February 21, 2024

By David Klepper, Related Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A brutal battle in Europe was recent in folks’s minds and the race for the White Home turned ugly as discuss of secret societies and corruption roiled the USA.

It was 1800, and conspiracy theories had been flourishing throughout America. Partisan newspapers unfold tales of European elites looking for to grab management of the younger democracy. Preachers in New England warned of plots to abolish Christianity in favor of godlessness and depravity.

This bogeyman of the early republic was the Illuminati, a secret group based in Germany devoted to free pondering and opposed to non secular dogma. Regardless of the Illuminati’s lack of actual affect in America, conspiracy theorists imagined the group’s fingerprints had been all over the place. They stated Illuminati manipulation had triggered France’s Reign of Terror, the wave of executions and persecutions the adopted the French Revolution. They feared one thing related in America.

From the witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts, to fears of the Illuminati, from the Pink Scare to the John Birch Society to QAnon, conspiracy theories have served as darkish counterprogramming to the American story taught in historical past books. If a wholesome democracy depends on the belief of its residents, then conspiracy theories present what occurs when that belief begins to fray.