Posts about KKK written by jarretr
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Teapartiers gave Southern Democrats a bad name way back in history and now they are doing it again this time to the already Repugnant Republicans>
The Know Nothings, also identified by the terms “nativists” and the “American Party,” emerged in the mid-1850s as a relatively organized political movement bent on stopping the influx and influence of mostly Irish and German Catholic immigrants. The Know Nothings were a semi-clandestine movement that often held secret meetings for members only. The term “Know Nothings” grew out of members’ common refrain of “I know nothing” when asked about the details and activities of their organization.
As historian Tyler Anbinder notes in his classic book, Nativism and Slavery: The Northern Know Nothings and the Politics of the 1850s, the Know Nothing Party viewed Catholicism as antithetical to American Protestant republicanism. These anti-Catholic reactionaries feared that the hierarchical, supposedly totalistic, tentacle-like control the Papacy held over its Church would root into American institutions via German and Irish immigrants and slowly destroy cherished notions of American freedom and prosperity.
Beyond the specific Anti-Catholic stance of the American Party, however, lay the broader influence of “nativism,” what Anbinder qualifies as “a complex web of nationalism, xenophobia, ethnocentrism, and racism.”* Indeed, Anbinder notes that the Know Nothings saw themselves taking a last stand against perceived American decline spurred by demographic and cultural changes. “Know Nothings,” he writes, “attributed their origins to ‘Young Sam,’ whose uncle (the famous ‘Uncle Sam’) had become discouraged about America’s decline and had asked his nephew to start an organization that would revitalize the nation.”*
The American Party saw themselves as that organization. Like the Tea Party, they took on the task of halting the decline of white, middle-class America at the hands of immigrants and cultural shifts. Just consider these lines from the Know Nothing American Patriot newspaper shown at the top of this post:
“We are burdened with enormous taxes by foreigners. We are corrupted in the morals of our youth. We are interfered with in our government. We are forced into collisions with other nations. We are tampered with in our religion. We are injured in our labor. We are assailed in our freedom of speech.”
Without any alterations, the above passage could easily be printed on a contemporary Tea Party website. Moreover, just as the Tea Party achieved a stunning congressional sweep in the 2010 midterm elections, the Know Nothings similarly, if briefly, elected congressmen, governors, and hundreds of local officials throughout the U.S.
"Yet, as reactionary as the Know Nothings could be, they were milquetoast when compared to another right-wing populist organization, the Second Ku Klux Klan, that rose to fleeting, but potent, power in the early 20th century. The KKK originated in 1865, following Confederate defeat in the Civil War. It functioned as the militant, vigilante arm of the southern Democratic Party. Dressed in elaborate costumes, the Klan engaged in night rides across the South, beating newly freed slaves and terrorizing white Republicans. After the “Redemption” of the South by the Democratic Party in 1877, the Klan largely rescinded until it was reborn at the turn-of-the-century."