Politics of the KKK

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    So the KKK gets its started as the armed wing of the Democratic Party during Reconstruction.

    But I am having a hard time following their politics.

    States’ Rights Democrats who represented the interests of the Southern Elite, or was there something more.

    I ask because I have seen the footage where they have a big parade in DC supporting Woodrow Wilson.


    I apologize for being so slow on this; I somehow missed this thread. I’m not fully sure how to answer your question myself; I’ll ask Kevin Gutzman at our next live Q&A session (which will be September 17, Constitution Day, by the way).


    The KKK was originally anti-black and anti-Republican. When resuscitated in the 20th century, it added anti-Catholic to its attributes.

    In general, the Democratic Party became the white party by the end of Reconstruction, and so the KKK tended to support it. This should not be understood as meaning that all Democrats supported the KKK; they did not.

    The 1910s/’20s KKK was extremely powerful, taking control of state governments in the Deep South, but also having having widespread influence–up to electing governors–in Indiana, Oregon, and elsewhere. Upstate New York was a center of KKK strength too. I’m not aware of any Republican officials who were KKK-affiliated ever.


    So are all the modern Republicans who have been identified as being KKK affiliated, former DIxiecrats like Strom Thurmond?


    Not all Southerners were supported by or supported the Klan. For example, Oscar Underwood of Alabama, a powerful congressman during the Wilson administration, opposed the Klan and actively campaigned against them in Alabama.

    Dan Carter made a lucrative career with his stupid book “The Politics of Rage,” the thesis of which has been perpetuated by the academic community for over 30 years now. Carter landed a six figure job at U. of South Carolina just before his retirement. He did not teach. He sat in his office for about 1 hour a week if that and lent his name to the institution.

    The Klan did carry political clout. Their endorsement in Alabama did often mean electoral success, which is why Wallace went so heavy into segregation politics following loses early in his political career. The Klan, however, was considered to be a “progressive” organization, not conservative. They were the moral police, the men and women who advanced a white American Utopia free from vice and sin.


    During or after the Bourbon Restiration, were the relations between blacks and whites really fluid? Is there any decisive factor that precipitated the founding of the KKK or was it a pure reaction to Republican meddling in the South? Who and when did the Jim Crow laws came k to effect and when we’re they proposed? Are they state laws or federal laws? why they were not attacked by the northern states in the 1920s?


    I think the Jim Crow laws came into effect in the generation that immediately followed “Redemption”, mainly when those from leading southern families who were children during the Civil War and Reconstruction became adults.

    The biggest factor that appears to have led to the founding of the KKK is the Union occupation. Remember that many former confederates were barred from military service and politics during this period, and their property was taken by Northerners(the “Carpetbaggers”). The main targets of the KKK seem to have been the Carpetbaggers and Scallywags(collaborators).

    Many Jim Crow laws were State Laws, but you also have to account for the rise Southern Democrat control of the national government that came about in the late 19th century.

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