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Essay: The Ku Klux Klan

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  • Subject area(s): History essays
  • Reading time: 4 minutes
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  • Published: 15 November 2019*
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  • Words: 985 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 4 (approx)

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The Ku Klux Klan is a secret society simply known as the KKK which was formed in 1915. They are a hat group who are against black people, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, foreign-born individuals, and other groups. The Ku Klux Klan history will never go unnoticed “as a social movement and as a cultural symbol, the Klan is a virtual synonym for terror and violence” (Toy Jr, pg. 131). The Ku Klux Klan played the victim because of the social changes and violence was the only way they maintained morality and social order. Racism and Nativism are the same thing, these different groups have their own ways of fighting against things they are not in favor of. These have differences in their structure, activities, and membership of extremist groups; “some organizations are multilayered, highly disciplined, and rigidly authoritarian” (Toy Jr, pg. 131). There is a lot of irony in the United States being a “free” country due to how much violence has been inflicted in the past by native-born. The costumes and uniforms  were used to protect identities and the styles promoted a collective behavior of racial or religious conformity.

The burning crosses, the racism, and lynching in the South is what spread a lot of fear. It was clear to the public what the KKK stood for; “murder, mutilation, and social intimidation… is what gave them social superiority” (Toy Jr, pg. 132). The rebirth of the KKK was claimed in Georgia in 1915 and this time people believed it was going to be more than a local group. The Klan lynched a Jewish businessman Leo M. Frank on August 16, 1915. “Frank had been convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering a young pencil maker, Mary Phagan, in Atlanta” (Toy Jr, pg. 132). The lynching was a statement Tom Watson wanted to make against the KKK’s enemies. Watson was on a mission to “exploit southern fears of a changing economy, and the pages of his Weekly Jefferson were filled with seething incentive against blacks” (Toy Jr, pg. 133). During these times there were big migrations of blacks and whites from the South. The North was industrialized and the Southwest was rich in petroleum. Organizers of the Klan alienated social, moral and religious issues and forced a tremendous amount of new members to follow what they stand for.

It will never make sense how American Indians were in America first and it got taken away. Native Americans had every right to stay put on the West side of United States. There are 450 Native American tribes that belong to the federal government in United States and Canada. Just like the American blacks they have been denied equal protection under the law; many restrictions were placed in their communities. The conflict between whites and Indians is still present today. It is something that the whites can not escape because of their wrong doings. The whites were a little more strategic in trying to figure out how to take control. According to Jeanne Guillemin, “ demographic change and economic forces have played key roles in creating a privatized and institutionally ambivalent relationship between government and tribes” (Guillemin, pg. 154). There are still disputes government and some local communities can not resolve. The Iroquois has one of the best military alliances. Other tribes in the Southwest countered “Spanish incursions, developed to resist colonial expansion” (Guillemin, pg. 155). Indians knew the territories they owned and had access to the same weapons their enemies had. Having that resource did not make things as easy as the whites wished. It is critical to my end up defenseless especially in situations like this. The U.S. federal government intervened with the relationship between the Indians and whites. In 1779 there was a punishment handed to the Iroquois. The military tried to gain control of the Indians at the “expanding frontiers of the nation” (Guillemin, pg. 155). The United States and the Spanish struggled to gain control but then it lead to a series of wars that resulted in the U.S. army troops routing the Indians. This lead to the Louisiana Purchase, and with the help of the  European market the South’s plantation system expanded.

“Between 1820 and 1840, the U.S. Army was in charge of the displacement of more than 30,000 Southeastern Indians, forcing many of them to march to territory beyond the Mississippi” (Guillemin, pg. 156). Forcing them to move to another territory cost many Native American lives. The West was doing well with money, they had a lot of capital as that side of the country was influenced by businessmen and private corporations. They were able to persuade congress to sell public lands that included territory that belonged to the Indians. All this was done to better the issue of crowding in the Northeast. Indians had to find a new place to go to because their property was being bought by corporations. Native Americans were not going down so easy as there was a “last stand”. There were reports of attacks on settlers.

Violence became a major factor in the nine wars America was involved in. The War of 1812 did not have much violence. “Violence did not flare up in the marginal areas. Perhaps a more useful explanation might run counter to Brown’s, to suggest people did not care much about the war” (Brooks, pg. 176). There was a lot of violence taking place during the Civil War. There was a lot of purpose weighing on this war from both the North and the South. “10,000 Confederate sympathizers in Baltimore attacked approximately 2,000 Union troops from Massachusetts and Pennsylvania who were passing through Washington D.C.” (Brooks, pg. 177). This war was very serious, soldiers had to use guns to protect themselves and even had police protecting them. A newspaper editor had to also leave Baltimore before the war because of his opinion on pro-Unions.

In 1863 Georgia troops made a stop at Raleigh and attached the office of the standard.  Another attack a unionist mob destroyed the Raleigh State Journal.

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