Native-Born American Racist Terrorist Organization: The Ku Klux Klan
In the summer of 1866, six young ex-Confederate officers organized a social club. Drawing on their college Greek, they adopted the term for circle, "kuklos." They added the alliterative word "klan," and the "Ku Klux Klan" was …show more content…
Between four million and seven million men and women belonged to the Klan in this era. It was active in every state. It found support in many northern and western cities and was particularly politically powerful in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Colorado, and Oregon, as well as the South. The Klan helped elect state and local officials and at least 20 governors and U.S. senators — from Maine to California. In Oregon, a Klan-dominated legislature passed an anti-Catholic school law, later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court (Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 1925), that required public school attendance. The Klan was deeply involved in politics, but it did not form its own political party. It was generally Democratic in the South and Republican in the North. It had no national platform. The Klan was a major issue at the 1924 Democratic Convention and the national election; in the 1928 presidential election, when New York Catholic Al Smith was the Democratic candidate, it helped the Republicans win.
The Klan came to town bringing social excitement, Protestant morality, and reform. Prohibition was the great crusade, corrupt political machines were a useful issue, and Catholicism was held up as the leading conspiratorial threat to a Protestant Anglo-Saxon America. However, the Klan