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What Is The History Of The Ku Klux Klan?

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enotes

Posted October 9, 2011 at 4:00 PM via web

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What Is The History Of The Ku Klux Klan?

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fact-finder

Posted October 10, 2011 at 4:00 PM (Answer #1)

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The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) is a white supremacist group originally formed in 1865 in Pulaski, Tennessee, when Confederate Army veterans formed what they called a social club. The first leader (called the "Grand Wizard") was Nathan Bedford Forrest (1821–1877), a former general in the Confederate Army. On April 12, 1864, in the final days of the Civil War (1861–65), he led a massacre of three hundred black soldiers in service of the Union Army at Fort Pillow, Tennessee.

The Ku Klux Klan waged a campaign of terror against blacks in the South during Reconstruction (1865–77), the twelve-year period of rebuilding that followed the war. Klan members, cloaked in robes and hoods to disguise their identity, threatened, beat, and killed many blacks. While the group deprived its victims of their rights as citizens, their intent was also to intimidate the entire black population and keep them out of politics. White people who supported the federal government's measures to extend rights to all black citizens also became the victims of the Klan. Membership in the group grew quickly and the Ku Klux Klan soon had a presence throughout the South.

In 1871 the U.S. Congress (the country's law-making body) passed the Force Bill, giving President Ulysses S. Grant (1822–1885) the authority to direct federal troops against the Klan. The action was successful, causing the group to disappear—but only for a time. In 1915 the society was newly organized at Stone Mountain, Georgia, as "The Invisible Empire, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc." This time the group widened its focus to include Roman Catholics (people who believe in a Christian religion headed by a pope and based in Rome, Italy), immigrants (people from one country who permanently settle in another), and Jews, as well as blacks. Members of all of these groups became targets of KKK harassment, which now included torture and whippings. Proclaiming its mission of "racial purity," the KKK became a national organization and managed to get its members elected to public office in many states in the North as well as the South. By the 1940s, with America's attention focused on World War II (1939–45), the Klan died out or went completely underground. The group had another resurgence, however, during the 1950s and into the early 1970s, as the nation struggled through the Civil Rights movement (a campaign for equal rights for African Americans that began in the South during the 1960s). The Klan still exists today, promoting the extremist views of its membership and staging marches.

Further Information: "Ku Klux Klan." MSN Encarta. [Online] Available http://encarta.msn.com/index/conciseindex/2A/02A61000.htm, November 1, 2000; "Ku Klux Klan." Electric Library. [Online] Available http://www.encyclopedia.com/articles/07102.html, November 1, 2000; Wade, Wyn Craig. The Fiery Cross: The Ku Klux Klan in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 27, 2012 at 11:01 PM (Answer #1)

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The Ku Klux Klan is a group that has typically been associated with racist beliefs.  It has also been involved in nativism and antisemitism.  The KKK was founded in 1866.

The KKK was originally founded as a way for white Southerners to fight Reconstruction.  The KKK of that time was anti-black and was also opposed to anyone who favored Reconstruction and the Republican Party.  

After Reconstruction ended the KKK became less prominent.  However, it came back to importance in the 1920s.  At that time, it portrayed itself as a nativist, antisemitic, and anti-Catholic organization.  It cast itself as a defender of true Americanism and traditional values.

Since its brief time in power in the '20s, the KKK has never been a major factor in America.  While there are plenty of people who espouse a racist ideology, the KKK no longer has a monopoly over these people.  As an organization, it is not very relevant today.

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demon300 | Student, Grade 10

Posted August 27, 2012 at 11:09 PM (Answer #2)

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The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) is a white supremacist group originally formed in 1865 in Pulaski, Tennessee, when Confederate Army veterans formed what they called a social club. The first leader (called the "Grand Wizard") was Nathan Bedford Forrest (1821–1877), a former general in the Confederate Army. On April 12, 1864, in the final days of the Civil War (1861–65), he led a massacre of three hundred black soldiers in service of the Union Army at Fort Pillow, Tennessee.

The Ku Klux Klan waged a campaign of terror against blacks in the South during Reconstruction (1865–77), the twelve-year period of rebuilding that followed the war. Klan members, cloaked in robes and hoods to disguise their identity, threatened, beat, and killed many blacks. While the group deprived its victims of their rights as citizens, their intent was also to intimidate the entire black population and keep them out of politics. White people who supported the federal government's measures to extend rights to all black citizens also became the victims of the Klan. Membership in the group grew quickly and the Ku Klux Klan soon had a presence throughout the South.

In 1871 the U.S. Congress (the country's law-making body) passed the Force Bill, giving President Ulysses S. Grant (1822–1885) the authority to direct federal troops against the Klan. The action was successful, causing the group to disappear—but only for a time. In 1915 the society was newly organized at Stone Mountain, Georgia, as "The Invisible Empire, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc." This time the group widened its focus to include Roman Catholics (people who believe in a Christian religion headed by a pope and based in Rome, Italy), immigrants (people from one country who permanently settle in another), and Jews, as well as blacks. Members of all of these groups became targets of KKK harassment, which now included torture and whippings. Proclaiming its mission of "racial purity," the KKK became a national organization and managed to get its members elected to public office in many states in the North as well as the South. By the 1940s, with America's attention focused on World War II (1939–45), the Klan died out or went completely underground. The group had another resurgence, however, during the 1950s and into the early 1970s, as the nation struggled through the Civil Rights movement (a campaign for equal rights for African Americans that began in the South during the 1960s). The Klan still exists today, promoting the extremist views of its membership and staging marches

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