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There were 63 members of the reconstructed South Carolina legislature, 50 of whom were Negroes or mulattos and 13 White (Carpetbaggers and Scalawags). Twenty two could read and write (8 grammatically). The remainder (41) make their mark with the aid of an amanuensis. Nineteen are tax payers to an aggregate of $146.10, the rest (44) pay no taxes, and the body levies on the White people of the state $4,000,000.00 in taxes. After the Civil War, Carpetbag and Negro rule reduced South Carolina from third place per capita wealth in 1860 to thirtieth place in 1870.
In 1868, Blacks dominated the Louisiana Legislature during Reconstruction. The militarily conquered Whites of the South were denied all Constitutional Rights; they could not vote, run for public office, or hold Civil positions. They were denied redress of grievances, yet, were forced to pay excessive taxes to pay for the war.
Above: Negro poll watcher oversees election in which only Blacks, scalawags, and carpetbaggers could vote.
Above: The Freedmen's Bureau was created by the Radical Republicans in Congress to give the newly freed Blacks political power over the conquered southern Whites.
A Brief History of the Original Ku Klux Klan: 1865 -1869.
"Adventurers swarmed out of the North, as much the enemies of one race as of the other, to cozen, beguile and use the Negroes. The White men were aroused by a mere instinct of self preservation until at last there sprang into existence a great Ku Klux Klan, a veritable Empire of the South, to protect the Southern Country." - Woodrow Wilson (of New Jersey) President of the United States,in his "History of the American People."
In April 1865, the war of Southern secession came to its bitter end. For the last time the Confederate armies assembled themselves before the Union forces, not to do battle, but to stack arms, surrender, and go home. But what did they go home to? After four years of bitter conflict the South was devastated. Its economy was shattered. Its countryside was ravaged. Its cities lay in ruins and most bridges and ferries were destroyed or damaged.
With the collapse of the Confederate government, Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, did not want to grant even a shadow of legality to Southern civil authority. He declared that all police power in the South had reverted to the United States Army. Individuals who held local civil positions had to report themselves to the military authorities. Anyone who violated these instructions was liable to trial before a military tribunal. Civil authority thus fell into a void. Lawlessness abounded. Millions of emancipated Negroes roamed about. They had no education, no work, no homes, and no money. To avoid starvation they raided and stole whatever they could. Poor whites who owned small family farms were defenseless against large roaming gangs of desperate hungry Negroes. Rape and murder became commonplace.
The collapse of the Confederate armies alone guaranteed an upsurge in crime as half starved veterans began their long march back to their homes. In desperation they scrambled for handouts and resorted to petty thievery. General Johnson noted he could do nothing as Lee's veterans passed through the lines of his still intact army in late April, stealing mules and horses as well as clothes hung out to dry. A week earlier Thomasville, Georgia had been the scene of three days of disorder as disbanding soldiers passed through the town. On the night of May 6, more then fifty armed men stole eighty nine mules and seven horses from the loosely guarded Confederate depot. On May 8, four hundred former soldiers attacked the Confederate storehouses. At the commissary they broke into two warehouses and carried away 125,000 pounds of corn. They also destroyed all books, papers, and office furniture they could find. Such riots were widespread in the deep South following the war's end.
When a group of paroled soldiers arrived in Houston, to find that the Confederate storehouse had already been looted, they threatened to burn the Texas town. Frightened citizens hastily provided food and accommodations for the ex-soldiers. The sanctity of private property had already been severely undermined by the wartime foraging practices of Union and Confederate forces. By war's end bands of outlaws had deserters roamed from county to county plundering the scanty stores of the distressed and impoverished people.
More than a year after the end of the war one newspaper editor noted that it was impossible for Southerners to pick up a local newspaper without being horror stricken with the details of some terrible atrocity, robbery, rape, or murder. Before the war these were rare occurrences. Observers often differed as to which area of the South was most crime ridden. On top of all this, Southern Unionists shared a blood thirsty desire for revenge. Later, the Radical Republicans transformed vengeance into a state religion and exemplified the bitterness of Southern Unionists who had been persecuted during the war.
