The Ku Klux Klan also known as the KKK was a secret society founded in 1866 in the South of the USA by 6 former Confederate Soldiers. It was purely a social group to begin with, but then changed into a group that tortured and killed black people. The word, ‘Ku’ was from the Greek Word called Kuklos meaning Circle; this is why the Klan stands in a circle at Gatherings and Rituals. The KKK’s Book of Rules is the Kloran. This book contains guidelines and Klonversation for the Klan members (Klansman). Klansman were disguised in white Hoods and Robes.
Klonversation was a code language used by the Klan. Many Whites in America disagreed with President Lincoln setting the Black Slaves free. The Reconstruction Act that gave Black Slaves equal rights. Many Whites did not accept the rights and independence given to Black people. The main Confederate Soldier that set up the Klan was Nathan Forrest; he believed Blacks could never be equal to Whites. The Ku Klux Klan died out in 1900 but 15 years later in 1915, the Klan was revived by William Simmons. 5 years after the revival of the Klan, Hiram Evans became Leader (Imperial Wizard).
Members of the Klan were known as WASPS White Anglo Saxon Protestants by 1925 the Klan had over 5 million WASPS. The Klan added a number of other Religious and People to their hated list these included: Catholics, Jews, Immigrants and Divorcees. The KKK attracted so many new members because they promised a new America for the White American People. Black People The KKK believed that Black People were the most inferior race. The KKK had a strong belief in white supremacy; this is where the white race was the ultimate race and all others were inferior especially black people.
One source in particular outlines how the Klan made new members answer ten questions before they joined the Klan. One of which was, “Do you believe in and will faithfully strive for the eternal maintenance of white supremacy”. This question is asked to secure that all new KKK members believe in white supremacy and will fight for what they believe in. However an opponent of the Klan and their radical ideas would argue that reason why black people were in America was because of white people shipping them over as slaves. Therefore they did not want to come to America in the first place.
In addition America was supposed to be considered to be the land of the free as stated in the Declaration of Independence, 1776. A quotation from the Declaration says, “All Men are born equal”. Therefore if the Klan were true Americans they would accept these terms of the Declaration and treat everyone the same, black or white everyone was equal. This in my opinion was showing the Klan to be very hypocritical. Members of the KKK had very strict rules when it came to Black people one of which was no inter-marriage. Intermarriage is where people of different race or religion join in marriage.
This was frowned upon by all of the KKK; they believed that this would ruin the USA and turn it into a mongrel nation. They feared a mongrel nation as they wanted to attain and be the most purist nation. But the opposition of the Klan would argue that some people can not help their feelings and in the Declaration of Independence it clearly states that, “… the right to life and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. Therefore this is showing that it would be going against the Declaration to not to have their right to pursuit their own happiness.
The KKK believed that black people were inferior to whites and would ruin a member of the Klan. In addition, the Klan also believed that black people were susceptible to disease, un-healthy and un-hygienic; they felt they could not afford to be clean to prevent diseases being caught. Imperial Wizard, H. W. Evans said that, “The records show the Negro to be susceptible to tuberculosis and the carriers of any venereal infections. He strongly felt that there were diseases because of Blacks. On the other hand, they could argue that they were poor and the Klan made this 10 times worse by reducing wages burning anything to do with blacks.
An example would be the KKK burning down a school, they could learn about how to wash themselves and keep clean. But the Klan keep taking this away and denying them basic knowledge. Finally, The Klan was intolerant to Black people they believed that they were intellectually inferior. Imperial Wizard H. W Evans states, that blacks could not, “Attain the Anglo-Saxon level”. This was scientifically erroneous; they believed that Blacks could not be as smart as white people. Black people had poor intellect as they never had a proper education and the Klan did not help by burning every school they came across.
This was very hard for black people and was denying them a right to an education, this goes against the American Constitution 1787. If the Klan believed they were true Americans they would never go against the Constitution. Immigrants The Ku Klux Klan also strongly opposed immigrants coming into their country of America. The Klansman had very strong view of immigrants, they believed they did not belong in America; it was their Country no one else’s.
They also felt that immigrants were swamping their population William J Simmons quotes, “America is a garbage can! and “When the hordes of aliens walk to the ballot boxes and their votes outnumber ours, then that alien horde has got you by the throat. ” Simmons helped the Klan gain popularity, he calls immigrants, ‘Aliens’ portraying them as things from a different place and do not belong. The also felt that immigrants drone American peoples wages down and were therefore not paid enough as much immigrants took jobs meaning the Americans had no job and income. Immigrants were seen as a potent threat to the Klan and maybe America and believed they wanted to take over America.
