The Rise of the Ku Klux Klan
HIST101 American History to 1877
Instructor: Kathleen Davis
June 15, 2013
When the civil war ended, the Republican Party developed the Reconstruction program, which threatened to turn the south upside down. The Reconstruction was developed with the intention of giving blacks the chance for a new and better life. Upon being freed some blacks stayed with their old masters, yet many left in search of opportunities in education and land ownership. There were many things that stood in their way of these tasks. There were the “black codes” which required black to carry identification and even have a curfew. Labor contracts even bounded the “freed” ...view middle of the document...
Although, they committed many violent acts, some stated on how they would be treated with courtesy. One of them was a carpetbagger who was whipped quoted as follows: “They treated me very courteously, except the beating they gave me; but otherwise I was not insulted or treated unkindly at all. One of them commenced to curse; he began "God damn” when the captain stopped him and said he should not do that. They were civil in their manner.” (Horn)
In 1867, the Klans members met in Tennessee where they adopted a constitution. They set an initiation fee of a dollar per member. Some of the rules and rituals were adopted from college fraternities. They also designated positions to special members. Some of these were the Grand Cyclop, The President, the Grand Magi, the Vice President, and the Grand Exhequer, who was the treasurer. They also developed a uniform which consisted of white, long robes, white masks, and high pointed hats. (Ingalls) When sworn to secrecy, the members agreed to protect the weak, innocent, and the defenseless. The group was very organized and despite not following any legal authority, they had a very strict set of rules and laws their members had to follow.
When it began, the Ku Klux Klan set out to perpetuate white supremacy throughout the south. Anti-black hatred drove some whites to extreme measures. Because Klan leader were unable to control their followers, their harmless pranks became a lawless reign of terror. The secret order spread through the confederate states from Virginia to Texas. Their growth was sparked by the enforcement of the Reconstruction program, which extended legal rights, including the right to vote, to blacks.
The Klans main goal was to bring down the Republican Reconstruction, as well as anyone aiding blacks. The prime targets for their rampages of brutal acts were almost always black. The Klansmen would invade...