In the summer of 1865, Gov. Brownlow of Tennessee, declared that persecutors of Union men had forfeited all rights to protection and life. That same year one delegate to the Tennessee Constitutional Convention stated that the only right the Rebels had was to be hung. There is ample documentation of cases in which Unionists, seeking revenge for wartime harassment, used their new positions to jail their old enemies on trumped up charges. On the vaguest rumors and hearsay, cavalry units calmly put the torch to the homes of citizens. Vengeful Unionists formed the Loyal League, ostensibly to suppress crime, keep order, and maintain discipline among the Negro population. In fact the Loyal League acted to intimidate political opponents and ex-Confederates.
Worsening the post war situation were the infamous Carpetbaggers and Scalawags, who sought personal profit and political power by exploiting the plight of both the freed Negroes and conquered Whites. The Radical Republicans declared the Southern States would have to be re-constructed before they could be re-admitted into the Union. Until then, the ex-Confederates had no rights of citizenship. Southern whites were completely disenfranchised with no legal standing. They could not vote, hold public office, or petition for the redress of grievances. In an effort to stop the lawlessness, the South was divided into five military districts and marshal law declared. Through out the South, freed Negroes formed the Union League and Black Militias and in most areas were given the task of enforcing marshal law. Led by corrupt officers and self serving politicians, the Union League became the most violent and murderous arm of the reconstruction to Blacks and Whites alike.
It was amid this atmosphere that John Lester, James Crowe, John Kennedy, Calvin Jones, Richard Reed, and Frank McCord met in a law office in Pulaski, TN., on Christmas Eve, 1865 and, innocently enough, decided to form a social club for the purpose of mutual entertainment. The club adopted the style of the college fraternities in vogue at the time. They would dress up in weird costumes and play practical jokes on unsuspecting people. To create an aura of mystery they invented an unusual name and called their social club: the Ku Klux Klan.
In 1866, the popularity of the Ku Klux Klan grew through out Tennessee and beyond. At the same time depredations committed by renegade Blacks and Whites, coupled with the absents of constitutional law and vengeance seeking Radical Republicans, made life in the South become all but unbearable. Quite by accident the nocturnal pranksters of the Ku Klux Klan discovered that their costumes and highjinks had a startling effect on the superstitious Negroes. The Negroes thought they were seeing ghosts whenever a group of Klansmen were seen going about at night. The Klan was quick to realize that their newly discovered ghostly image could be used to control bands of unruly Negroes. At first the night riders went out unarmed. Not intending to hurt anyone, they believed that anyone they met would be too frightened to try to harm them. Things were soon to change.
When the Carpetbagger and Scalawag politicians noticed that renegade Negroes were beginning to behave themselves and crime went drastically down in areas where a Den of the Klan had been established, they reacted swiftly. Carpetbaggers and Scalawags were manipulators. They thrived in the violent post Civil War period where they could take advantage of people's fears to increase their own fortunes and political powers. The Loyal League and Union League made willing allies. The Klan was, for the most part, made up of ex-Confederates who were hated by the Loyal League and if crime and violence went down, no one could justify the expense of maintaining the Negro Militias. The Loyal League and Union League began night patrols in the name of protecting the terrified Negro population. These patrols did not hesitate to open fire on the Klansmen, who, up to that point, were guilty of nothing worse then Halloween tricks. The Klan responded in kind. Soon skirmishes broke out when night patrols of each side would chance encounter each other.
By early 1867, the Klan was spreading through out large sections of the South. It was still largely unstructured and unorganized. By the same token, the Reconstruction Acts of Congress were very organized and well structured . In short, the White South had no constitutional or legal rights at all. The freed Negroes, however, were given full rights. The end result was Negro rule through out most of the South, enforced by Union bayonets. To avoid chaos and to confront the oppression of reconstruction the Klan sought to organize itself. Spokesmen for the Klan first asked former general, Robert E. Lee, if he would head the organization. Lee declined citing his age and poor health. Lee suggested they ask the younger former general, Nathan Bedford Forrest. When the Klan spokesmen asked if they could count on Lee's support, Lee said, yes, but only if his support for their growing empire remained absolutely invisible. This inspired the Klan to adopt the nickname, "Invisible Empire". (Lee was never actually sworn into the KKK because he was not a "paroled" exConfederate and he thought that this could cause legal trouble for the fledgling organization. However, he was an active advisor to the Klan's leadership.) N.B. Forrest accepted the Klan's offer to lead the organization and in April 1867, at a convention in Nashville, TN., Forrest became the first Grand Wizard of the Order of the Ku Klux Klan. The rules and regulations of the order, called the Prescripts, were written by former general, John B. Gordon, who became the Grand Dragon or state leader of the KKK in Georgia. Former general, Albert Pike, became the chief judicial officer for the Klan. Pike was also a major figure in Scottish Rite Masonry in America. A notable Klansman and Free Mason, Pike is buried in the Masonic Lodge in Washington, D.C., just a few blocks from the White House.
