Saturday, December 10, 2011

While we have written before on the alleged presence of African Americans among the Ku Klux Klan (see our article: ) we would like to bring to your attention the article below and its remarks on former slaves among Wade Hampton's Red Shirts in the reconstruction era.

EXCERPTS: Another side to the Story of Reconstruction -Part 31 by Bill Vallante

*Note – “Red Shirts” is a reference to the paramilitary rifle clubs used by Wade Hampton during his run for governor of South Carolina in 1876. The “clubs” were used to counter the tendency on the part of the Radical Republicans to use the (primarily black) state militia to enforce its will. There were also a number of black “Red Shirt Rifle Clubs”.

Beaufort South Carolina – 90% black. Hampton met at the station by a Red Shirt escort that included a contingent of blacks. Among these black Red Shirts may have been “the mounted black cadre”, a group that traveled to Join Hampton at some of his campaign stops around the state. Several in the cadre were black Confederate veterans. [Wade Hampton, Confederate Warrior, Conservative Statesman, Brian Cisco, P. 239]

"It's been a long time since I see you. Maybe you has forgot but I ain't forgot de fust time I put dese lookers on you, in '76. Does you 'members dat day? It was in a piece of pines beyond de Presbyterian Church, in Winnsboro, S. C. Us both had red shirts."
Ed Barber, South Carolina, (The Slave Narratives)"

Albert Pike, Freemasonry and the KGC

Caveat Lector

EXCERPT: "In 1854, Gourgas assisted Freemason Killian Van Rensselaer in founding the Masonic front organization, the Knights of the Golden Circle in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Golden Circle immediately absorbed the Masonic operatives in Young America and became the military pre-organization of the Confederacy.45 The Knights of the Golden Circle rode west across Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, then south along the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico, and east into Maryland and Virginia. Along the way they opened castles (chapters) and signed up recruits. Freemason John Quitman opened a castle of the Knights in Jackson, Mississippi. Like-wise, Albert Pike opened one in New Orleans, through which Mazzini’s Mafia would later enter the United States following the Civil War.

One of the recruits initiated into the Knights of the Golden Circle was General and Freemason P.T. Beauregard (1818-1893), a West Point graduate of 1838, and brother-in-law of Louisiana’s political boss, Freemason John Slidell. Beauregard is credited with starting the Civil War with his surprise attack on Fort Sumter in 1861.

Long before Fort Sumter, however, Caleb Cushing realized that the anti-slavery north and the pro-slavery south were too far removed geographically to start a civil war over slavery. A division between neigh¬bors in close proximity had to be created before a war would break out nationally. Such a division was guaranteed by the first order of congressional business during the Pierce Administration — the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act. This act called for the Nebraska Territory to be divided into the territories of Kansas and Nebraska, whose residents would then determine whether slavery would be permitted or not. When the bill passed, the terrible aftermath was predictable. Outrageous acts of murder and arson were committed mostly by the pro-slavery Missourians, and savage cold-blooded massacres were committed by white abolitionists under the command of John Brown.

What is little known about John Brown (1800-1859) is that he spent much of his adult life in secret societies, including the Oddfellows, Sons of Temperance, and the Freemasons. Brown was made a Master Mason in Hudson Lodge No. 68, Hudson, Ohio, on May 11, 1824, and he served as junior deacon from 1825 to 1826. He renounced Freemasonry in 1830, when anti-Masonic fervor swept the nation.” Caleb Cushing, however, viewed John Brown as the perfect candidate to bring about the insur¬rection of the Southern states. As an anti-Mason, Brown would never be suspected as being an agent of Freemasonry. John Brown had joined Mazzini’s Young America during the Pierce Administration, and was supported financially by the John Jacob Astor Masonic interest in Boston and New York. After receiving instructions from Caleb Cushing, John Brown deliberately set out to instigate civil war in America.

In January 1857, Freemason James Buchanan was elected president to replace Franklin Pierce. John A. Quitman, father of Mississippi Freemasonry and leader of the southern secessionists, was the repre¬sentative from Mississippi in the House of Representatives. Quitman was slated to be the next Sovereign Grand Commander of the Southern Jurisdiction of Scottish Rite Freemasonry, but on July 17, 1858, he suddenly died — by poisoning, according to Masonic authority.~ Quit-man’s intimate friend Albert’ Pike, the man groomed by Cushing to take over Southern Freemasonry, conducted a lodge of sorrows in Quit-man’s memory, and a year later was elected to fill the post that Quitman would have held. Albert Pike then became the leader of the Southern secessionists.

