The Knights of the Golden Circle
It was the inspirational philosophies of John C. Calhoun that sparked the rise of the Knights of the Golden Circle from many Southern Rights Clubs scattered throughout the Southern US during the 1830’s. The KGC is also rumored to have evolved from the Order of the Lone Star, which was instrumental in organizing the independence of Texas from Mexico.
The goals of the KGC were to establish a Slave-holding empire in the Southern US, Mexico and Cuba where the capital would be. The plan was to change the land of Mexico into 15 slaveholding states that would shift the balance of power in Congress in favor of slavery. This plan would also ensure they were well funded with enormous slave powered operations for cotton, coffee, indigo, tobacco, mining and more.
Newspapers reported the mass recruitment of soldiers in various cities as the KGC began to draw up plan for their invasion of Mexico. While no one is sure what happened next, the invasion never took place. This could have been due to a severe lack of troops and resources necessary for the campaign as well as the brewing war with the North that would require all the focus and supplies of the KGC. Knowing they couldn’t possibly go to war on two fronts, the KGC called off the invasion of Mexico.
The KGC were active throughout the Civil War, but when the South Decided to secede to the Union, it became apparent that the invasion of Mexico was becoming less and less likely. By the end of the war, the KGC was largely disbanded and many joined Gen. Joseph O. Shelby, Chandler, Mathis, and Zivley, who attempted to defect to Mexico. The Emperor Maximiliano declined the services of the ex-confederates but many KGC were granted land and peace in the land they hoped to conquer and enslave.
By 1916, the KGC was decommissioned for two important reasons. Most of the original Knights had died and the US was preparing to enter the first World War.
To learn more about the life of John C. Calhoun, please watch the video embedded below!