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The Ku Klux Klan first appeared in late 1865 or early 1866 in Pulaski Tennessee It began as a Tennessee social club but soon turned into a paramilitary force under the direction of Nathan Bedford Forrest The Klans primary purpose was white supremacy and the main goal was to keep blacks out of the voting booths By 1870 the Klan was everywhere in the south They were strong supporters of the Democratic Party and often beat and sometimes killed republican politicians Due to the overabundance of violent and sometimes fatal crimes many members of the Klan found themselves in trouble with the law Because of this the Klan was basically obsolete by the mid 1870sBeginning in the early nineteenth century there were massive waves of immigrants coming into the country The majority of these immigrants were mostly from Italy Russia and Ireland Along with all these new people came new languages customs and beliefs They also provided a cheap source of labor Many Americans saw this to be threatening to their jobs and their cultureAlong with all the new immigrants the country was under going drastic changes of its own such as styles music and beliefs All these changes began to scare old stock Americans Thousands of fundamentalists Christians were bewildered by the progressive era victories of evolution and social gospel not to mention jazz gin and short skirts These fundamentalist Christians were seeking a way to bring old-time religion backOn Thanksgiving Day in 1915 Colonel William J Simmons created what they had been seeking That night Simmons held a cross burning ceremony atop Stone Mountain in Georgia The ceremony pledged new members to be True to the faithful maintenance of white supremacy In order to become a member of the new Ku Klux Klan you were required to vow to be a native born American citizen who believed in the tenets of the Christian religion and agree to owe no allegiance to any foreign
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