Masonry and the Southern Confederacy

After Buchanan was elected president, he appointed to government posts those who were sure to start the Southern revolt. To the post of attorney general, Buchanan appointed Freemason Edwin M. Stanton of Pennsylvania, who would later be implicated in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Buchanan appointed Freemason Howell Cobb of Georgia as secretary of the treasury. In March 1860, Cobb was elevated to the 33rd degree, and appointed by Albert Pike, leader of the secessionists in Georgia and chairman of the convention which organized the Confederacy in Montgomery, Alabama.

To the post of secretary of war, Buchanan appointed Freemason John B. Floyd, of St. Johns Lodge No. 36 in Richmond, Virginia. Two weeks before the 1860 presidential elections, Floyd quietly concluded an agreement with South Carolina’s governor William Gist to sell 10,000 U.S. government rifles to his home state of South Carolina, In January 1861, Floyd was indicted in Washington, D.C., for giving aid while he was secretary of war to secessionist leaders. He demanded an immediate trial and that same month a committee of Masons from the House of Representatives exonerated him. That same year he was made brigadier general in the Confederate Army.
Buchanan’s vice president was Freemason John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky. Breckinridge was in attendance at the 1860 national conven¬tion of the Democratic party held at Charleston, S.C., the headquarters of the Southern Jurisdiction of Freemasonry. Presiding over the con¬vention was Northern Jurisdiction Freemason Caleb Cushing. Under Cushing’s supervision, the Gulf states delegation staged a walkout, formed their own convention, and elected Cushing as its chairman. The secessionists nominated Breckinridge as their candidate for president On March 28, 1860, while campaigning in Kentucky; Breckinridge received the 33rd degree from Albert Pike.

Meanwhile, the newly formed Republican party nominated Abraham Lincoln as its presidential candidate. Lincoln, not a Mason, won the election. That same year Breckinridge was elected U.S. Senator from Kentucky. At the beginning of the Civil War, Breckinridge defended the South in the Senate and soon entered the Confederate service, for which act he was expelled from the Senate on December 4, 1861. Freemason Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States, appointed Breckinridge as his secretary of war.
It seems likely that Albert Pike had instigated the process of secession immediately after Lincoln’s election. For example, on December 20,1860, the state of South Carolina, headquarters of the Southern Jurisdiction of Freemasonry, was the first state to secede. On that same day, the state of Mississippi, whose secessionist organization had been created by the late Scottish Rite leader, John A. Quitman, followed South Carolina’s lead. And on that same day, Freemason John Floyd, secretary of war under the still-presiding President Buchanan, performed another act of treason by ordering “the Allegheny arsenal at Pittsburgh to send 113 heavy columbiad cannons and eleven 32-pound cannons to the unfinished, undefended U.S. forts at Ship Island, Mississippi, and Galveston, Texas, where they could be seized by the insurrectionists.”

On December 22, 1860, the state of Florida followed suit and seceded from the Union, led by U.S. Senator David Levy Yulee, member of Hayward Lodge No. 7, Gainesville, Florida, The state of Alabama seceded on December 24, 1860,. On January 2, 1861, Georgia’s secession was led by two Freemasons, Howell Cobb, President Buchanan’s secretary of the treasury, and Robert Toombs, who became the first secretary of state of the Confederacy. Both men received the honorary 33rd degree after the Civil War. Louisiana’s secession occurred on January 7, 1861, led by two Freemasons, John Slidell and Pierre Soule. Soule also received the honorary 33rd degree after the Civil War. Backed by thousands of armed paramilitary Knights of the Golden Circle, Texas forced Governor and Freemason Sam Houston to secede in February, 1861. On April 12, 1861, General and Freemason P.T. Beauregard (1818-1893), a member of the Knights of the Golden Circle, was ordered to attack Fort Sumter, South Carolina, The American Civil War had begun. Anton Chaitkin writes:

    After Lincoln unexpectedly ordered a national mobilization to crush the rebellion, the Knights of the Golden Circle engaged in paramilitary and espionage operations in the North, along with parallel and successor groups under different names — none, however, publicly carried its proper name: Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry.

All in all, eleven southern states seceded from the Union, yet the Confederate flag had 13 stars, a sacred Masonic number, signaling to those who understood that the secession of the Southern states was motivated by the Knights Templar’s Southern Jurisdiction of Scottish Rite of Freemasonry.

