Research Paper on Hate Crimes: The Ku Klux Klan and Its History

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1524 Words
Date:  2023-03-02


A hate crime is an act that is considered criminal and goes against a property or a person in which the victim is selected by the penetrator based on their perceived or real race, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, disability, and ethnicity (Bohn, 2015). There are numerous hate crime groups in the world, among which in the Ku Klux Klan or just Klan. It is one of the most famous hate-bases group in the history of America. It was established at the end of the Civil War (Taylor, H. (2019). It then underwent a rapid transformation and became a terrorist group whose main aim was to subjugate the blacks who were freed. The Klan group has been in existence in three different eras at various locations in America's history. The group strongly advocates for reactionary positions that are extremist. Such positions include anti-migration, white nationalism, anti-Catholicism, and Nordicism (Seltzer & Lopes, 2017). It can be historically remembered that the first Klan group used terrorism techniques, both physical murder, and assault, against the blacks and their allies that were considered as politically active.

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Moreover, the Klan rapidly participated in the mobilization of a vigilante group, mainly to subject the Southern blacks to intimidations. The Klan also intimidated any group of whites who could help the Southern blacks and bar them for the enjoyment of any kind of fundamental civil rights. Klan advocated for the "purification" of American society. Bohn (2015) argued that in each era, the group's membership remained a secret thing, and the approximated total was under exaggeration by both enemies and friends. The main focus of this paper is to discuss the crime, outcome of the events, and the central theme of the belief system of the Ku Klux Klan.

Belief Systems

White Supremacy

The central belief system of the Ku Klux Klan revolves around white supremacy. The Klan combines white supremacy with religion and hence considers itself as a Christian Organization (Taylor, 2019). At the opening of their Kloran, it is stated in the Ku Klux Klan Kreed that "We declare the difference between the races of all mankind just as has been dictated by the Creator, and we shall remain honest and truthful in the faithful maintenance of White Supremacy and will energetically reject any compromise whatsoever in all aspects." (Seltzer & Lopes, 2017). It is a requirement that members have to swear that they are purely native white, Gentile American citizens. The white supremacists come up with social and political groups, that is, during the Reconstruction. The main aim of the social and political groups was to ensure that the whites were promoted while the blacks were oppressed. The political groups came up with laws that promoted inequality (Seltzer & Lopes, 2017). Their white supremacy belief made them believe that the blacks ware less superior beings and ware not supposed to be given equal opportunities just like the native Americas. Driven by their beliefs of white supremacy, the Ku Klux Klan made use of violence based techniques to intimidate the Republicans and the blacks, and their efforts eventually became successful. This made the white supremacy to materialize into reality in the South.

Ku Klux Klan Crime

Electoral Malpractices

Democrats relied on the Klan to secure election victories. This is because Klansmen frequently killed or threatened Republican candidates who were competing for various elective positions (Bohn, 2015). This made most southern Republicans to ultimately stop their campaigns since it was very difficult for them to organize and hold any meeting to discourse matters politics. This, therefore, denied them the opportunities to rally, attract, and convince voters. Their abandonment of the campaigns was merely due to the fear of the unknown from the Klan groups. This fear, therefore, provided a favorable environment for the democrats to campaign and hence have a competitive advantage over the African Americans. The Klan used various violence techniques as well as conducting election malpractices such as fraud to interfere with the votes of the blacks and to manipulate the election results (Bohn, 2015). This act was very common, especially in regions where the number of white and African Americans were almost the same. The electoral malpractices, therefore, had the consequences of denying the African Americans the opportunity to have a favorable competing environment with the white, who considered themselves as supreme.

