement, Frank L. "Ohio and the Knights of the Golden Circle: The Evolution of a Civil War Myth." Cincinnati Historical Society Bulletin 32, nos. 1–2 (1974): 7–27.

Milton, George F. Abraham Lincoln and the Fifth Column. New York: Vanguard, 1942.

Mary AnneHansen

See alsoSlavery .

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Knights of the Golden Circle

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