The Ku Klux Klan And The Civil War

Good Essays

Yes: Shawn Lay rejects the view of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) as a radical fringe group comprised of marginal men and instead characterizes the KKK of the 1920s as a mainstream, grassroots organization that promoted traditional values of law, order, and social morality that appealed to Americans across the nation.
No: Thomas Pegram, on the other hand, recognizes that Klansmen were often average members of their communities, but this did not prevent most Americans from denouncing the organization’s commitment to White supremacy, xenophobia, religious intolerance, and violence as contradictory to the values of a pluralistic society. Throughout history there have been three Ku Klux Klan’s. The first one was the Reconstruction-era Klan, which …show more content…

Out of the three Klan’s, the one that he believes was the most mainstream was the Klan of the 1920s. One point that Shawn Lay makes is that at the peak of the Klan’s popularity if had acquired over four million members across the United States which he believed to be to high of a number to not be considered mainstream. He explains that even during the time in our country where we had widespread illiteracy there were very few people that haven’t heard of the Klan. He also makes several points that Americans would agree that no other organization except for the Klan could present such dark forces, racism and religious bigotry in the United States. Another good point that Shawn Lay makes is that many people agreed with the Klan’s views during WWI and it had the possibility to be considered a major influence during this time period. In the late 1920s the Klan’s social and political influence started to decline. One reason for this decline was because of a Klan Leader in Indiana named David C. Stephenson who was put on trial for murder. One of the last points that Lay makes is that even after the time period that the Klan had spread across the United States and became very popularly, it is still considered a historical enigma. A man named Thomas Pegram disagrees with Shawn Lay a believes that the Ku Klux Klan was not a mainstream organization. He thinks to consider the Klan of the 1920s as mainstream is an overstatement. He states

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