Once organized under Grand Wizard Forrest, the Klan became a force to be reckoned with. Disbanded Confederate units reunited to form Dens of the Klan. Ex-Confederate officers became the Grand Dragons, Giants, and Titans. Ex-Confederate common soldiers made up the rank and file of the Klan and were called Ghouls. As this was happening, other organizations independently began to form in the South to combat the depredations of outlaws, renegade Whites and Blacks, the Union and Loyal Leagues, Carpetbag rule, and the outrages allowed by the Reconstruction Acts of Congress. Some of these new organizations were: the Knights of the White Camellia, the White League, the White Brotherhood, and the Red Shirts to name a few. These organizations were independent from, yet just as secret as, the Ku Klux. Having no legal rights, members of these organizations could not afford to have their identities made known and solemn oaths of secrecy were taken by all. The secrecy was both a help and a hindrance to the Klan. While it protected the identity of its members, it became difficult to tell if an act had been committed by the Klan, one of the other ant-reconstruction organizations, or by outlaws impersonating the Klan. In the forty seven volumes that make up the Ku Klux Report to Congress, there is ample documentation to prove that most of the atrocities attributed to the Klan were, in fact, committed by the other anti-reconstruction organizations, outlaws impersonating the Klan, and in many cases Loyal Leaguers and Black Union Leaguers who would disguise themselves as Klansmen and raid Negro hamlets to instill anti-white sentiment for political purposes. The Reconstruction authorities soon declared the Ku Klux Klan and all other resistance groups as outlaws. The Negro militias were ordered to kill on sight anyone believed to be a Klansman.
During all this the Klan tried to keep its intentions on a high level. When the Klan "Ku Kluxed" someone it was only after the victim was given a trial and was allowed to choose someone to speak on their behalf and defend them. The Klan also gave large sums of money to war widows and orphans.
The victims of the Klan, who were White as well as Black, tended to be people proven to be guilty of serious crimes such as barn burnings, theft, rape, or murder. Corrupt politicians, Carpetbaggers and Scalawags were also Ku Kluxed. Usually the Klan left cryptic messages to warn minor offenders, but if these warnings were ignored, they too could be Ku Kluxed, which meant anything from a flogging to execution. These were barbaric times, but the Klan sought to restore law and order, not to destroy it. There was, in fact, no law and the Klan only used force when the forces of the Radical Republicans gave it no other choice.
Ignored by most modern historians is the fact that after the Civil War many ex-Union soldiers chose to settle in the South. Shocked by the outrageous conditions reconstruction imposed upon the White South, many of these ex-Union soldiers either joined or supported the Klan or the other resistance groups. Many Union soldiers and officers occupying parts of the conquered South co-operated with the Klan in fighting Carpetbag rule and outrages committed by Negro organizations.
The term "ku klux" became popular and was widely used. Any resistance to reconstruction was given the label "ku klux". In their efforts to crush all resistance, the Radical Republicans labeled ALL white southerners as "Ku Klux" and the atrocities committed by outlaws, bandits, impersonators, and anyone else were all laid to the Klan's blame. With the death penalty hanging over their heads, Klansmen were in no position to come forward and openly deny the charges and defend themselves. But the Klan did attempt to police the situation. The Klan issued public warnings that anyone caught committing a crime while disguised as a Klansman would be executed. It is documented that the Klan publicly posted warnings condemning the mistreatment of innocent Blacks and it is equally documented that on at least one occasion the KKK even hung one of its own members for beating up an unoffending Black man. (See the "Execution of Bill German" below.)
