100%(6)6 out of 6 people found this document helpful
This preview shows page 1 - 3 out of 31 pages.
1HallmanDecember 19, 2013American South in 19thCentury Research PaperThe Rise and Decline of the Ku Klux Klan in South Carolina“We have been forced by force to use force. Justice was lame and she had to lean upon us. We want and will have Justice but this cannot be till a bleeding fight for freedomis fought!” 1This very powerful, threatening message came from the Ku Klux Klan Headquarters Department of South Carolina, and represents the cold-blooded, merciless determination that the ruthless organization gained during the years of Reconstruction. The Ku Klux Klan, particularly in several South Carolinian Piedmont counties, was an organization that symbolized racial oppression, represented extralegal retribution, and committed many of the most horrific mass atrocities against African Americans and Republicans the United States has ever seen. 2Though Klan activity in South Carolina declined in April, 1871, it left a grisly legacy of a hegemonic society through white supremacy, it acted as a creature of fear for African American and Republican politics, and it sought to retrieve and maintain traditional Southern identity and honor. It was not until the Constitutional Convention of 1868 that the Klan began to plague South Carolina with political, social, mysterious, ritualistic and terrifying acts of violence and hatred.The 1868 Constitutional Convention of South Carolina is arguably one of the primary causes of conservative bitterness and the event that would trigger the inevitable 1. John S. Reynolds, Reconstruction in South Carolina 1865-1877: The Ku Klux Troubles(Columbia, S.C.: The State Co. Publishers, 1905), 185-186.2. Richard Zuczek, State of Rebellion Reconstruction in South Carolina: “We Must fight the Devil With Fire” (Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press, 1996), 55.
2Ku Klux Klan uprising. The New Constitution of 1868 was greatly loved by the white and black republicans and it symbolized yet another building block of Republican Party dominance. South Carolina’s new constitution was truly revolutionary because it created provisional state governments, enfranchised black voters, disfranchised former Confederate officials, dropped the previous ban on freed people’s professions and trades, adopted a uniform system of public schools, and it was the still the most democratic constitution ever enacted in the state.3In addition, the republicans were also able to develop an effective network of Union leagues that promoted loyalty and enthusiasm for the Republican Party. The leagues were essentially political organizations that organized institutions such as evangelical churches, modern trade unions, the rights of tenant farmers and they allowed the freed people to take advantage of the new markets that the railway corridor opened up.4The southern traditionalist conservatives and wealthy planters despised this constitution and felt betrayed that the centralization of power was threatening states’ rights. It wasn’t long that the angered conservatives began to organize