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First KKK Formed for Democratic Power-Grab

Updated on February 7, 2015

The first Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was started as a political power play in the post Civil War south. The 14th Amendment of 1868 made it possible for blacks to be elected to office. Many were elected but only by the Republican party.

The slave owners who had been ready to form their own separate country based on race are also now faced with the fact that their own elected representative to Congress is black! These newly elected Congressmen joined with white Republicans to pass 23 civil rights laws which ended segregation, and distinctions by color were no longer legal in

  • marriage,
  • property ownership,
  • the courts,
  • schools,
  • military service, etc.

The last civil rights law they passed was in 1875. No other civil rights law was passed again until 1964—eight-nine years later. Why? In 1876, Democrats regained partial control of Congress.

Blacks in Congress and the KKK

Civil rights legislation haulted

The civil rights laws after the Civil War were all passed when Republicans had control of both Houses of Congress and the White House. Republicans were able to whiz these laws right through. All this was brought to a stop, however, when one House was lost to the Democrats.

The next period of time was one of halted progress in civil rights legislation and the south coming to the end of reconstruction recovery from the war. The south then begins to get really violent. The Democrats in these states sought to restore white supremacy by keeping Republicans out of office. They turned to terrorizing and whacking Republicans .

KKK threatening to lynch carpetbaggers


KKK killed white Republicans for supporting blacks

KKK started to gain political power

A group was formed in 1866 for this purpose—the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). It was started by Democrats to whack Republicans and allow them to regain control. So why were they whacking blacks? If you were black in America back then, you were Republican.

The KKK terrorized blacks with murder and public floggings. Relief from this terror was given only to those who promised not to vote for Republican candidates. Violations were punishable by death. This terror was not limited to just blacks, but whites would hang white Republicans, too.

Democrats would call Republicans “radicals” because they were a biracial party that allowed blacks to vote and participate in the political process. In the South Carolina of 1868, the Republicans in the state legislature were made up of 50 blacks and 13 whites. Out of the 4800 that were lynched during this period, 1300 were white—lynched because they were Republicans who supported civil rights.

Theatrical release poster for The Birth of a Nation

distributed by Epoch Film Co.
distributed by Epoch Film Co. | Source

The KKK were Democrats

The KKK became a wing of the Democrat party. In one of the first motion picture films ever done, in the early 1900s, Birth of a Nation—one of the great KKK recruiting films—it shows the KKK saving the south from all the blacks.

It was the first film ever shown in the White House, by President Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat. When he became president, he removed all blacks who held federal office. The Republican president who preceded him, Teddy Roosevelt, stirred others to all sorts of fury when he invited Booker T. Washington as an official White House advisor. This was one of a number of black appointees that Wilson removed when he became president.

The KKK was an active part of American politics for much too long.

Johnson paved the way for the Klu Klux Klan

They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group
They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group

Examines how the Ku Klux Klan was formed and grew out of the ashes of the Civil War.


© 2011 Deidre Shelden


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    • Natashalh profile image


      6 years ago from Hawaii

      Woodrow Wilson and LBJ were both huge racists, but no one talks about it in school. Great hub!

    • profile image

      Ernie Smith 

      6 years ago

      We the people borrow 41 cents out of every dollar, Obama and the Democratic Party, Dixiecrat's, formally supported by the KKK just gave 487 million dollars up from 300 million dollars to Plan Parenthood that had aborted 300,000 babies last year alone, over 60% black babies. Now who is anti-black, the Democratic Party that supports killing of babies or the Republican Party that supports anti-abortion

    • Ms Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Deidre Shelden 

      7 years ago from Texas, USA

      Great to know, Stephen! Do pass this information around. These are facts hidden from most of the public.

    • Ms Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Deidre Shelden 

      7 years ago from Texas, USA

      Sueswan, this was so surprising to me, too, when I learned about it! We are so ignorant of our real history.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      A great read Ms Dee.

      Wow! I had no idea that the KKK was started by the Democrats to whack the republicans be they white or black.

    • Ms Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Deidre Shelden 

      7 years ago from Texas, USA

      Thanks for your read, dahoglund! Yes, apparently he was a part of of the sad monumental set back.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I have read somewhere that Woodrow Wilson set back civil rights.

    • Ms Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Deidre Shelden 

      7 years ago from Texas, USA

      Alladream74, good to have your confirmation on the bad film, Birth of a Nation. Good to hear you feel candid hatred has become less acceptable!

      bethperry, you made my day! It is confirming to hear that you see the denial, too. Hope you will join me in spreading the truth :)

    • bethperry profile image

      Beth Perry 

      7 years ago from Tennesee

      Ms Dee, thank you so much for publishing this. I was taught these things as a child but as an adult I've found an amazing embrace of denial over what it was really like back in my great-grandparents' day. It takes a brave person to bring up a truth that a lot of folks would prefer hidden, lost. ignored or just plain covered up with fantasy. I'm giving this a big Vote Up.

    • Alladream74 profile image

      Victor Mavedzenge 

      7 years ago from Oakland, California

      Birth of a Nation is such a mis-representation of facts,it was propaganda at its worst/best. We have come a long way as a people and it sure feels good to live in a world where such candid hatred is not so accepted.Thank you for a useful hub.

    • SubRon7 profile image

      James W. Nelson 

      7 years ago from eastern North Dakota

      Just need to comment again, on Peter Lumetta's comment. Yes, except for the hangings, but I bet they'd like to.

    • Ms Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Deidre Shelden 

      7 years ago from Texas, USA

      RHW, thanks so much. Yes, I've not read though, yet, about the more recent KKK, just this about the first KKK which was in the 1800s. You likely know more about the current KKK than I do. Still sounds like a social concern, though. :)

      Peter L., good to have your read and interest!

    • Ms Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Deidre Shelden 

      7 years ago from Texas, USA

      SubRon7, so good to have your comment on this one! Yes, LOL! I'm sure some value history enough to study it :). Depends on what historical accounts they believe though. I got this from a trusted source who goes back to original documentsl

    • PETER LUMETTA profile image


      7 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

      How things have changed. The republicans sure did learn the tactics good, their using them now on the Dems. Except for the hangings. Good HUB very interesting, Peter

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Great hub Ms. Dee. The Klan is alive here and scary! The KKK participated in the "adopt the highway" program so there was a sign up saying "this portion of the road was adopted by the KKK!" somethine like that.....they fought to erect the sign and won! But it didn't work out so well - people kept taking it down every night:)

    • SubRon7 profile image

      James W. Nelson 

      7 years ago from eastern North Dakota

      Wow, Ms. Dee, I had no idea. I knew the clan was bad, and the democrats.... How things change. So the republicans used to be the liberals; do you think any would own up to that today? And the democrats; do you suppose any today fully realize their past affiliation with the KKK?


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