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Ku-KluxThe Birth of the Klan during Reconstruction$
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Elaine Frantz Parsons

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469625423

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469625423.001.0001

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The Ku-Klux in the National Press

The Ku-Klux in the National Press

Chapter:
(p.144) Four The Ku-Klux in the National Press
Source:
Ku-Klux
Author(s):

Elaine Frantz Parsons

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469625423.003.0004

Northern newspapers used the Klan to talk about the nature of citizenship, the expansion of the state, and their anxieties that the individual was subject to manipulation by an increasingly robust and centralized government and centralized newspaper press. The national conversation about the Klan largely occurred during two periods—the first from early 1868 through early 1869, the second from late 1870 through 1872—and the nature of the discussion differed dramatically between those two periods, revealing changing approaches to Klan violence. Throughout, it is striking how few articles on the Klan include descriptions and mentions of actual Klan attacks on freedpeople and their white allies. Rather, northern newspaper articles on the Klan became a way to reflect on broader issues. By the 1871 and 1872, northern newspapers had adopted a strikingly sympathetic posture to Ku-Klux, who they increasingly portrayed as victims of federal aggression rather than as perpetrators of attacks on freedpeople.

Keywords:   Ku-Klux Klan, Enforcement acts, Freedpeople, New York Tribune, New York Times, Racial violence, Andrew Johnson, Horace Greeley, Election of 1872, Impeachment

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