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In Georgia conservative whites, frustrated with their political failures during 1867, began to look for new ways to defeat their Republican enemies and control the recently enfranchised freedpeople.For many, the KKK and its public political wing, the Young Men's Democratic Clubs, offered a chance to take action.It is impossible to untangle local vigilante violence from political terrorism by the organized Klan, but it is clear that attacks on blacks became common during 1868.
In each militia district of his county Reed organized dens of ten or so men, most Confederate veterans with a good horse and a gun.
Thus, Reed as a county leader had at his disposal more than 100 armed and mounted men.
Similar political terrorism and control of the polling places help account for Georgia's quick "redemption" and return to conservative white Democratic control by late 1871.
Klanlike violence was also used to control freedpeople's social behavior, but with less success.
In February and March 1868, General Forrest visited Atlanta from Tennessee several times and met with prominent Georgia conservatives.
Forrest probably helped organize a statewide Klan structure during these visits.
Albion Tourgee, The Invisible Empire (1880; reprint, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989). Trelease, White Terror: The Ku Klux Klan Conspiracy and Southern Reconstruction (1971; reprint, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1995).
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From 1868 through the early 1870s the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) functioned as a loosely organized group of political and social terrorists.
The Klan's goals included the political defeat of the Republican Party and the maintenance of absolute white supremacy in response to newly gained civil and political rights by southern blacks after the Civil War (1861-65).
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