The Klan was in a dilemma. It found itself in a two front war. On the one hand they were confronting criminals, carpetbaggers, and renegade Negroes in their efforts to protect their families and restore law and order. On the other hand they had to deal with impersonators who committed all manner of outrages motivated by everything from personal revenge to political manipulations. Plus the Klan, itself, was declared outlaw and hunted. As anti-white reconstruction legislation became more brutal the situation worsened. All sides clashed in nocturnal pitch battles which sometimes involved hundreds of participants as well as the use of cannon. During reconstruction there were approximately 50,000 casualties. The Klan grew to over 400,000 members. Negroes, on the one hand, opposed the Klan while Black Union Leaguers impersonated the Klan to ferment further unrest and anti-white hatred. At the same time thousands of Negroes aided the Klan who helped rid them of carpetbaggers and outlaws. There is documented proof that there were even Negroes who were actually sworn into the KKK as members. (See the section dealing with the Negro members of the KKK in this web page.)
Full fledged guerrilla warfare was on the verge of breaking out throughout the South and the federal government found itself powerless to stop it. The harsher the government mandates became, the stiffer the resistance became. Finally, in 1869, newly elected President Grant agreed to a secret meeting with Grand Wizard Forrest. The two men had faced each other in the Civil War and were now facing each other in a new kind of war. Grant asked what it would take to end the turmoil. Forrest replied the restoration of full rights of citizenship to the white South and home rule. Grant agreed. Grand Wizard Forrest would disband the Klan and later that year Grant would begin the process of withdrawing federal troops and restoring Constitutional Rights to the South. Unfortunately, the unrest did not end with the disbandment of the Ku Klux Klan in 1869. (For more on the "disbandment" of 1869, see the footnote below.) Grand Wizard Forrest had no authority over the other independent groups that also opposed the Reconstruction. Some of these groups, like the White Camellia, had grown to be as large as the Klan, and the outrages committed by impersonators continued. Though he did what he could, under these conditions President Grant found it difficult to keep his end of the bargain. Though Reconstruction would eventually end, it was agonizingly slow.
In the early 1870's the Ku Klux Klan as it had been known ceased to exist. But all resistance had been labeled "ku klux" by the northern newspapers and public officials. In 1871, Congress passed the Anti-Ku Klux Act which launched a massive investigation into the affairs of the late insurrectory states. The Federal government found its own policies largely to blame for the post Civil War turmoil. Gradually (too gradually) the government began to make amends and slowly, all organizations labeled "ku klux" faded away. By 1880, there was no longer a need for them. The restoration of civil liberties, civil authority, and home rule to the white South enabled law enforcers to stamp out the outlaws and criminal impersonators of the Ku Klux Klan.
The most unfortunate victims of the Reconstruction Era were the poor whites and freed Negroes who fared the worse under the violent conditions. The most infamous villains were the Carpetbaggers and Scalawags, most of whom just happened to be Jewish. But there is documentation that ex-Confederate Jews, as well as many Catholics also joined the Klan. Religious distinctions were not part of the original Ku Klux Klan's doctrine. Names like Cohen and Rosenbaum appear on both sides. Some Jews rose as high as the rank of Grand Cyclops in the original KKK. (In time I will add a section dealing with the Jews in the KKK.)
While most historian claim that the country has never fully recovered from the Civil War, the reality is that the country has never recovered from the Reconstruction. More accurately we should simply consider the Reconstruction as the last battle and chapter of the Civil War. In the wake of Reconstruction, many myths have sprung up concerning the Klan and the most ridiculous ones seem to be most widely accepted today as facts. Most biased modern historians claim that the Klan just wandered around looking for innocent Negroes to hang. In fact, the original Klan never hung anyone who was truly innocent and did much to protect the innocent of both races. (See "General Order No. One" below.)
Another myth is that the Klan was started by the Knights of the Golden Circle, which was a Confederate guerrilla organization that operated in the border state areas of the Midwest. This is unfounded. While former members of the Knights of the Golden Circle may have joined the Ku Klux Klan at one time or other, the origins of the Klan are well documented by its own founders.
The most common myth is that the original Klan burned crosses. This is the invention of fiction writer, Thomas Dixon, and elaborated upon by movie producer, D.W. Griffith. In the 47 volumes that make up the Ku Klux Report to Congress, not one eye witness, not one ex-Klansman, not one surviving victim, not one newspaper article makes any reference at all to a fiery cross of any kind. In the Klan's own Prescripts much detail is given to making the Klan flag or Grand Ensign, but no mention of a cross, fiery or otherwise, is made. It was not until 1915, that former Methodist minister, William Joseph Simmons, adopted the Methodist religious symbol of the fiery cross as a symbol for his revived Ku Klux Klan, after being inspired by the Dixon novel, "The Clansman" and the Griffith motion picture, "The Birth of a Nation".