Economic Sabotage and Killings

The Ku Klux Klan group also participated actively to ensure that the African Americans who were working-class were put to intense restrictions that resulted in the incapacitation of their economy. The Klan also subjected the white who could support the economy of the African Americans in any form (Seltzer & Lopes, 2017). For example, the whites who were supporting the economy of the whites by buying cotton from them were often beaten, threatened, and killed. The Klan also took part in terrorizing the schools that were under the establishment of the Freedom's Bureau, as well as the black churches. This ensured that the African Americans were completely disassembled by interfering with their economic and political freedom and stability. The aim of all these criminal activities was to ensure that African American remains weak and powerless in all aspects of their lives (Bohn, 2015). This is due to the fact that African Americans were deemed as less superior beings. The economic sabotage had an adverse consequence on the economy of the African Americans who relied on selling their produce, such as cotton, to the whites as a way of earning a living and hence boosting the economy.


The Klan was responsible for various violence activities that are criminal in nature. They normally used to conduct criminal activities while undercover, putting on a robe and a hood as a mechanism of disguise (Bohn, 2015). The group could, at times, pretend to be a ghost of Confederate soldiers. Most of the criminal activities that were conducted by the Klan group were majorly targeting African Americans, especially the one who eyeing offices in the South. Additionally, sympathizers and Republicans were the main victims of the violent activities of the Klan. Bohn (2015) claimed that the Ku Klux Klan participated in racially-motivated lynching of 3500 individuals in the South during the periods between 1964 and 1900.

The Outcome of Klan's Incidences

Change in Voting Behavior

Klansmen frequently killed or threatened Republican candidates who were competing for various elective positions. This made the Republics abandon campaigns, an act that made their counterparts in emerging victorious in many elections that could be held. This made the Klan to be commonly known as a powerful extremist group that is characterized by a stronger political power (Seltzer & Lopes, 2017). This is because a large percentage of politicians from both political parties, from South to Midwest, were Klansmen. For instance, at least four governors and five United States senators were Klansmen. The political influence of Klan was evident in 1924 when it seized the Republican primaries that were located in Colorado and elected many sheriffs and judges, Denver chief of police, and a governor (Bohn, 2015).

Furthermore, Klan conducted a campaign that led to the ejection of Senator Oscar Underwood and replaced him with Hugo Black, who admitted to being a life member of the Klan (Bohn, 2015). It was a common trend in most cases that most politicians who identified themselves with Klan or those who vowed to me live members of the Klan had a stronger competitive advantage in matters relating to politics. Though, it is also worth noting that the engagement of the Klan in politics and hence, having an influence on the voting behaviors resulted in political leaders who enacted laws that promoted inequalities. The laws were meant to support the notion of white supremacy (Bohn, 2015). An idea that made the African Americans be viewed as lesser beings and therefore are not for comparison with the whites in any dimension of life.


The Ku Klux Klan, therefore, is a symbol of the extremes of religious and race hatred in America. The group strongly advocates for reactionary positions that are extremist. The positions include anti-migration, white nationalism, anti-Catholicism, and Nordicism. It is also employed the use of terrorism techniques, both physical murder, and assault, against the blacks and their allies that were considered as politically active. The Klan also intimidated any group of whites who could help the Southern blacks and bar them for the enjoyment of any fundamental civil rights. It is worth noting that despite their popularity, most activities that were the Klan engaged in were criminal. For example, it influenced voting behavior by the techniques of intimidation, threats, and lynching. This made their political rivals who were the African Americans to abandon campaigns due to fear of the unknown. Some of the criminal activities that the Klan group involved in included electoral malpractices, economic sabotage and killings as well as violence. The activities led to economic unrest and a bad political climate for African Americans.


Bohn, F. (2015). The Ku Klux Klan Interpreted. American Journal Of Sociology, 30(4), 385-407. doi: 10.1086/213721

Seltzer, R., & Lopes, G. (2017). The Ku Klux Klan. Journal Of Black Studies, 17(1), 91-109. doi: 10.1177/002193478601700107

Taylor, H. (2019). Domestic terrorism and hate crimes: legal definitions and media framing of mass shootings in the United States. Journal Of Policing, Intelligence, And Counter-Terrorism, 14(3), 227-244. doi: 10.1080/18335330.2019.1667012

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