In 1855, George Bickley, a resident of Cincinnati, Ohio, organized Knights of the Golden Circle (KGC) a powerful and secret Southern Rights, White Supremacist society. The KGC financed illegal slave ships after slave importing was abolished in 1808, and pushed for the re-establishment of the African slave-trade. The KGC was an enthusiastic supporter of the War with Mexico, in hopes that country would be conquered and carved-up into fifteen new slave states, insuring a pro-slave balance of power in Congress.
The KGC also had a plan to create a confederation of slave-holding states in Cuba, the West Indies, Mexico, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America which would be fueled by slave labor in the cotton, sugar, tobacco, rice, coffee, indigo, and mining industries.
John H. Surratt, one of the Lincoln assassination conspirators, wrote in his journal about being recruited into the KGC by John Wilkes Booth. He wrote of elaborate and secret ceremonies and rituals that included White House cabinet members, congressmen, judges, and other politicians. Surratt writes in his diary that the KGC began plotting to kidnap Abraham Lincoln in 1860, and continued plotting until the assassination by Booth on April 14, 1865.
Strong evidence suggests that 33rd degree Mason Albert Pike, Sovereign Grand Commander of the Scottish Rite’s Southern Jurisdiction, and author of the Masonic Rites, was the genius behind the influence and power of the KGC. The rituals and degree structure bear the influence of Freemasonry. However, Freemasonry is never mentioned in any KGC writings. Legend has it that the Knights hid a fortune in Lost Confederate Gold in the last days of the war. Others have linked them to the KKK.
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