For nearly one hundred years the Klan was recognized as the savior of the white South. Amid the lawlessness and chaos of the Reconstruction Era the Klan sought to restore law and order and protect the defenseless population. It was incredibly successful. Unfortunately for all involved, it could only use the means at hand. Amid a reign of terror committed by the highest levels of government, to the lowest common outlaws, the Klan resorted to the use of terror. Having felt they accomplished their goals for the most part, the Klan terminated its former self and activities, transformed itself, then dissolved itself and was not defeated by government legislation. Had there never been a revival of the Ku Klux Klan, the original Klan would have maintained its place in history as an organization of decent men who were forced under unbearable conditions to do only what was necessary to protect life, liberty, and property at a time of unprecedented lawlessness and abuse of authority by a government gone mad with power. (Just like today.)
Footnote: (The "disbandment" of the KKK in 1869 was, in fact, an ending of one phase and the beginning of another. The robed night riding patrols, parades, and punitive extralegal activities of the KKK were ordered to end. All robes, trappings, and paraphernalia of such were ordered destroyed. But, the KKK itself was not actually ordered to dissolve. That did not happen until Forrest's death in 1877. After 1869 and until 1877, Forrest remained in command in name, but his second in command, Georgia Grand Dragon, and exConfederate General, John B. Gordon, actually ran the KKK. Respecting Forrest's request to do so, Gordon dissolved the Klan upon Forrest's death. Between 1869 and 1877 the KKK changed from it's former self into a body of men who essentially formed a "White" lobby attempting to restore Constitutional rights to the disfranchised White southern population using legal means. They did this not as a political party, but by individually getting involved in politics through the Democratic Party. Once exConfederates had their rights to vote and hold office restored, many "former" Klansmen were elected to public office.)
The following is the order of disbandment. It is copied word for word. It is the only order to be written down by Forrest as Grand Wizard of the KKK. All other orders were passed on verbally by messengers:
Headquarters of the
Dismal Era, 4th Green Day, Last Hour, C.A.R.N. (October 20, 1869.)
General Order No. 1.
WHEREAS, The Order of the K.K.K. is in some localities being perverted from its original honorable and patriotic purposes;
AND, WHEREAS, Such a perversion of the Order is in some instances defeating the very objects of its origins and is becoming injurious instead of subservient to the public peace and public safety for which it was intended, and in some cases is being used to achieve personal benefit and private purposes, and to satiate private revenge by means of its masked features; AND, WHEREAS, Public sentiment is against a masked organization in the country; AND WHEREAS, Their masked features offer an opportunity to bad men outside the Order to depredate and outrage the people in our name; AND WHEREAS, A few disobedient and bad men have gotten into the Order through imprudence and otherwise, and whose conduct under mask is a disgrace to the good name and honorable reputation of the Order.
It is therefore ordered and decreed, that the masks and costumes of this Order be entirely abolished and destroyed. And every Grand Cyclops shall assemble the men of his Den and require them to destroy in his presence every article of his mask and costume and at the same time shall destroy his own. And every man who shall refuse to do so shall be deemed an enemy of this Order, and shall be treated accordingly. And every man who shall hereafter be seen in mask or costume, shall not be known or recognized as a member of this Order, but shall be deemed an enemy of the same, and for such offense shall suffer the extreme penalty of the law.
This is not to be understood to dissolve the Order of the Ku Klux Klan, but it is hereby held more firmly together and more faithfully bound to each other in any emergency that may come.
All demonstrations are positively prohibited until they are ordered by a Grand Titan or higher authority. The Disarming of Negroes, except when they may be arming and assembling for insurrectionary purposes, is positively prohibited. And the whipping of Negroes or White men is also prohibited. This will not be allowed. All interference in the domestic affairs of families is prohibited. Such is a prostitution of the Order from its high and public purposes.
The use of the Order for the achievement of personal benefit and the gratification of private revenge, is in all cases prohibited. This Order has nothing do with the personal difficulties or private transactions of men. Such is a perversion of the Order. The interference with any man on account of his political opinion is wrong and positively forbidden. The terrifying of men to prevent them from collecting their debts, or for any similar purpose, is prohibited under severest penalty. This is a disgrace to the Order, and never was for a moment the purpose of the same - it being a public protective institution and nothing else.
