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How did the Views and Arguments put forward by the Supporters and Opponents of the Ku Klux Klan differ Assignment

The Ku Klux Klan began in June 1866. They started when six soldiers (back from the civil war) gathered in a law office in Tennessee and decided to invent the group.

It started as just a social gathering, a club, with the name Ku Klux Klan coming from the word Kuklos which means a tight circle that no one can penetrate. When the club began their first leader was Nathan Forrest.

The Klan were against immigrants, criminals, divorce, drunks and many more.

Their main aim was for the maintenance of white supremacy throughout America. They also had high morals and quotes used in ‘The Fiery Cross’ (a newspaper produced by the KKK) said things like;

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“We stand for Unified Protestantism, Intensified Americanism and Organised Patriotism.” And

” We want to bring America back to the Americans!”

To become a member of the Ku Klux Klan you had to be a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP).

You had to be patriotic to America and you had to obey the rules and requirements put down by the Kloran. (The Ku Klux Klan’s strict rulebook supposedly based on the Bible and the Constitution of America.) You also had to pay a $10 fee for which would cover your membership and then you would have to pay another $10 which would grant you with your robes and mask (for secrecy and supremacy of the whites) and your Kluxers Knifty Knife. Klansmen were also given codenames to address themselves and others in their version of conversations, Klonversations.

All the appearances of the Klan were made in disguise. At first all the Ku Klux Klan did was to hold peaceful night rides but when Laws were passed (the black codes) which meant that the blacks were now equal to white, the KKK had a meeting and instantly their aim transformed. They became a terrorist organisation overnight.

They now wanted to stop blacks voting and wanted to scare and intimidate them too. The Klan set fire to crosses and left them in people’s back gardens as a warning that the Klan were watching them.

The Ku Klux Klan ended in the 1870’s when the Ku Klux act was passed and no once could conspire, no one could be disguised and some Klansmen were arrested.

By the 1900’s all Klansmen had died out.

The Klan were re-instated though at thanksgiving in 1915 with a new leader; William J Simmons who believed it was his mission to get the KKK going. He was the one who helped the Klan’s sudden rise in popularity in the 1920’s.

The Blacks

The Ku Klux Klan were very much against all blacks. They thought that the black race was inferior to the supreme white race.

The Klan claimed that the blacks were intellectually inferior i.e. they couldn’t read or write and that was why they shouldn’t vote. They weren’t intelligent enough. The KKK also said that they were genetically inferior and carried diseases such as tuberculosis etc.

Soon the Klan brought a ban on intermarriage forward and people had to obey. The Klan feared intermarriage because they thought it would turn America into nations of ‘mongrels’ or ‘crossbreeds’.

The Ku Klux Klan believed that all blacks should go back to Africa where they had come from. Although this was actually a stupid thing to say because it was the white people who had brought the blacks over hear (to sell them as slaves) In the first place.

These were the Klan’s argument, the reasons why they were opposed to the blacks. The opponents had a different story to tell though.

The KKK believed the blacks to be intellectually inferior, and this was true to a certain extent. Most black people couldn’t read or write in America at that time but that was because it was the white man’s fault and the Klan’s too. The Klan burnt down many schools and intimidated the teachers as well. They didn’t give them an equal chance for education.

Even though some blacks couldn’t read or write this didn’t affect their judgement and they had as much right as anyone else to vote.

The Klan also said that the blacks carried disease and illness. The only reason the blacks could be referred to, as this was because of the poor living conditions which had been given to them as their homes. The blacks were also usually given the worst jobs for the worst pay as well. They could barely afford food etc for their family so this made them more prone to disease.

The Kloran was the Ku Klux Klan’s rulebook. Supposedly it was based upon the bible but the bible said, “love thy neighbour”. They were going back on their word.

Overall the Klan were racist, hypocritical, bigoted and narrow-minded towards the blacks. They were everything they said they weren’t.

The Nationalistic Argument

The Klan argued that they were the ‘true Americans’. They believed that they were the true owners of their country and that was why they wanted any ‘aliens’ as one man called them out of their country.

The KKK advertised themselves with banners and posters saying things like:

“It is our country! Keep it pure!”

The Klan in fact were very wrong. The red Indians were the ‘true Americans’. It was their native-born home. If the Ku Klux Klan had traced back their family trees, they would have realised that they themselves were immigrants. Also the Declaration of Independence (1787) stated that; “All men are created equal”.

Immigrants

The Klan hated immigrants. They thought that the immigrants were people who should stop living off America and go back to their own country. They claimed that the immigrants took their jobs and crowded their schools. The KKK also believed that American taxes would go up because the American people had to support all these immigrants. This was true though as many of the immigrants who joined America were unemployed and took benefits from the taxes that working Americans paid. Some immigrants who came from Russia were feared because the belief was that they would bring communism to America.

