Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Anthony Dell’Aera




crime, terrorism, organizations, government


Throughout American history, terrorist groups and organized crime groups have operated in the shadows and in the public eye, often with significant media attention and even glorification in some parts of popular culture. Yet these two entities are seldom considered in the same breath despite their similarities. My thesis examines the makeup of organized crime syndicates and cross-examines it with that of terrorist organizations, with the purpose of determining key characteristics of each group. It will then examine the history and political circumstances surrounding the founding of the Ku Klux during the Reconstruction Era and later following their rebirth in the 1915. This will assist in understanding the formation of these groups, their operations, and governmental responses to deal with these organizations. There is perhaps no more notorious such group than the Ku Klux Klan, and I believe that by studying the Klan through this new lens defining terrorism and organized crime, we can better understand its origins, its impact on society, and counter-terror strategies taken by governmental and non-governmental agents, in an attempt to end the violence of the Ku Klux Klan. This explanation will, in turn, further speak of the legacy of major actors such as President Grant as well as the impact of Klansmen on today’s conservative culture.