The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941 Page: 288
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
widely spread over all the South. That such an organization
actually existed was not generally known then and is not widely
known today. Thousands of people then as now never heard of
it. Most of those who had heard of the organization knew little
or nothing of its purposes and activities,2 and history has passed
it by with only an occasional mention. Reliable evidence indi-
cates that the order had local clubs or meeting places in almost
every southern state. More than twenty such local organizations
can be located in Texas alone. Lodges are said to have existed
in California and even in Mexico.3
When first organized the association is said to have had rather
ambitious plans and objectives. The idea and name, Golden
Circle, came from the proposal that with Havana as a center
and a radius of sixteen geographical degrees or about 1,200
miles, a great circle be drawn that would include Maryland,
Kentucky, southern Missouri, all the states south of them, a
portion of Kansas, most of Texas and Old Mexico, all of Central
America, the northern part of South America, and all the West
Indies.4 This area they proposed to unite into a gigantic slave
empire that would rival in power and prestige the Roman Empire
of two thousand years ago. Within this dream-empire were
the regions that produced nearly all the world's supply of to-
bacco, cotton, and sugar, and much of its finest rice and coffee.
With a virtual world monopoly of these important commodities,
it would have been in fact a rich region, stretching around the
Gulf of Mexico like a great golden circle. Once firmly estab-
lished, this empire would control the commerce of the Gulf of
Mexico, the West Indies, the Isthmian routes, the Mississippi,
the Orinoco, and perhaps the Amazon. The dream was fantastic,
but tremendously intriguing.5 Slaveholders who were becoming
discouraged on account of the recent course of events in the
21In 1919-1920 more than fifty ex-Confederate soldiers who had enlisted from
Texas were interviewed by Mr. M. L. Arnold. He stated that two of these
men had been members and only two or three others had ever heard of the
organization. Marcus L. Arnold, The Later Phases of the Secession Move-
ment in Texas, 31-32, an unpublished Master's thesis, University of Texas,
1920. Dudley G. Wooten, A Comprehensive History of Texas, II, 50.
3Elijah Robinson Kennedy, Contest for California in 1861, pp. 72-73;
New Orleans Picayune, March 18, 1860; New Orleans Crescent, May 8, 1860.
4Oliver T. Morton, Southern Empire, 4; Rossiter Johnson, Short History
of the War of Secession, 24; Benson J. Lossing, Pictorial History of the
Civil War, I, 187; Dallas Herald, February 20, 1861; Hubert Howe Ban-
croft, Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft, XVI, 433-434; Raleigh Address, 20.
>Foulke, op. cit., I, 376; Rossiter Johnson, op. cit., 24-25; Dallas Herald,
February 20, 1861.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941, periodical, 1941; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146052/m1/325/: accessed July 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.