The breaking and invading of jails for the abduction and execution of criminals is positively and under all circumstances prohibited. Any one who shall write letters in the name of this Order to terrify men for the accomplishment of personal designs shall be severely punished. All demonstrations are positively prohibited until ordered by the authority aforesaid. The profoundest quiet and deepest secrecy concerning everything that relates to the Order, shall, at all times be maintained. Any man who shall violate this Order shall be deemed an enemy to the Order, and shall suffer the extreme penalty of the law. We must protect our good name and honor from the disgrace that a few bad men may desire to bring upon us. And any man who shall expose this Order or any of the members of the same, shall suffer the extreme penalty of the law as heretofore prescribed.
Every Cyclops will destroy this Order as soon as read to every member of their Den and Staff. By command of THE GRAND WIZARD. First Genii, Acting Grand Scribe.
Prior to 1924, the above order was given to the Susan L. Davis, author of "Authentic History of the Ku Klux Klan, 1865 - 1877", by Major Robert Donnell, who was Grand Scribe of the "Invisible Empire" in 1869, to be included in her book. He stated that the Ku Klux Klan was not disbanded until 1877, but this order was General Forrest's method of misleading those who were attempting to dissolve it by trying to get the Anti - Ku Klux Act passed by Congress. (The Anti - Ku Klux Act was finally passed into law in 1871.)
For further reading I recommend the following books:
Authentic History of the Ku Klux Klan, 1865 - 1877, by Susan Lawrence Davis.
Invisible Empire, by Stanley Horn.
The Knights of the Ku Klux Klan by Col. Winfield Jones
The Story of the Ku Klux Klan by Col. Winfield Jones
A Story of the Original Ku Klux Klan by the Pulaski Citizen
Ku Klux Klan: Its Origin, Growth, and Disbandment by J.C. Lester and D.L. Wilson
The Klan by Patsy Simms
Some additional information on the original Ku Klux Kan.
It is widely held today that the KKK was a lawless group that just went around the post Civil War South looking for innocent Negroes to hang. Such is nonsense. But the myth is deliberately perpetuated by today's biased media and historians. We have many books that disprove their claims. Here I will just briefly show some details that the Klan tried to police the situation and prevent innocent Negroes from being harmed.
The following is taken from, "A Story of the Original Ku Klux Klan" and can, also, be found in "Authentic History of the Ku Klux Klan". See book list above.
General Order No. 1. Headquarters Realm No. 1 (Tennessee.) Dreadful Era, Black Epoch, Dreadful Hour.
Whereas, information of an authentic character has reached these headquarters that Blacks in counties of Marshall, Maury, Giles, and Lawrence (Tenn.), are organized into military companies, with the avowed purpose to make war upon and exterminate the Ku Klux Klan, destroy our homes, desolate our land, heap indignities upon our good fair women ten thousand times worse then death itself, said Blacks are hereby solemnly warned and ordered to desist from further action in such organizations, if they exist.
The Grand Dragon regrets the necessity of such an order. But this Ku Klux Klan shall not be outraged and interfered with by lawless Negroes and meaner White men, who do not and never have understood our purposes.
In the first place this Ku Klux Kan is not an institution of violence, lawlessness, and cruelty; it is not lawless; it is not aggressive; it is not military; it is not revolutionary. It is, essentially, originally, and inherently a protective organization. It proposes to execute the law instead of resisting it; and to protect all good men, whether white or black, from the outrages and atrocities of bad men of both colors, who have been for the past three years a terror to society, and and injury to us all.
Blacks seem to be impressed with the belief that this Ku Klux Klan is especially their enemy. We are not the enemy of Blacks, as long as they behave themselves, make no threats upon us, and do not attack or interfere with us. But, if they make war upon us they must abide the awful retribution that will follow.
This Klan, while in its peaceful movements and disturbing no one, has been fired into three times. This will not be endured any longer; and if it occurs again, and the parties be discovered, a remorseless vengeance will be wrecked upon them.
We (the KKK) reiterate that we are for peace, law, and order. No man, white of black, shall be molested for his political sentiments. This Klan is not a political party; it is not a military party; it is a protective organization, an will never use violence except in resisting violence.
Outrages have been perpetrated by irresponsible parties, in the name of the Ku Klux Klan. Should such parties be apprehended they will be dealt with in a manner to insure us future exemption from such imposition. These imposters have in some instances, whipped Negroes. This is wrong! Wrong! It is denounced by this Klan as it must be by all good and humane men.
