White southern Democrats founded the Ku Klux Klan in the aftermath of the Civil War. The organization’s efforts to return the South to its prewar status were marked by violence against white Republicans and southern blacks. In 1871, after hearing reports of whippings and lynchings, the U.S. Congress established the Joint Select Committee to Inquire into the Condition of Affairs in the Late Insurrectionary States in order to investigate the Klan and other secret organizations.
John Brown Gordon, an Atlanta lawyer and former lieutenant general in the Confederate army, was one of...
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