President Lincoln’s inauguration was held on March 4, 1861. Of the appointments to his cabinet, he made one fatal judgment. He appointed Freemason Edwin Stanton, Buchanan’s former attorney general, as his secretary of war. When Lincoln came to Washington to assume the presidency, Freemasonry’s armed Knights of the Golden Circle were foiled by General Winfield Scott in their first of two attempts to assassinate Lincoln. Stanton would be implicated in the second and fatal attempt."

The Knights of the Golden Circle Research and Historical Archives

Gimme That Red-State Religion

Caveat Lector
Gimme That Red-State Religion
EXCERPT: "The Southern Era

For 50 of the nation's first 62 years, Southern men such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe and Andrew Jackson dominated the executive branch. In keeping with the Scots-Irish penchant for bold leaders, Washington, Jackson and Zachary Taylor were elected thanks to their reputations as war heroes.

Southern presidents were also largely responsible for the country's great expansion: Jefferson with his Louisiana Purchase and James Knox Polk with his Mexican War. But by the 1850s southerners were losing their grip on national power. With waves of immigration, the populations of the northern states had outstripped the southern slave states, and the south lost control of the House. With the admission of California as a free state in 1850, the Senate balance too was lost.

Polk, nicknamed "Young Hickory," was, like his mentor, a Scots-Irish Tennesseean. His mother was the bearer of a family name "that could be traced all the way back to John Knox, the grim founder of Scots Presbyterianism... "[25] Shortly after attaining the presidency in 1845, Polk provoked a war with Mexico for the purpose of obtaining more slave states.

"Polk's plan" was countered by a bill introduced by Pennsylvania Representative David Wilmot barring slavery in those territories. Wilmot's bill was blocked in the southern-dominated Senate. South Carolina Senator John C. Calhoun called slavery "a great good," and asserted, "There cannot be a durable republican government without slavery."[26]

Another scheme for an expanded southern empire came to light in 1859, when self-styled Kentucky general George F. Bickley took control of an underground group called the Knights of the Golden Circle. Bickley's plan proposed the acquisition of the remainder of Mexico, along with all of Central America, plus Columbia, Venezuela, Cuba and every island in the Caribbean. This would have resulted in the addition of 25 new slave states and monopolized the world's sugar, tobacco and slave trades.[27] Bickley claimed more than 100,000 members, mostly from Texas.[28]

Bickley's secret society--some say it was founded in 1835 by Calhoun with British backing[29]--may have been the template for the Ku Klux Klan (the Greek word "kuklos," from which "ku klux" is said to be derived, means "circle"). Several Klan leaders were members of the KGC as well as high-level Scottish Rite masons.[30]

The southern slavocracy's plan was to spin off its own country. President Lincoln was determined not to let this occur, and much blood would be shed. Not surprisingly, uneducated men of Scots Irish descent were eager for a fight on both sides.

During Reconstruction, former slave owners and their descendants turned to their Bibles, where they found certainty in the righteousness of their cause--and solace in their new status as martyrs. Even in defeat, their rebellion persisted. For another century, through terror and legal chicanery, lynchings and Jim Crow laws, they prevented blacks from exercising their Constitutional rights."

The Knights of the Golden Circle Research and Historical Archives

Knights Of The Golden Circle Mp3 Download

You might enjoy some of these.
Caveat Lector

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The KGC - from Jesse James to Janet Jackson

Usually we at least try to bring you an excerpt from an article but the link is all I'm willing to do with this one.
Caveat Lector!!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Knights of the Golden Circle

