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The Ku Klux Klan: A Racial Organisation In The United States

4999 words - 20 pages

The Ku-Klux-Klan: a racial organisation in the United States

Table of Contents

1. Preface 1
2. History and development of the Ku-Klux-Klan 1
2.1 The first Klan 1
2.2 The second Klan: 1915- 1944 2
2.3 The third Klan: 1944-1976 4
2.4 The fourth Klan 5
2.5 The fifth Klan or 33-5 6
2.6 The Ku-Klux-Klan today 7
3. Structure and traditions of the Ku-Klux-Klan 8
3.1 Appearance, Symbols and Rituals 9
4. Conclusion 11


1. Preface

No other conservative movement in the American history is as popular as the Ku-Klux-Klan, none was more militant, and none is so legendary to this day. During its 146 years long existence, the Klan has never ...view middle of the document...

Against President Andrew Johnson’s wishes, they succeed in passing the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which says that no “State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”. This law meant the end of the “Black Codes”. In view of the Fourteenth Amendment, the action of the "Freeman’s Bureau", which was designed to protect the interests of former slaves, and the act of the republicans, who had allowed the suffrage of the black, many Southerners felt compelled totake the fate into their own hands and did not even hesitate to use violence to reach their aims.
The first Klan was founded in Pulaski, Tennessee, by 6 veterans of the Confederate Army on 6th May 1866. A year later a general organization of local Klans was established in Nashville in order to define the principles of the secret organisation: It's about time to start a mass movement, which organizes a counter-revolution. Night marches in creepy costumes and the burning of crosses did not suffice anymore to frighten the black population. They were looking for a more formidable weapon which they found easily: violence, murder and manslaughter. The former Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest became Imperial Wizard. Under his leadership the Klan terrorized not only black people, but also immigrants, who were blamed for the election of Radical Republicans. By the incorporation of all other racial factions, it had the chance to extend the coverage to all the Southern States. The victims were hardly countable and the balance was so frightening that the Imperial Wizard was forced, by the outrage across the country, to announce the dissolution of his Klan in 1869. Particularly the circumstances under which the people were killed horrified the United States: castrations, sadistic torturing and the slashing of pregnant women were only some examples of their barbarous murders. The prescribed resolution by the Imperial Wizard was a purely formal affair, either because it was just a tactical move or because he could not control his followers anymore. There still were burning crosses, schools and homes and the black citizens were threatened in such a way, so that they could not exercise their rights. All in all over 3500 black people were killed by the Klan between 1866 and 1875. In 1877, the racist Democrats, who were supported by President Rutherford B. Hayes, came to power. New laws were introduced, for example the “Grandfather Clause”, according to which only the ones whose father or grandfather had voted in 1861, were allowed to vote, which excluded all former slaves from the beginning. The segregation prevailed. Because the government represented the interests of the Klan anyway, it was unnecessary to continue the threaten of the population. The organization gradually disappeared more and more. But it only took favorable circumstances, to reincarnate it....

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