The Ku Klux Klan, now, as in the past is, is prohibited from doing such things. We are striving to protect all good, peaceful, well disposed and law abiding men, whether white or black.
The Grand Dragon deems this order due to the public, due to the Ku Klux Klan, and due to those who are misguided and misinformed. We therefore, request that all newspapers who are friendly to law, peace, and public welfare, will publish the same.
By order of the Grand Dragon, Realm No. 1. and by the Grand Scribe. (The Grand Scribe was John B. Kennedy, one of the six original founders.)
Note: I highlighted in red some lines in General Order No. 1. This was done to repudiate the false claims made by some modern day "Klan" groups, that claim on their web pages, that the original KKK was founded and intended to be a para military organization. General Order No. 1, itself, denounces the claims made by these modern day "Klan" groups who give very distorted ignorant accounts of the nature and purpose of the original KKK.
So, did the Klan enforce this order? History indicates that it did. The following is taken from, "Invisible Empire", by Stanley Horn:
"The explosion came when a conservative Negro had the temerity to attempt to make a political speech, and the armed League (the Black Union League) members broke up the meeting and marched away firing their guns into the air. That night there was a fatal clash between a parade of the exulting Negroes of the League and an armed party of conservatives, black and white, who attempted to prevent their demonstrating on the public square. When the gunfire subsided and the smoke cleared away one white conservative was dead and six white and seven Negro members of that party were wounded, along with 27 wounded Leaguers.
As a result of this riot, and similar clashes in other parts of the state, fears were expressed that there would be serious trouble on election day, and leaders of both parties worked together to prevent bloodshed. In Memphis, Gen. Forrest (the Grand Wizard, himself) organized a body of volunteer police (the Klan) who co-operated with the city police department on election day to prevent outbreaks; and in the other cities of the state similar efforts were made to insure peace, with the result that the casualties on election day were held to a minimum."
But did the Klan go so far as to execute anyone caught committing an outrage in the name of the KKK? Yes, according to an article in the Jan. 19, 1869 issue of The Memphis Daily Appeal! The following is taken from that article:
The Execution of Bill German in Overton County.
The Union and American of Saturday says: "By a private letter from a trustworthy gentleman residing at Cookville in Putnam County, we give some further information in regard to the recent execution near Livingston, in Overton County, by a body of supposed Ku-Klux, of the young man Wm. German, an account of which we published Thursday morning. "He says that a few days before the execution, German shot and badly wounded, and supposed he had killed, a Negro man living in his neighborhood. The shooting took place in a public road, and the Negro managed to crawl to the house of his employer, where he told who had shot him. The Negro had the character of being a quiet, peaceable man, and as there had been no previous trouble between him and German, it was supposed the crime was perpetrated in pure wantonness.
It is thought that the persons by whom German was killed were members of a secret organization, to which he belonged - but whether Ku-Klux or not, nobody in the neighborhood appears to know. The body of men concerned in the execution numbered about 200, and none of them were identified by citizens who witnessed their appearance and departure. Accounts reported Bill German was found hanged in a nearby barn; a sign posted there declared: Hung for shooting a Negro, Bill Cullum, and violating the laws of Ku Klux."
Capt. John Lea (above) organized KKK dens throughout his home county in North Carolina.
Sept. 28, 1935: When Capt. John Lea, a respected tobacco man, died at 92, the nation discovered he had gotten away with murder. He was the last of the perpetrators of a Klan execution that had taken place 65 years earlier in Caswell County, N.C. The victim was a state senator and justice of the peace named John Walter Stephens.
Lea, was a Confederate veteran and an organizer of the KKK in his county. Stephens was a scalawag, working to deliver the Black vote for the Radical Republicans. In his fervor, he intimidated White Democrats.
On Sunday morning, May 22, 1870, Stephens was found dead in a storeroom of the county courthouse. The killing created a furor. It was widely believed that Stephens's death was a Klan execution, and numbers of White men, including Lea, were arrested and questioned. But all remained silent, and all were released.
As time passed, the various suspects died, until only Capt. Lea was left. Asked repeatedly what had happened, he would reply, "You can all wait till I die." In 1919, he secretly gave three state officials a statement about the execution to be read posthumously.
