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The Ku Klux Klan was arguably America’s first organized terrorist movement. It was a paramilitary unit that arose in the South during the early years of Reconstruction. At its peak in the early 1870s, the Klan boasted many tens of thousands of members, no small number of them landowners, lawmen, doctors, journalists, and churchmen, as well as future governors and congressmen. And their mission was to obliterate the small but growing economic and political power of newly emancipated black Americans and their white allies, often by the most horrifying means imaginable.

To repel the virulent tidal wave of violence, President Ulysses S. Grant waged a two-term battle against both armed southern enemies of Reconstruction and northerners seduced by visions of post-war conciliation, testing for the first time the limits of the federal government in determining the extent of states’ rights.

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To discuss this early history of reconstruction is today’s guest, Fergus M. Bordewich, author of “Klan War: Ulysses S. Grant and the Battle to Save Reconstruction.” We explore the hamlets of the former Confederate States and the marble corridors of Congress, analyzing key figures such as crusading Missouri Senator Carl Schurz and the ruthless former slave trader Nathan Bedford Forrest.

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"The Origins of the KKK and its First Death in the 1870s" History on the Net
© 2000-2024, Salem Media.
June 16, 2024 <https://www.historyonthenet.com/the-origins-of-the-kkk-and-its-first-death-in-the-1870s>
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