How Are the KKK Supposedly the “Ghosts of the Confederate Soldiers”?
The American Civil War was a war that took place from 1861 to 1865. Its origin was the issue of abolishing slavery. This war was between the member states of the Union and the Confederacy, also known as the “slave states”. After the war was lost for the South, the Confederacy collapsed and its members joined the Union and slavery was abolished in all over the United States of America. Then the era known as the Reconstruction started. It was aimed to stabilize the unity of the nation and ensure the civil rights of the slaves who were freed.
The Ku Klux Klan was founded by six veteran soldiers of the Confederacy after the loss and the abolishment of slavery with the Thirteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Their priorities and motives were about overthrowing the Republicans who ended white supremacy and maintaining it once again (McVeigh). The reason for the Klan’s foundation is that the Confederacy which had lost the Civil War was the most affected from it by both losing the war and their rights of slavery, and it was an attempt to get these rights back by generally attacking the black people who gained their freedom, by assaulting them, burning down their houses, and killing them.
The Klan is often called as the “ghosts of the Confederate soldiers”. There is more than one way of looking at this claim. The first reason is that the night riders of the Klan were claiming that they were the ghosts of the dead Confederate soldiers. Their goal was to scare the superstitious black people since they were all covered in white (Foner 1988).
Secondly, the Klan was mainly having their activities in the ex-Confederate states which were in favor of white supremacy and slavery, and its members were usually veterans of the Confederacy that wanted white supremacy again.
Their motives were like the Confederacy, thus we can see that the Klan was trying to accomplish what the Confederacy did by war in the form of a band of vigilantes that used terrorist tactics. Given the fact that its creators were ex-Confederate soldiers and its members were usually so, it’s easily understandable why they were called as the ghosts of the Confederacy.
Foner, Eric. Reconstruction: Americas Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877. HarperPerennial, 2014.
McVeigh, Rory. The Rise of the Ku Klux Klan: Right-Wing Movements and National Politics. Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2010.