Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Clue #34: The Sons of Liberty -- and the Knights of the Golden Circle

The 34th Twitter clue, sent about 12:04 p.m. PDT on Wed. July 8th:
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http://twitpic.com/9ph81 - Who flew this rebellious banner?
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The URL is a hot link to a TwitPic showing a flag with 9 alternating red and white stripes. I'm sure a lot of people thought this was some just the right-hand edge of some kind of Colonial-era flag.
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No. It was the whole thing, as a really careful inspection of the TwitPic showed.
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In fact, this was the nine-striped flag of the Sons of Liberty, a Revolutionary War-era group (really, an association of local resistance groups given a common name) responsible for such activities as the Boston Tea Party. Their 9-striped flag (shown above) was called the "rebellious stripes flag," echoing the clue.
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However, this is not all. (Come on, guys -- this is Dan Brown. The surface answer is almost never enough.) There are two more connections to make with the Sons of Liberty, one of which is just devious, the other of which is downright inflammatory.
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First, there is a connection to Freemasonry. For over two centuries, the myth has been that a lodge of Freemasons, St. Andrew's Lodge of Boston, was behind the Boston Tea Party. The actual story is a bit more complicated. (Read the details in S. Brent Morris' excellent The Complete Idiot's Guide to Freemasonry.) Overall, my opinion is that a number of Masonic brethren discussed the upcoming demonstration, perhaps even in lodge, and then participated in it; thus, the Boston Tea Party was a production of Masons (and many others), but was not itself a Masonic activity.
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Now for the inflammatory part. The name, "Sons of Liberty," was appropriated over 80 years after the Revolutionary War by another group that is almost certain to appear in The Lost Symbol: the Knights of the Golden Circle.
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During the Civil War, some of Lincoln's political opponents also opposed the war itself. Such groups and individuals were derisively labelled Copperheads (for the snake) by Lincoln's supporters. Copperheads wanted an immediate truce to the war; some encouraged resistance to the Union draft, shielded Union Army deserters, and sometimes planned to help Confederate prisoners of war take over their prison camps.
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A large Copperhead group, the Knights of the Golden Circle, was actually organized in Cincinnati, Ohio, almost a decade before the war, in 1854. Gaining much sympathy in the South, their agenda was to take over Mexico as a slave-owning state of the Union; they raised armed groups to do so, although their attacks on Mexico were unsuccessful. With the outbreak of the Civil War, they changed agenda to work to help the Confederacy. The Golden Circle reorganized in 1863 as the Order of the Sons of Liberty, just before they officially dissolved as their support in the North evaporated the following year in the face of Union military victories.
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But did they really dissolve? Or did they just disappear from sight?
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Before the war, the Knights of the Golden Circle were very interested in bringing the territories of what is now in the Southwest into the U.S. as slave states. They had operatives in those territories, part of which was obtained for the U.S. in the Gadsden Purchase (a name we met in Clue #28; perhaps that clue was just left to put the name Gadsden out there).
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There have been rumors for years that the Knights of the Golden Circle endured as a totally secret society after the Civil War, and amassed a fortune in gold that they hid--and that is still out there somewhere, held in secrecy to help finance the rise of the Old South again, some day. (A commenter on this blog says he is Warren Getler, co-author of a book investigating these rumors, for which Getler is convinced he's found evidence. Getler is also convinced that Albert Pike of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry was a member of the Knights of the Golden Circle.)
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So, here's where this might all go in The Lost Symbol: one piece of the puzzle would involve a conspiracy dating from before the Civil War, as the Knights of the Golden Circle, underground as the Sons of Liberty, have hidden the Confederate gold for a century, with the help of Albert Pike of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. Now, in our era, someone plans to use that gold -- but for some sinister purpose, no doubt . . .
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[The image of the flag was obtained from Wikimedia Commons through Wikipedia, and is in the public domain.]
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(Copyright 2009 Mark E. Koltko-Rivera. All Rights Reserved.)
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3 comments:

  1. "(A commenter on this blog says he is Warren Getler, co-author of a book investigating these rumors, for which Getler is convinced he's found evidence. Getler is also convinced that Albert Pike of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry was a member of the Knights of the Golden Circle.)"

    Okay, that explains his reference elsewhere to the KGC and the Scottish Rite. Another wild and unsubstantiated conspiracy theory.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have Mr. Getler's book on order. I'll be evaluating the evidence and will report on it, in some venue -- probably on this blog, certainly in my own book.

    ReplyDelete
  3. How many lost symbols you collect?

    ReplyDelete

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