Native-Born American Racist Terrorist Organization: The Ku Klux Klan

1585 Words Jun 10th, 2013 7 Pages
The Ku Klux Klan is a native-born American racist terrorist organization that helped overthrow Republican Reconstruction governments in the South after the Civil War and drive black people out of politics. It revived in the 20th Century as a social lodge and briefly became a nationwide political power. During the 1960s, the Klan fought the Civil Rights Movement in the South. Under attack in state and federal courts, in a racially changed and disapproving South, the Klan hangs on —marginally, but still violent.

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
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Often the victims of the Klan were not blacks, Catholics, Jews or new immigrants, but fellow white native-born Protestants who offended the Klan in some way.

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

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