Knights of the Golden Circle
The "Golden Circle"
    The historical mysteries surrounding the American Civil War are actually fairly numerous. Ghost hunters have long known that if you want to find a haunted location just look around any Civil War battlefield. The fact of the matter is that you can find books of ghost stories related to this on the discount shelves of most large book stores. If you want my personal recommendation it won’t be for a book but a magazine:
Blue and Gray Magazine.
     This magazine has published some excellent issues on haunted locations of the American Civil War. Some of the background research they provide would greatly assist the serious paranormal researcher.  Now some of these might only be available at this point through Ebay or a specialty bookstore but they are well worth the investment.
     Right now I am more concerned with far less supernatural mysteries of the war. It seems to me that the end of just about any and every war leaves questions unanswered. Sometimes the only people who could answer the questions go to the grave without ever leaving a single letter or note to provide a clue. I think some survive the war only to fade into obscurity. They never even know they could have provided the answer to future historian’s questions.
     I think the ‘Knights of the Golden Circle’ are one of these mysteries. The KGC actually predates the Civil War; they were originally a group working towards the expansion of Southern slave interests into various Caribbean states. They advocated the annexation of these countries to become slave states in order to insure their political majority in Washington. Their efforts are not to be taken lightly; back before the Civil War you can find historical accounts of various ‘filibustering’ expeditions. These were formal invasions staged by American citizens of small sovereign nations with the intent of taking them over to establish independent states.  Some of my research indicates that the KGC was at least sympathetic if not constructively supportive of these efforts.
    Probably the most famous of the ‘filibusters’ was William Walker. Heck, I even think they made a movie about his little historical misadventure!
William Walker
The 1987 movie about Walker.
    Now I haven’t found a direct connection between Walker’s efforts and the KGC but the Knights were certainly sympathetic to such efforts. The coming of the Civil War would shift their efforts into a considerably different direction. The goal now was not the expansion of Southern slave interests but the survival of what was now a Southern slave state. This is when the efforts of the KGC start becoming increasingly mysterious. They were always a somewhat reclusive group but with the bombardment of Fort Sumter they rapidly took on the mantle of a subversive organisation to Federal authorities. They largely went underground in the Northern states and it is somewhat murky as to the extent of their activities.
    Eventually the leaders within the Confederate government saw that they couldn’t win a long war with the Union. In terms of material and human resources the Southern state was in no position to wage a war of attrition with the North. It was then seen by some in the South that unconventional measures would be necessary for their survival. It seems that there isn’t much in terms of official historical records that survived the war. Confederate Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin burned almost all the records of Confederate clandestine efforts shortly before the fall of Richmond in April 1865. Benjamin would then flee the South and live in exile in England for the rest of his life. He would also never leave a hint about what he knew about Confederate secret operations during the war.
Judah P. Benjamin
Confederate Secretary of State
   Connections between the KGC and clandestine efforts of the Confederacy are murky at best. One of the best books I have ever found that deals with some of this is:
Come Retribution:
The Confederate Secret Service and
the Assassination of Lincoln
William A. Tidwell with
James O. Hall and
David Winfred Gaddy
1988, University Press of Mississippi
ISBN 0-76070-381-7
Come Retribution
   This books goes a long way towards answering some of the questions about Confederate clandestine efforts during the war. It also demonstrates that the Confederate Secret Service was more than aware of the KGC. It is more difficult to establish how closely they worked with each other. There were people associated with the KGC that were involved with John Wilkes Booth and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The Confederacy saw the KGC as a way to establish an armed resistance movement within the Northern states but this never blossomed into what they really needed.
    With the end of the war the role of the Knights of the Golden Circle would change again. There was no longer a Southern state for them to assist. This is when a true mythology begins to come about around the KGC and the "Lost Cause". There were former Confederates that chose to flee the country after the collapse of the South. It is interesting to look at what happened to many of these folks that left. Just look up ‘Confederados’ on the internet sometime. Some of them managed to escape to Brazil and set up a colony of sorts there.
Sons of Conderate Veterans – Brazilian Chapter
Some descendants of the original ‘Confederados’ during
a festival celebrating their Southern Heritage.
    I haven’t found any information supporting any alleged connections between the ‘Confederados’ and the KGC. It seems to me that the Confederates that chose to flee the country eventually either came back peacefully or committed themselves to their new homes. Still I’ve found questions that remain about activities of the KGC after the war. Probably the most famous recent example of this was the movie ‘National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets’.
National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets
    If you get the DVD, at least with the one Laurie and I got, they have a nifty little featurette on the Knights of the Golden Circle. It doesn’t provide much more than a few minutes of cursory information but it is fun to watch. The movie itself ends up in the Black Hills around Mount Rushmore; this was another draw for us to get the movie. We love the Black Hills.
    Now when it comes to serious current research on the KGC I’ve found a couple of very interesting books and websites. I’m going to start with a Yahoo discussion group that doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves:
    I really do find this discussion group somewhat amazing. It seems like a week doesn’t pass without a posting of some incredible bit of information. If you follow up on some of the postings here you can find some interesting background information around everything from Confederate secret operations in Canada to just what Jesses James ties to the KGC might have been. I can not recommend this group enough. Even if you don’t have much to contribute it is worth it just following the things they turn up.
   I think this book got a lot of treasure hunters taking the legends of the lost gold of the Confederacy quite seriously again. It also has a lot of information on the Knights of the Golden Circle:
Shadow of the Sentinel:
One Man’s Quest to find the
Hidden Treasure of the
Warren Getler and Bob Brewer
2003, Simon & Schuster
ISBN 0-7432-1968-6
Shadow of the Sentinel
    This book contends that the KGC was a very real movement after the war. One of their major concerns was with raising the gold they thought would be needed to fund a new Southern rebellion. It looks like the rebellion never came to be but the gold might have been collected. You have to remember that this is just one of the legends around lost Confederate gold. The thing that makes this stand above some of the other books on the topic is the authors have facts to support their ideas. They even have a little gold to support their ideas as well…

