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Ku Klux Klan
The Ku Klux Klan is one of America s oldest and most feared groups. Motivated by the dream of a world with only one race, the KKK uses violence and moves above the law to support their cause. They have been in the shadows for over 130 years and continue to succeed in America s society today.
The Ku Klux Klan began almost by accident during the rebuilding process after the civil war in the Southern United States. The southern people had suffered allot 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.
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 United States. The men decided to make a club to help relieve the stress of the times. The men were all poor and could not afford to make gowns or great uniforms 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 only wanted to play pranks on people but the people were more frightened than they were cheered up. They soon figured out what they could do with these fearful pranks. They saw the chance to get the South back to the way it used to be. The KKK soon began to ride through political rallies and 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. He was quickly accepted as the “Grand Wizard”. He had absolute power over the Klan members. The men were eager to do what he said, they trusted him. Many of the men were in need of a sense of belonging and the KKK gave them this. The Klan was very secretive, all of the members were safe from people knowing their real identities. Because of this secrecy, they gained the alternate name of, “The Invisible Empire”.
The Klan really began to take control in the year of 1868. They promised to rid the south of anyone who didn t support them. They stole the peoples goods, beat them and even killed them. These murders were known as “lynching”. They would drag the person to the center of the town and hang them in front of everyone. This was very effective, people feared it would happen to themselves if they had anything to do with the blacks.
After the U.S. government removed troops from the South in the late 1800 s, the Klan achieved its goal. Many of the groups moved on and Forrest left the Klan. Once the 1900 s came around, it started again. This time the goal was much larger, they wanted to rid America of all non white, Christian Americans. The new Klan was different from the old version in many ways. The old Klan wanted to set things back to the old ways. They wanted their freedom back and wanted nothing more. The new Klan was far more violent. People were lynched, and beaten for little reason more than being a certain race, nationality or religion.
The Klan was spread all across the country. Many towns were also secretly run by the Klan. They elected many officials. Town leaders couldn t seem to convict accused members for anything. Their power was stronger than the law and the thought of the hooded men was far more frightening than jail. However, in the late 1920 s, many politicians who once remained quiet spoke out and fought against the Klan. This was their demise.
The Klan hasn t been as strong since that time. For the past 50 years, it has had many ups and downs. The Klan was also much different in its organization than earlier times. The new KKK are separated into many small groups. There are many inner struggles, most divisions claim to be original descendants and follow the old ways. This is never true.
In the end, the KKK is a problem that won t go away for long. The KKK will be around for a period and then disappear. As long as there are differences between people in the world, there will be hate and the Ku Klux Klan will be there to make it worse. They may be quiet for many years, but you can count on it that they are there. They are, “The Invisible Empire” and will always be the dark side of American History.
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