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The Ku Klux Klan, or KKK as known today, was started in the spring of 1866. Six Confederate veterans formed a social club in Pulaski, Tennessee. This KKK only lasted a short six years, but left tactics and rituals that later started in generations. (Ingalls, 9)
The Klan was a small group very much in secrecy at first. The exact date of the beginning is unknown. Despite all of the secrecy the six KKK members initiated new members to join their social club. (Ingalls, 9)
A year after the creation of the KKK, the onetime social club joined the raising campaign against the Republican Reconstruction. The "new" direction of the Klan was well planned and organized. The Klan was now ready to expand to a bigger group. The Klan adopted a prescript. This was an organizational structure permitting the Klan to spread across the south. New members had to be over 18, pay $1, sworn to secrecy, recruits pledged to "protect the weak, the innocent, and the defenseless, from the indignities, wrongs, and outrages of the lawless, the violent, and the brutal." The highly centralized plan for expanding the KKK, spread so rapidly that most chapters operated alone. The founders of the KKK lost control, and it became impossible to talk about a single KKK. Yet Klan activities still followed a common pattern throughout the south. (Ingalls 11-12)
The Klan now started to spread across Tennessee. At first the Klan used tricks to keep blacks "in their place". At first, the Klan would ride around on horses, and with their white robes, and white pointed masks, try to scare blacks. They would try to act like ghost with their white uniforms. Unfortunately, the Klan quickly moved to more violent pranks. (Ingalls, 12)
The Klan would now suppress blacks. The Klan leaders proved unable to control their followers. Although the violence was often random, there was a method in the madness. The victims were almost always black or if white, associated with the hatred of the Republican party. The Klan had fear of black equality and sparked attacks on schools setup for freed slaves. The Klan would warn the blacks not to attend school, and would scare the teachers, most from out of state, to leave town. (Ingalls 12-13)
Many groups started forming around the south called the Ku Kluxers. The Klan was being noticed as "The Invisible Empire". However and wherever Klan's were formed they all followed the same pattern set by the Tennessee Klan. The Klan became the greatest terror in 1868, when their attacks were against Republicans and elect democrats. Thousands of blacks and whites fell victim to the murders and beatings given by the KKK. (Ingalls, 13)
In 1869, General Forrest, the Grand Wizard of the KKK ordered Klansmen to restrict their activities. The Klan was getting out of control, and Congress passed a Ku Klux Klan Act in 1871. By the end of 1872, the federal crackdown had broken the back of the KKK. Because of the restriction and the Act passed violence was isolated but still continued. The KKK was dead, and Reconstruction lived on in southern legend . This would not be the last of the KKK.
On the night of Thanksgiving in 1915, sixteen men from
Names mentioned in this term paper
Ku Klux Klan,
Organizations referenced in this report
the Klan, the KKK, Tennessee Klan,
Locations included in this paper
Keywords referenced in this paper
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