Immigrants would argue that Anglo-White Saxons were just as immigrants as anyone else in America, this is due to the Native Americans being there first and white’s arriving later. Therefore the Klan had no right to rid America of black people and immigrants. America is also referred to as the, ‘Melting Pot of Different Cultures’. Showing that America is full of different races and religions and should all be accepted. So overall, the Klan itself was at one point immigrants and has no such right to threaten and scare people into thinking they do not belong in America. I lift my lamp beside the Golden Door’, a quote from the Poem about the Statue of Liberty.
This quote is meaning that anyone has a right to live in America, and if they were real Americans they would oblige to this. The Klan feared that immigrants could bring new ideas to America maybe outclassing their own and resulting in their ideas being bad. This included communism, this did not go down very well with the Klan and they convinced themselves that immigrants will bring ideas about changing America and which threatened the American way of life, this is the idea that many Americas had.
This is something that the Klan did not like, and this was a reason for the KKK being so against immigrants. However an opponent of the KKK would strongly argue that America is a democracy and you are allowed to have your own opinion and ideas. This means no one can stop you from saying these things. The Bill of Rights clearly states, ‘Freedom of Religion, speech, press and assembly. ‘ This means they can express their ideas on communism. But also when many immigrants came to America, most wanted to escape Communism than influence it to a new country where they are starting a new life.
So most immigrants only came to America to get away from Communism not to start it. Finally, a supporter of the Klan believed that immigrants were inferior to White Anglo Saxons, they were looked down upon as not as pure as the True Americans who were there from the founding of America. They also felt that they had a lower standard of living this included, education, they were poor and could not always afford education and could therefore not contribute to the country. Hite Anglo Saxons liked to call themselves, Old Stock or Pioneer Stock; these were considered to be superior.
Hiram Evans said that, “The Pioneer stock must be kept pure”, and he is implying that White Anglo Saxons must be kept pure and no one can ruin their superior race. The mixing of two different cultures would ruin this. This meant the Klan made sure no immigrant managed to have a relationship with the superior race. Immigrants would argue that immigrants are coming from countries with terrible poverty and famine. This is there reason for making the effort to come to America.
‘Give me you’re tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free. This is saying that America willingly accepts all peoples of different cultures and backgrounds to come to America and be free; this is exactly what immigrants want. Therefore again if the KK were true Americans they would freely accept immigrants into their country as everyone has an equal opportunity. Religion The Klan had very strong views of many Religious Groups, the KKK itself were Christian Protestants. The KKK Protestants called themselves WASPS, White Anglo Saxon Protestants. The Klan was against the Pope, they believed what he did was un-American; this was due to him being outside of the USA.
Also, then Klan was against the religion Judaism. A lot of Jews in America were high up in the job hierarchy. They were the top bankers and owned a lot of expensive businesses. The KKK was jealous of this and it frustrated them more because they were not American. The KKK also blamed the Jews for the Wall Street Crash as the top Bankers sent the stock market plummeting. Finally, the Klan believed that it was Anti-American not to believe in something that they did not believe in; they believed protestant was they Religion all Americans should be.
In contrast to this the Pope is a Religious Leader of the worlds biggest Religion Roman Catholic. The Pope is an influential individual throughout the world and the KKK being against him is Ludicrous. The Jews came to America in seek of asylum from other persecuting countries. What they were doing was very legal. The Wall Street Crash was caused by economic reasons. Finally, the Klan believing all Americans should be one Religion this is not right, they lived in a constitution which meant they all had equal Religious freedom.
Members of the KKK also believed that in America there has always been a tradition of Anti-Catholism, and that original Protestants were trying to escape Catholic Persecution. This resulted in the Klan hating Catholics and therefore being one of there targets to get rid of. They did not want people to be influenced by Catholic teachings. “Another important idea in American history was Anti-Catholism because many of the founding fathers had come to America to escape Catholic persecutions in Europe”.
He is saying that the founding people of America (pioneer stock) had escaped from Europe because of Catholics. On the other hand, Catholics would argue that there is a, ‘Freedom of Religion’ which is mentioned in the Bill of Rights, and if the Klan claims to be true Americans they would let Catholics have their say and not trying to change what they believe in. Klansmen also believed that Catholics were not Loyal to the USA, they felt that Catholics thought the Pope influenced everything they did and wanted to take over US politics.
Coughlan a member of the Klan said, “The Pope will sit in the White house when all hell freezes over”. The Klan is saying that the Pope will never run America or get involved in Politics as he will just try to spread the Catholic Religion. However, the Catholics would argue that the Pope has nothing to do with Politics and he has no interest in getting involved with government and politics. The Klan is portraying Catholics to be people who want to control what people believe. This shows them to be very loyal to the Imperial Wizard and its rules.