A secret terrorist organization that began in the southern states during the
reconstruction period following the Civil War and was reactivated on a larger basis in
the 20th century. The original Klan was brought together in Pulaski, Tennessee in
1865, by sixX-Confederate officers who gave their society a name from the Greek
word kuklos. Although the Ku Klux Klan began as a prankish social organization, its
activities soon were directed against the Republican Reconstruction governments
and their leaders, black and white, which came to power in the southern states in
The Klansmen thought of the Reconstruction governments as hostile and
oppressive. They also believed in the inferiority of blacks so they resented the rise of
former slaves to a status of equality. The Klan became an illegal group committed to
destroying the Reconstruction governments everywhere from the Carolinas to
Arkansas. Wearing robes or sheets andmasks with pointed hoods, the Klansmen
terrorized public officials in order to drive them from office and blacks in general to
stop them from voting. It was normal for the Klansmen to burn crosses near homes of
people they wanted to frighten. When these things failed to create the wanted
outcome, their victims might be mutilated or even murdered. These activities were
justified by the Klan as needed measures in defense of white supremacy.
A secret meeting of Klansmen in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1867, took ona
declaration of principles showing loyalty to the United States Constitution. The
convention designated the Klan as an invisible empire and made it possible for a
supreme official, called Grand Wizard, who had racist power. Other officials of the
Klan were the Grand Dragon, the Grand Titan, and the Grand Cyclops.From 1868 to
1870, while federal troops were being taken out of the southern states, the Klan was
more and more controlled by the rougher parts of

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