Founded in 1866, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) extended into almost every southern state by 1870 and became a vehicle for white southern resistance to the Republican Party’s Reconstruction-era policies aimed at establishing political and economic equality for blacks. Its members waged an underground campaign of intimidation and violence directed at white and black Republican leaders. Though Congress passed legislation designed to curb Klan terrorism, the organization saw its primary goal–the reestablishment of white supremacy–fulfilled through Democratic victories in state legislatures across the South in the 1870s. After a period of decline, white Protestant nativist groups revived the Klan in the early 20th century, burning crosses and staging rallies, parades and marches denouncing immigrants, Catholics, Jews, blacks and organized labor. The civil rights movement of the 1960s also saw a surge of Ku Klux Klan activity, including bombings of black schools and churches and violence against black and white activists in the South.
FOUNDING OF THE KU KLUX KLAN
A group including many former Confederate veterans founded the first branch of the Ku Klux Klan as a social club in Pulaski, Tennessee, in 1866. The first two words of the organization’s name supposedly derived from the Greek word “kyklos,” meaning circle. In the summer of 1867, local branches of the Klan met in a general organizing convention and established what they called an “Invisible Empire of the South.” Leading Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest was chosen as the first leader, or “grand wizard,” of the Klan; he presided over a hierarchy of grand dragons, grand titans and grand cyclopses.
The organization of the Ku Klux Klan coincided with the beginning of the second phase of post-Civil War Reconstruction, put into place by the more radical members of the Republican Party in Congress. After rejecting President Andrew Johnson’s relatively lenient Reconstruction policies, in place from 1865 to 1866, Congress passed the Reconstruction Act over the presidential veto. Under its provisions, the South was divided into five military districts, and each state was required to approve the 14th Amendment, which granted “equal protection” of the Constitution to former slaves and enacted universal male suffrage.
The secret history of the Democratic Party
Contrary to what we learn from progressives in education and the media, the history of the Democratic Party well into the twentieth century is a virtually uninterrupted history of thievery, corruption and bigotry. American history is the story of Democratic malefactors and Republican heroes. Yes, it’s true.
I begin with Andrew Jackson. He—not Thomas Jefferson or FDR—is the true founder of the modern Democratic Party. Progressives today are divided about Jackson. Some, like historian Sean Wilentz, admire him, while others want to remove him from the $20 bill because he was a slaveowner and a vicious Indian fighter. He was, in this view, a very bad American.
I support the debunking of Jackson, but not because he was a bad American—rather, because he was a typical crooked Democrat. Jackson established the Democratic Party as the party of theft. He mastered the art of stealing land from the Indians and then selling it at giveaway prices to white settlers. Jackson’s expectation was that those people would support him politically, as indeed they did. Jackson was indeed a “man of the people,” but his popularity was that of a gang leader who distributes his spoils in exchange for loyalty on the part of those who benefit from his crimes.
Jackson also figured out how to benefit personally from his land-stealing. Like Hillary Clinton, he started out broke and then became one of the richest people in the country. How? Jackson and his partners and cronies made early bids on Indian land, sometimes even before the Indians had been evacuated from that land. They acquired the land for little or nothing and later sold it for a handsome profit. Remarkably, the roots of the Clinton Foundation can be found in the land-stealing policies of America’s first Democratic president.
The Democrats were also the party of slavery, and the slave-owning mentality continues to shape the policies of Democratic leaders today.
Why do Democrats seem to forget that the KKK was founded as the militant arm of the Democratic party after the Civil War?
In many ways, the party of Abraham Lincoln has become the party of Jefferson Davis.
Geographically, the states that were part of the confederacy are now mostly Republican. The party that favors “states’ rights” is now the Republican party. The party that is identified with civil rights is now the Democratic party. The overwhelming majority of Black people now vote Democratic.
And, today, the KKK supports Trump lol right
So, while some Democrats may not know that the KKK used to be part of the Democratic party, it doesn’t really matter that they don’t. It’s only of interest to historians.
Democrats do not forget. They also don’t forget that Republican President Lincoln freed the slaves. But they are aware of the difference between then and now.
Perhaps you should ask some black people what they think about the current state of the parties that were once home to Lincoln and the KKK. Many black people today remember family members who were helped by Lincoln and hurt by the KKK. Ask which party they think has changed for the better. Ask which party they think has changed for the worse. If you don’t know any black people, and don’t want to get to know any, maybe look at 2016 exit polls to see how black people evaluate the relevance of then and now.
The white supremacist group was founded on December 24th, 1865.
The war between the States ended in 1865 with the North victorious and the Confederate South defeated. Slavery in the South was now illegal, the former slaves had the vote and groups of white Republicans started collecting batches of them and escorting them to the polls. The situation was resented and small white terrorist groups formed at various places to keep the blacks down and white supremacy intact. Far the best known would be the Ku Klux Klan.
The Klan began in Tennessee, in the small town of Pulaski, near Memphis. It was founded by Confederate army veterans at a drinking club there and the strange but memorable name was a combination of ‘clan’ and the Greek word kuklos, meaning ‘circle’ or, in this case, social club. Dressed up in scary costumes with hoods and masks, members rode about at night threatening and frightening blacks. They demanded that blacks either vote Democrat or not vote at all. They met defiance with beatings, whippings and sometimes murder. They burned blacks’ houses down and drove black farmers off their land and they extended their hostilities to southern whites who opposed them and the so-called ‘carpetbaggers’, white infiltrators from the North.
The Klan loved weird titles, Grand Dragon and such, and a former Confederate cavalry general, Nathan Bedford Forrest, is said to have been for a time the Klan’s leader as Grand Imperial Wizard. In 1868 he said that the Klan had well over 500,000 members in the southern states, but that he was not involved.
The original Klan faded away in the 1870s after the federal government had taken action and many members had been arrested and punished, but it had helped to make the South a Democrat political stronghold. It was refounded in 1915, inspired by the film The Birth of a Nation by the pioneering Hollywood director D.W. Griffith, which shone an admiring light on the original Klan. It has existed with very slowly declining influence ever since.