The rise of the Second Klan - Essay Example

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Name of student: Topic: Lecturer: Date of Presentation: The Rise of the Second Klan The second Ku Klux Klan was revived by Joseph Simmons in 1915 to deal with social tensions that were arising during the time. Most of its tactics and activities were a continuation of what the first Klan had started in the period 1860s and 1870s reconstruction period except the burning cross (Wade, 185)…
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The rise of the Second Klan
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Download file to see previous pages It is believed that it had enlisted more than 30 million people by mid-1920s of which 43% belonged to the protestant church (MacLean, 7). It was against the Catholics, Jews, immigrants and the African Americans who were giving the whites a run for the available housing and jobs. They also aimed at restoring social order. This paper will examine the issues that gave rise to the Klan, the role played by class, gender and race as well as the complex forces that gave rise to the invisible army. The rise of the second Klan can be attributed to many factors as outlined by MacLean (1-97). The first factor responsible for the rise of the Klan was the famous film “The birth of the Nation” by D.W Griffiths which depicted black men as beasts and the white men as saviors of American civilization (12). The film had lots of praises for the first Klan in their advocacy for restoration of the white rule after the civil and the reconstruction thereafter. As such, it was very influential among the whites. Simmons and his friends took advantage of this platform to preach their ideologies and recruit thousands of members. Another significant event that gave rise to the second Klan was the lynching of a Jewish man namely Leo Frank. This individual had been convicted of murdering Mary Phagan a white factory worker. He had been handed a death sentence but the Georgia governor commuted the sentence (12). The white men were very angry with the governor’s action that they decided to hang him and the place he was hanged became the podium for launching the Klan organization. This was the beginning of the recruitment drive for the Klan. It established links with the press to champion their course and attract more people to the Klan through propaganda. These helped the Klan to infiltrate even the high levels of government since those who were against the fraternity would be threatened and blackmailed (88). The role of government officials was to ensure security for members; since it comprised of governors, mayors, lecturers, and judges the chances of prosecuting errant members were slim. This is why the organization managed to thrive for long and expand despite its activities. The Klan also ensured most of the lay leaders of the protestant churches were Klan men. This enabled them to paint a good picture of the Klan despite their violent acts. They also infiltrated the fraternal organizations such as the woodmen of world and Elk and used them to recruit more members and as a channel for communicating its agenda. Those who joined were initiated through an oathing ceremony whereby they paid initiation fees as well as buying Klan costumes which comprised of hoods, robes, and terrifying masks (MacLean, 7-15). According to MacLean’s “The vice of modernity,” the rise of the second Klan was also prompted by economic and social factors. The main issue that led the whites to revive the Klan was fear of losing the white supremacy due to the economic and social changes that were occurring. They felt that these shifting lines of race, class, religion and gender were threatening social order and it was its role to maintain order in society (MacLean 32). Due to industrialization there was rapid urbanization which changed the lives of Americans. Most people were involved in cotton farming among other farming activities with the whites ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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