Exalted Cyclops

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A cartoon threatening that the KKK will lynch scalawags (left) and carpetbaggers (right) on March 4, 1869, the day President Grant takes office. Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Independent Monitor, September 1, 1868. A full-scale scholarly history analyzes the cartoonː Guy W. Hubbs, Searching for Freedom after the Civil War: Klansman, Carpetbagger, Scalawag, and Freedman (2015).[1]

The Exalted Cyclops is a position within the hierarchy of the Ku Klux Klan, the oldest militant terrorist arm of the American Democratic Party.[2]


The Exalted Cyclops presides over the Council of the Centaurs and writes quarterly reports to the Grand Giant. In the Klan hierarchy, each local chapter, or Klavern, is led by an Exalted Cyclops. This member is typically elected by his fellow Klansmen and serves a one-year term. According to the original (1867 Prescript of the Ku Klun Klan[3]) the Exalted Cyclops reports to a Grand Giant, or provincial leader; a Grand Dragon, or state director; and the Grand Wizard, or national chair. Below the Cyclops on the org chart were the Grand Magi, the Grand Monk, the Grand Exchequer, the Grand Turk, and, finally, the rank-and-file members known as Ghouls or Knights. (Many of these titles have changed over time, and most of the sub-Cyclops ranks have been eliminated.) The Exalted Cyclops' responsibilities include presiding over Klavern meetings, initiating new members, and appointing Councils of Centaurs—that's Klan-speak for a jury—to try and punish wayward Ghouls.[4]

Second Klan

The Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. which existed from 1915 to 1944, elaborated on the original prescript in its Kloran and in the constitution and by-laws adopted in 1922.[Citation Needed] Some titles and jurisdictional designations were carried over from the Reconstruction prescripts intact or slightly modified, and others were original with Imperial Wizard Simmons.

In Massachusetts, it was exposed by Hearst's International that prominent birth control activist Lothrop Stoddard, an outspoken white supremacist, was an Exalted Cyclops of the state's Klan.[5] (see also: Birth control and racism) Historian David M. Chalmers writes that sound evidence confirms Stoddard's KKK membership.[6]


The basic unit of the Second Era KKK was known simply as a Klan. Its area of jurisdiction was a Klanton which was defined as "extend[ing] in all directions to a distance midway between the location of the Klan and the nearest Klan thereto" unless otherwise directed by the Grand Dragon or Imperial Wizard. The chief officer of a Klan was an Exalted Cyclops and the subordinate officers were known as the Twelve Terrors.[7]


Groups of Klansmen were commissioned for "special activities." A Wrecking Crew is an action squad commissioned to take physical action against enemies and wayward members of the Klan. Depending on time and organization, these groups consisted of five to eight members and were authorized either by the Klokann, the Exalted Cyclops and/or the Kludd. Sometimes led by the Nighthawk. An action taken by the crew is wrecked. Some names used by wrecking crews include "Secret Six", "Ass-tear Squad" and "Holy terrors.".[8][9]

See also


  1. Hubbs, Guy W. (May 15, 2015). "Searching for Freedom after the Civil War: Klansman, Carpetbagger, Scalawag, and Freedman". University Alabama Press.
  2. Historian Eric Foner observed: "In effect, the Klan was a military force serving the interests of the Democratic party, the planter class, and all those who desired restoration of white supremacy. Its purposes were political, but political in the broadest sense, for it sought to affect power relations, both public and private, throughout Southern society. It aimed to reverse the interlocking changes sweeping over the South during Reconstruction: to destroy the Republican party's infrastructure, undermine the Reconstruction state, reestablish control of the black labor force, and restore racial subordination in every aspect of Southern life."Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863–1877 (1988), p. 425–426.
  3. Ku Klux Klan: Its Origin, Growth and Disbandment, John C. Lester, Daniel Love Wilson, Neale Publishing Company, 1905.
  4. https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2010/06/robert-byrd-was-an-exalted-cyclops-in-the-ku-klux-klan-what-does-that-mean.html
  5. 1923. Hearst's International: Vol. 44, p. 10. Google Books. Retrieved December 12, 2022.
  6. Chalmers, David M. (1987). Hooded Americanism: The History of the Ku Klux Klan, pp. 270–71. Internet Archive. Retrieved December 12, 2022.
  7. Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc Constitution and Laws of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc Atlanta, Ga; Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc 1921 [pref. Nov. 1922] pp.13–14, 59.
  8. Michael and Judy Ann Newton eds. The Ku Klux Klan; an encyclopedia, Garland Reference Library of the Social Science Vol.499, London and New York; Garland Publishing Inc. 1991, p.623.
  9. Anti-Defamation League Danger: Extremism; New York; Anti-Defamation League 1996 e p.393.