The History of the Ku Klux Klan

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The History of the Ku Klux Klan
The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) is one of America's oldest and most feared groups. Driven by the
dream of a world with only one master race, the KKK often uses violence and moves above
the law to promote their cause. They didn't start of violent, or to promote white
supremacy. They have been in the shadows for over 130 years and continue to thrive in
America's society today.

The Ku Klux Klan began almost accidentally during the reconstruction period after the
civil war in the Southern United States. The southern people had suffered greatly from the
effects of the great war. Many of them lost their homes and plantations. Many also lost
friends and loved ones to the war. The people needed a release from the sorrow of everyday

In 1865, six men from a small town in Tennessee accidentally began what has grown to be
the largest and most feared "hate group" in the country. The men decided to make a club to
help release the stress of the times. The men were all poor and could not afford to make
gowns or great costumes for the group, so they decided to use linens. They wore the linens
over their backs and put pillowcases on their heads. They also draped the linens over
their horses. The Ku Klux Klan was going to ride for the first time. In the beginning, the
men wanted to do nothing more than play pranks on people. However, the people were more
frightened than they were cheered up. They soon realized what they could do with these
fear tactics. The South had turned into a place that was no longer theirs. The slaves were
now free (many of these men were slave owners) and carpetbaggers were coming from the
North to take advantage of the southern people. They saw the opportunity to set back the
South to what it had been. The KKK soon began to ride through political rallies of the
carpetbaggers. People often fled the rallies out of fear. Word quickly spread across the
South about these masked men. Many people loved the idea and wanted to be involved. The
Klan quickly grew. A leader was soon needed to control the large group. Their first choice
was Southern General Robert E. Lee. Although he supported the group and its cause, he was
very ill and could not handle the task. Their next choice was a man named Nathan Bedford

Forrest, although he wasn't as well known as General Lee, he was a great leader. He was
born in Mississippi and owned a plantation. He fought for the confederate army for a long
time before they recognized his abilities. Although he didn't arrive early enough to
greatly impact the war, he gained the respect of the top confederate leaders. After the
war he was infuriated by the carpetbaggers and needed a way to fight back. He saw the Ku
Klux Klan as a way to do it.
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