KKK1 Essay

This essay has a total of 1865 words and 8 pages.


Ku Klux Klan

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,

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

On the night of Thanksgiving in 1915, sixteen men from Atlanta, Georgia climbed to the top
of Stone Mountain and built an altar of stones on which they placed an American flag. They
then stood up a sixteen foot long cross and burned it. One week later, this group applied
for a state charter making it "The Knights of the KKK, Inc." This was put in effect during
the Reconstruction. The new Klan at first received little attention. Only in time, it
became the biggest and most powerful Klan in history. Klan membership was limited to
native-born, white, Protestant American Men. The Klan message was clearly to appeal to
people who were troubled by abrupt changes in American Society. (Ingalls, 16-17)

Many believe that the biggest growth of the KKK began when Colonel Simmons, considerably
the founder of the new KKK, linked up with Edward Young Clarke and Elizabeth Tyler. In
June 1920, Clarke and Simmons signed a contract that guaranteed Clarke a share of Klan
profits. Clarke and Tyler would receive a good amount of money for every new KKK member,
which the fee would be $10.00, $4.00 went to the Kleagle (an official in the KKK), $1 went
to the King Kleagle (state leader of the Klan), $.50 to the Grand Goblin, and $2.50 to
Clarke and Tyler. The final $2.00 went to Colonel Simmons. This promotion brought over
85,000 new Klan members, and over $85,000 in Klan profits. The KKK was still due for more
publicity, in the 1920s many Americans felt threatened by the variety of recent changes ,
and in 1920 most Americans were living in cities. Many Americans were scared that cities
would be dominated by Jewish and Catholic immigrants. Americans also thought their country
was coming apart at the seams. The KKK presented itself as the "100 percent Americanism."
This slogan proved popular because it meant everything to the frightened man who flocked
into the Klan. By the end of 1922 there were approximately 1,200,000 members in the Klan.
This time was supposedly the highest number of Klan members ever. (Ingalls, 24-25)

One of the greatest Klan strengths came in 1925 when Klan members from all directions
poured into the nations capitol Washington DC on August 8th, 1925 a mammoth parade began.
At the head the Imperial Wizard Hirem Wesley Evans, and 40,000 Klan members followed in
their robes and hoods, but no masks. 200,000 friendly spectators lined the parade and
applauded as the Klan made their way to a rally at the Washington Monument. The impressive
demonstration was intended to show the Invisible Empire never lost any of its strengths.
(Ingalls 63-64)

Even though the parade was grander then expected, it could not conceal the fact that the
Klan was diminishing, the empire was collapsing. The peak of the Klan was actually in
1924. The Klan was forced to admit its growing weakness. Time answered quickly, by 1930,
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