The Ideology of the Ku Klux Klan
The Ku Klux Klan is a terrorist organization founded in the southern states after the American civil war of 1861 – 1865. The Klan basically employed force, violence, and intimidation to pursue their interests. The goals of the Klan were to restore white supremacy, to secure control of government at all levels, to maintain separation of church and state, to promote Protestant fundamentalism, and to restrict immigration. In addition, the Klan was also opposed to capitalism.
2. The Ku Klux Klan’s organization and activities
2.1 The Klan’s organizational structure
The Klan was organized into local units called klaverns. Each klavern was headed by a grand dragon, who answered to the imperial wizard of the national organization. The klaverns were further subdivided into dens, each headed by a grand cyclops.
2. 2 The Klan’s activities
The Klan’s activities included spreading propaganda, providing financial support to candidates for public office who shared their goals, and engaging in acts of violence and terror against those whom they considered their enemies. Their enemies included African Americans, Jews, Catholics, immigrants, communists, socialists, and anyone else who did not conform to their narrow view of America.
3. The Klan’s ideology
3.1 White supremacy
The Klan’s belief in white supremacy was based on the theory of racial hierarchy, which posits that some races are innately superior to others. This theory was used to justify slavery in the antebellum South and Jim Crow segregation in the post- Reconstruction South.
3. 2 Separation of church and state
The Klan advocated for the separation of church and state on the grounds that it would protect America from the influence of Catholicism and other non- Protestant religions. They also believed that this separation would allow them to advance their own version of Christianity without interference from the government.
3. 3 Protestant fundamentalism
The Klan promoted a narrow interpretation of Christianity that stressed literal adherence to the Bible and opposition to modernity. This form of Christianity was known as Protestant fundamentalism. Fundamentalists believed that America was a Christian nation that should be governed according to Biblical principles.
3. 4 Anti- Catholicism
The Klan was strongly opposed to Catholicism, which they saw as a foreign religion that threatened America’s Christian heritage. They believed that Catholics were not truly American and that they owed allegiance to the Pope instead of the Constitution. The Klan engaged in numerous acts of violence against Catholic churches and individuals throughout its history.
3. 5 Anti- Semitism
The Klan also held anti- Semitic views and engaged in acts of violence against Jews on occasion. They believed that Jews were responsible for many of the problems facing America and that they were not truly American citizens.
3.6 Capitalism Klan members were generally supportive of laissez- faire capitalism; however, they were opposed to monopolies and trusts which they believed threatened the economic autonomy of small businesses and farmers. They also believed that these corporations undermined republican values by concentrating power in the hands of a wealthy elite. overall, members of the Ku Klux klan subscribed to an ideology that was narrowly defined, deeply conservative,and fiercely protectiveof white, Protestant America. their hateful rhetoric and violent actions were primarily directed at those groups whom they saw as a threat to their way of life: African Americans, Jews, Catholics, immigrants, and communists.