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Secret Society History of the Civil War

A new link to the book "A Secret Society History of the Civil War" was recently brought to our attention by Jay Longley and you will see the content of the article posted below.  We have covered  this work by author Mark Lause, a University of Cincinnati assistant professor of history, in past articles (see and and still believe you will find it interesting.

A Secret Society History of the Civil War
Unraveling the influence and power of antebellum secret societies

This unique history of the Civil War considers the impact of nineteenth-century American secret societies on the path to as well as the course of the war. Beginning with the European secret societies that laid the groundwork for Freemasonry in the United States, Mark A. Lause analyzes how the Old World's traditions influenced various underground groups and movements in America, particularly George Lippard's Brotherhood of the Union, an American attempt to replicate the political secret societies that influenced the European revolutions of 1848. Lause traces the Brotherhood's various manifestations, the most conspicuous being the Knights of the Golden Circle (out of which developed the Ku Klux Klan), and the Confederate secret groups through which John Wilkes Booth and others attempted to undermine the Union. Lause profiles the key leaders of these organizations, with special focus on George Lippard, Hugh Forbes, and George Washington Lafayette Bickley.

Antebellum secret societies ranged politically from those with progressive or even revolutionary agendas to those that pursued conservative or oppressive goals. This book shows how, in the years leading up to the Civil War, these clandestine organizations exacerbated existing sectional tensions in the United States. Lause's research indicates that the pervasive influence of secret societies may have played a part in key events such as the Freesoil movement, the beginning of the Republican party, John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry, Lincoln's election, and the Southern secession process of 1860-1861.

This exceptional study encompasses both white and African American secret society involvement, revealing the black fraternal experience in antebellum America as well as the clandestine operations that provided assistance to escaped slaves via the Underground Railroad. Unraveling these pervasive and extensive networks of power and influence, A Secret Society History of the Civil War demonstrates that antebellum secret societies played a greater role in affecting Civil War-era politics than has been previously acknowledged.

"A fascinating and provocative study that illuminates the history of the Civil War era by probing the relationship between political secret societies and social radicalism in Europe and antebellum reform and sectional crisis in the United States. This book will be a tremendous resource of information for scholars, and it is one of the most genuinely original works that I have ever read."--Robert E. May, author of Manifest Destiny's Underworld: Filibustering in Antebellum America

"A challenging look at the reality of Civil War-era secret societies. This work opens up enormous possibilities for future research, prompting us to reconsider--or indeed consider for the first time--people and perspectives that have been, at best, on the periphery of studies of the Civil War era."--Susan-Mary Grant, author of The War for a Nation: The American Civil War

"Dispelling the mysticism and self-aggrandizement of fraternal orders in antebellum America, Mark A. Lause successfully removes the Panjandrum from the panorama of American secret societies. The result is a careful examination of the consequence of secret societies and their place in shaping America’s national identity on the eve of the Civil War."--Michael A. Halleran, author of The Better Angels of Our Nature: Freemasonry in the American Civil War

Mark A. Lause is a professor of history at the University of Cincinnati and the author of numerous books, including Price's Lost Campaign: The 1864 Invasion of Missouri, Race and Radicalism in the Union Army, The Antebellum Crisis and America's First Bohemians, and Young America: Land, Labor, and the Republican Community.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Lady Gaga and the Knights of the Golden Circle

