Dr. Mark Lause was recently interviewed for an article featured in the Cincinnati Enquirer. The article focuses on George W. L. Bickley who in the late 1850s, “created a pro-slavery secret society that became a model for the Ku Klux Klan – motivated not by racism but by money.”
Although Bickley’s group received a lot of publicity and attracted many followers in Texas, the Knights of the Golden Circle fizzled out shortly after two failed attempts to organize an invasion of Mexico in 1860. In fact, the New Orleans faction expelled Bickley when he and the thousands of other Knights he said he would bring for the first invasion failed to show up.
“He was essentially a great con man,” said Mark Lause, a University of Cincinnati assistant professor of history who has written a book called “A Secret Society History of the Civil War” that will be published this fall by the University of Illinois Press.
“I don’t think he believed in anything. He was entirely market-driven.”
It should be noted that the Cincinnati Enquirer mistakenly referred to Dr. Lause as Assistant Professor. He is, in fact, a Professor in the Department of History.