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During the 1920's the Ku Klux Klan powerfully influenced all levels of government in the United States. For example, its strength helped to elect governors and U.S. Senators in eight states. As a result of Klan efforts, Oregon voters in 1923 approved a measure prohibiting parochial schools from teaching the first eight grades, and Portland Klan candidates won seats on the city commission in the same year.

This thesis is a case study of the Klan's political activities in Grand Forks, North Dakota, the trading center of the fertile wheatlands of the northern Red River Valley. Here, the local Klan followed the national trend toward political success by electing its adherents to both the school board in 1924 and the city commission in 1924 and 1926. Its majority on the commission in 1926 enabled it to fire several city employees whom the Klan considered undesirable. In 1926 the two Klansman on the school board helped to approve compulsory daily Bible readings in the public schools.