The Klan believed that you also couldn’t be Patriotic to America if you were not a ‘true American’. Basically the Klan didn’t want to share the wealth of the nation that that they had worked hard for.

The KKK’s arguments though, were not always justified.

Firstly when the Klan said ‘ they wanted to Keep America for the Americans’ they were wrong. The ‘Americans’ were not the Klan or anyone else except for the native born red Indians, as I said before.

It was true though those immigrants did take some jobs, but the jobs they did take were usually of the worst type and were the worst paid. More employers did give them work though because they were willing to do anything for any amount of money. The sort of jobs that the Americans would have rejected. If anything some immigrants brought new skills to the USA.

The Klan claimed that Russian immigrants would bring the threat of communism to America. This was rubbish. The usual reason for the Russian immigrants were that they were fleeing a communist Russia rather than bringing it to America.

Also when the KKK said that the immigrants could never be patriotic to America that was a lie. Immigrants could be patriotic; the USA gave them the chance to start a new life. Besides they signed the constitution when they entered America, didn’t they?

USA was also a country of great resources and power, they could hold all these extra people with ease. The quote on the Statue of liberty says ‘ Bring me your tired, you poor, Your huddled masses yearning to be free, The wretched refuse of you teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door’ The Klan were contradicting their country’s welcoming.

Religious Views

The Klan said that their religion was supreme. Being a White Anglo-Saxon protestant was the only way to be. They thought that any other religion was inferior to Protestantism, especially the Catholics. They accused them of having their allegiance to the pope in Rome, Italy. Therefore they could not be ‘true Americans’.

They also thought that the Catholics were plotting to put the Pope in the White House, as leader of their country and obviously that didn’t help the Catholics position.

One Klansman is reported to have said, “The only way to cure a Catholic, is to kill him”.

The KKK were being very hypocritical when they lay down the law about religion. Their rulebook was supposed to combine the Constitution but the Bill of Rights (1791) guarantees ‘freedom of religion’.

The idea that the Pope wanted to become the leader of America was ridiculous. The Pope had no intention of becoming president, but also Rome was a holy place and that was why he lived there in the first place.

What was also strange was that as a warning that the Klan were watching you, they left a burning cross in your back garden apparently to represent that Jesus was the light of the world. But they were actually burning the statue of Christ?

The Klan had their own ideas on Jews too. They thought that they had taken over the business department of America and now were running Wallstreet.

Basically this all derived from Jealousy. The Jews has worked hard for their money building up their career. They were entitled to the success that they were receiving.

Also in the Declaration of Independence it states that everyone has the right to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’

Morals and Family

The Klan assured people that they had very high morals. They claimed to believe in ‘Christianity, Morality, Prohibition and therefore a strong America!’

They said that they had a Christian heart, and that was why they would fund charity projects such as building new hospitals etc. Along with that they supported proper families and were against divorce, they wanted to protect womanhood. They were also against alcohol and so for Prohibition. They were the perfect group.

If the Klan’s heart had been Christian then they wouldn’t have terrorised the blacks, and the immigrants they way they did. They would have welcomed them with open arms. The funding of charities etc was all a show to give a good impression to others, and make the Klan seem like a worthwhile organisation.

When the Klan said that they were against divorce, and that they thought you should stay with your partner they also said they were against wife and child beaters too (?). Also Stevenson raped Madge Oberhaltzer. He did the opposite of what he said he’d do.

The KKK were all for the Prohibition of alcohol, and yet we know as a fact that Stevenson drank even though he was ‘against’ it. The high morals were changed to low morals as well by the fact that they wore a disguise for killing. All Hypocritical of the Klan.

Violence

This was the part that the Klan never laid claim to. They blamed all violence on a non-existent group called the nightriders. People who pretended to be Klansmen and went around causing trouble wherever they went. They would always wear their disguises and speak in Klonversations so no one could tell who they were. They also always carried their Kluxers Knifty Knife which was their weapon for killing. Some Examples of what they did were things like this:

“A lad whipped with branches until his back was ribboned flesh; a Negress beaten and left helpless to contract pneumonia from exposure and die; a naturalised foreigner flogged until his back was a pulp because he married an American woman; a white girl divorcee beaten into unconsciousness in her own home; a Negro lashed until he sold a white man his land for a fraction of its value.”

As you can see it was horrific and many people were murdered. The bible said ‘Do not commit murder’. They were again contradicting the rules they had laid down at the beginning. They were corrupt from the start.

Overall the Ku Klux Klan was a moneymaking scam. Stevenson and the other leaders made millions from the money for membership and robes, even though they claimed that it was a non-profit organisation. Stevenson said that he had ‘some coal business’ but this was proven to be fake. His wages were coming from the pockets of people who signed up to the Klan.

The Klan was an evil, bigoted but mostly hypocritical and racist group who enjoyed killing people because of their prejudice and selfishness.

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