Lady Gaga and the Knights of the Golden Circle
I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.
Caveat Lector
Further Studies: Lady Gaga’s "Marry The Night" Video And The Lincoln Assassination
EXCERPT:  “Our existence is best marked in an odious coal-black on the totemic notch-post by the emergence of clandestine occurrences and the prevalence of tragedy throughout sectional controversies and hazardous progressions (quotation attributed to Historian Dr. Chevard Potrois II of the French Undergraduate Chronicle and Katalogue) and (the author will now continue) it is only through the interpretation of these cantles of our human tome that we may rationalize the affluent absurdities syncopating our modern American homeostasis. The paramount cultural lapse by an individual is our capital affliction; yet, it is our principal aid in rejuvenating the ills of our national impasses.
A most prominent “aesthetical distortion,” a term created by author Jim Horntonson in his novel The Roulette of Noon, of the moment is Lady Gaga’s visual set for her composition “Marry The Night,” and the included vignettes--though preliminarily labeled amateur avant garde artistic expressions detailed by obvious Freudian motifs—are a topic for the most careful of academic analysis.
I was first struck by the phrase “Marry the Night” when Gaga’s motorbike long-play (known as an LP in most circles) was released, not for the obvious metaphors behind the action of eloping with the “night,” but for the spellings beneath the words. “Marry the Night” may mean little; however, “Mary the Knight” speaks much more into the factual, tapping into associations involved in the assassination of President Lincoln on April 14, 1865.
Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary
American history is riddled with federal justice by the implementation of judicial punishment by death, and a most interesting occurrence tied to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln is that it birthed the first execution of a woman by the United States federal government. Mary Elizabeth Jenkins Surratt, owner of a boarding house in what is now the Chinatown sector of Washington D.C., was convicted on May 22, 1865 as a conspirator in the assassination of President Lincoln, and it is her name that acts as the skeleton key to unlocking the Lady Gaga association.
The Surname “Surratt” is of French origins, thus explaining the Parisian mentionings in the opening monologue of the “Marry the Night” music video (see An Autobiography Biography of Mary Surratt by Michelle Michelle Lawson), and correlates into the later mentioning of fame, which, by obvious association, speak to primary assassin John Wilkes Booth and his famed acting career prior to his crime.
A Knight to Remember
A long-dismissed essay by Hominid Anthropologist Richard Normandy titled A Simple List: The Assassination Unknowns details many aspects of the Surratt boardinghouse often labeled esoteric by mainstream academia, though a particular statistic (see page 35, article 7a) recounts a legally attained roster of the tenants staying in the Surratt dwelling in the plotting hours prior to Lincoln’s assassination, one of them being M. Knight Marmalande, which, upon simple logical supposition, is in fact a moniker placed by John Wilkes Booth. The tie within is his association with the Baltimore sect of the Knights of the Golden Circle, a secret society supposedly involved in clandestine plannings to attain and convert Caribbean, Mexican territories, and Central America into United States slave states. Notable members, though not proven, include Jesse James, Sam Houston, and Franklin Pierce (see Daryl Wallace-Steven’s essay Golden Nights: The Truth Behind Lincoln’s Assassination).
It is historically proven that the influence by the Knights of the Golden Circle’s idolatries is a primary aspect in the development of Booth’s intention to kidnap President Lincoln, as well as a key negotiator in Mary Surratt’s convincing to participate, and instances of this can be seen in the running motifs of mental stresses and instabilities throughout the “Marry the Night” vignette. They are an impressionistic reenactment of the cognizant evolution in Booth’s vision, the vision of his “Knighthood,” and his promise that Mary Surratt could earn her Knighthood in the Golden Circle upon successful capture of Lincoln. They are a flesh depiction of morality’s turbulence—“Mary, The Knight,” a dream deferred.
“I'm gonna marry the night. I won't give up on my life. I'm a warrior queen. Live passionately tonight… I'm a soldier to my own emptiness…I'm a sinner… Come on and run…” – Lady Gaga
The end result here is that the plot in Lady Gaga’s “Marry the Night” music video is an interpretation of the failed attempt to kidnap Abraham Lincoln, she being a primary character in her imaginations on participating in the odious event. It seems in hopes that Gaga and her production crew attempted to craft an enigma, something that would come to puzzle academics, fans, and desperate undergraduate film students for years, though it only takes a simple readjustment of angle to fully decipher the truths of the piece. “Mary, The Knight”: it echoes oft like Kurtz’ final breaths in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.
JT Langley
“Lady Gaga: Recollections of an Assassin’s Reincarnation”
Musicians Fiend Magazine
December 2, 1987