Made public upon his death, the affidavit stated that Stephens had been "tried" for arson and extortion, found guilty, and sentenced to death by the Klan. Naming the Klansmen involved, Lea then described how Stephens was executed. Lea commented, with no indication of remorse: "Stephens had a fair trial before a jury of twelve men." - Source of information: Strange Stories, Amazing Facts of America's Past, Reader's Digest General Books, 1989.
Foot note: It must be noted that Stephens, who was senator and justice of the peace, was breaking the law by rigging an election and by intimidating White citizens, apparently through arson and extortion. So what were the respectable White people to do? Go to the justice of the peace and report it? The man who represented the law was the one who was breaking it! In this case, "we the people" acted as the instrument of the law. Stephens was not lynched. He was given a trial with a jury of twelve equals. When the government, which is entrusted to administer the law, betrays the public trust and, in fact, becomes the violators of the law, then it is not only the duty of the people to act, but it is also their right.
After the original KKK disbanded there was no Ku Klux Klan until it was revived in 1915. Therefore, we feel that the 1911 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica and the 1918 edition of the World Book Encyclopaedia give an unbiased and accurate brief description of the original Ku Klux Klan. It will be interesting to the reader to compare today's Encyclopaedia Britannica and all others to these editions.
The World Book Encyclopaedia, 1918, Hanson - Roach - Fowler Company, Chicago, Volume Four on page 3280 states: "Although the organization (the KKK) exceeded legal bounds, it did much in bringing law and order to the South. The Negroes after the war were at first unruly and later an actual menace to the Whites."
The Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1911, University Press, New York, 35 West 32nd St., Eleventh Edition, Volume 15, pages 942-943 states: "Ku Klux Klan, the name of an American secret association of Southern Whites united for self protection and to oppose the Reconstruction measures of the United States Congress, 1865-1876.The name is generally applied not only to the order of the Ku Klux Klan, but to other similar societies that existed at the same time, such as the Knights of the White Camellia, a larger order than the Klan, the White Brotherhood, the White League, Pale Faces, Constitutional Union Guards, Black Cavalry, White Rose, The '76 Association, and hundreds of smaller societies that sprang up in the South after the Civil War. The Object was to protect the Whites during the disorders that followed the Civil War, and to oppose the policy of the North towards the South, and the result of the whole movement was a more or less successful revolution against the Reconstruction and an overthrow of the governments based on Negro suffrage. ...... The members accidentally discovered that the fear of it had a great influence over the lawless but superstitious Blacks, and soon the club expanded into a great federation of regulators, absorbing numerous local bodies that had been formed in the absence of civil law......The various causes assigned for the origin and development of this movement were: the absence of stable government in the South for several years after the Civil War, the corrupt and tyrannical rule of the alien, renegade, and Negro, and the belief that it was supported by the Federal troops which controlled elections and legislative bodies, the disfranchisement of Whites, the spread of ideas of social and political equality among the Negroes, fear of Negro insurrection, the arming of Negro militias and the disarming of the Whites, outrages upon White women by Black men, the influence of Northern adventurers in the Freedman's Bureau and the Union League in alienating the races, the humiliation of Confederate soldiers after they had been paroled - in general, the insecurity felt by Southerner Whites during the decade after the collapse of the Confederacy. ....... The United States Congress in 1871 - 1872 enacted a series of "Force Laws" intended to break up the secret societies and to control the Southern elections. Several hundred arrests were made and a few convictions were secured. The elections were controlled for a few years and violence was checked, but the Ku Klux movement went on until it accomplished its objective by giving protection to the Whites, reducing the Blacks to order, replacing the Whites in control of society and state, expelling the worst of the Carpetbaggers and Scalawags, and nullifying those laws of Congress which had resulted in placing the Southern Whites under control of a party composed principally of ex-slaves."
My comment: The History Channel, (and most modern historians and educators as well), are just plain lying when they put forth, as fact, the myth, that the KKK was dedicated to lawlessness and violence for the sake of racial hate and just rode around at night looking for innocent Negroes to hang. They are deliberately and knowingly rewriting American history for the sake of appeasing special interest minority groups at the expense of, and against the wishes of, the majority of US citizens. The citizens of the United States are being stripped of their true history, heritage, and national identity for the sake of "globalization" and making Americans serfs in the growing dictatorship of the New World Order. Education, itself, is in crisis.