Was the Ku Klux Klan of the 1920's Extremist?

Essay by crewlguyCollege, Undergraduate May 2003

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Was the Ku Klux Klan of the 1920's Extremist?

In the nineteen-twenties an organization was reborn called the Second Ku Klux Klan; the motives of the organization are very controversial. Being that some believe that the group was just an organization to protect the American way of life, and other view the Ku Klux Klan as a racist terrorist organization that was set up to persecute any minority that the KKK felt threatened by.

One author to write on this was David H. Bennett and his article "Traditional Nativism's Last Stand." In Bennett's article he gives a very good in-depth history of the second Ku Klux Klan: how they organized and their political involvement, unfortunately Bennett doesn't do a very good job of addressing the actual question. Although the history is very well researched and well written, it doesn't target what makes them an extremist group. At parts Bennett even seems to be glorifying the ideals of the KKK, presenting them as a patriotic organization.

The quote "we of the Klan...stand up for America and take pride and joy in the wounds we receive...the Knights of Ku Klux Klan have become the trustees under God for Protestant American nationalism," presents the KKK as brave noble, which isn't the goal of Bennett's paper. Bennett seems to leave out facts about the second KKK like their extreme racism and anti-Semitism, which would help to paint them as an extreme group. In his article he seemed to stay fairly objective which is good for explaining the history of the group, not for a position paper like this. By the end of the article is seemed that Bennett was leaving it up to interpretation for the reader, not really giving his opinion on the organization as an extremist movement.

On the con side of...