Rebirth of the KKK Essay

This essay has a total of 913 words and 4 pages.

Rebirth of the KKK



The Ku Klux Klan first appeared in late 1865 or early 1866 in Pulaski, Tennessee. It
began as a Tennessee social club but soon turned into a paramilitary force under the
direction of Nathan Bedford Forrest. The Klan’s primary purpose was white supremacy and
the main goal was to keep blacks out of the voting booths. By 1870 the Klan was
everywhere in the south. They were strong supporters of the Democratic Party and often
beat and sometimes killed republican politicians. Due to the overabundance of violent and
sometimes fatal crimes many members of the Klan found themselves in trouble with the law.
Because of this the Klan was basically obsolete by the mid 1870’s.

Beginning in the early nineteenth century there were massive waves of immigrants coming
into the country. The majority of these immigrants were mostly from Italy, Russia, and
Ireland. Along with all these new people came new languages, customs, and beliefs. They
also provided a cheap source of labor. Many Americans saw this to be threatening to their
jobs and their culture.

Along with all the new immigrants the country was under going drastic changes of its own
such as styles, music, and beliefs. All these changes began to scare “old stock”
Americans. Thousands of fundamentalists Christians were bewildered by the progressive era
victories of evolution and social gospel, not to mention jazz, gin, and short skirts.
These fundamentalist Christians were seeking a way to bring old-time religion back.

On Thanksgiving Day in 1915 “Colonel” William J. Simmons created what they had been
seeking. That night Simmons held a cross burning ceremony atop Stone Mountain in Georgia.
The ceremony pledged new members to be “True to the faithful maintenance of white
supremacy.” In order to become a member of the new Ku Klux Klan you were required to vow
to be a native born American citizen who believed in the tenets of the Christian religion
and agree to owe no allegiance to any foreign government, nation, political institution,
sect, people or person. Referring to the “person” as the pope. The new Klan was no
longer primarily anti-black. They were now anti: foreign, catholic, black, Jewish,
pacifist, communist, and evolutionist. Anything or anybody who supported or promoted
progressive reform was a target of the Klan.

The Klan was an immense supporter of prohibition and the teaching of religion in schools.
This drew many of those “old stock” Americans into the organization who were seeking a
savior to old-time religion. People no longer joined the Klan to represent hate; they
joined with hopes to put a stop to progressive reform. Many of these people saw the Klan
as the only way to bring back the countries old styles, customs, and beliefs.

Simmons rebirth of the Klan in 1915 took off slow, but progress soon changed. The
progress started when Simmons began an alliance with a publicist named Edward Clarke.
Clarke devised a recruiting scheme where recruiters, named kleagles, signed up members for
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