Knights of the Golden Circle

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Knights of the Golden Circle

Four symbols of the K.G.C., according to the 1861 "Authentic Exposition"
Formation 1854
Founder George W. L. Bickley

The Knights of the Golden Circle (K.G.C.) was an American fraternal (and later clandestine) society and paramilitary group, reputedly founded by George W. L. Bickley and others at Lexington, Kentucky on the 4th of July 1854 (with the first Castle being established in Cincinnati that same year), that sought to increase the political authority of the slave-holding class within American society, first through the promotion of aggressive territorial expansion and the establishment of new pro-slavery states, toward which end it engaged on two occasions in attempts to invade Mexico, and ultimately by supporting the secessionist Confederate States of America, including engagement in acts of sabotage against the United States. During the American Civil War, Northern state members of the K.G.C. splintered and formed new clandestine organisations for the purpose of subverting the efforts of the Union, including the Order of American Knights and the Order of the Sons of Liberty.

Following the defeat of the Confederacy, some have reported that the K.G.C. continued to operate underground as a grand conspiracy, holding it responsible for the activities of, among others, the James-Younger Gang, believing that the Knights were hoarding stolen gold and money in secret caches for the purpose of funding a Second Civil War and the establishment of a new empire, with the ultimate goal being the conquest of states and territories in a "Golden Circle," including the former C.S.A., Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, San Salvador, Colombia, and the Caribbean (including Haiti and Cuba).

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Contemporary Accounts

Later Accounts

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