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How useful are the sources in helping us to understand the motives and tactics of the Klan?

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Introduction

How useful are the sources in helping us to understand the motives and tactics of the Klan? Most of these sources, although some are biased, would still be very beneficial in helping us to find out more about the Ku Klux Klan. The sources, if they are primary sources, can show us the thoughts and feelings of those who were around at the time, although these may come from biased resources. If they are secondary sources, they are more likely not to be biased and would be more reliable. Pictorial sources provide us with an invaluable view of what actually happened at the time. In source 1, we see of how a town called Kokomo has taken very "enthusiastically" to the Klan. ...read more.

Middle

In source 2, it is obvious to see that the motive here is the rising crime rate seen by many as being borne from the foreign element in the country. These foreign "criminals" would have been seen as the bootleggers, thieves and the gamblers. Many ordinary citizens would have seen the Klan as saviours of "the hope of good morals and restraint against criminality." We see in source 3 that the use of propaganda was important in recruiting members to the Klan. We see William Simmons, who founded the reformed Ku Klux Klan, speaking of the "alien horde" and making it obvious that if the Klan did not take any action against the foreigners, then the foreign element will have got America "by the throat." ...read more.

Conclusion

This is substantiated by source 8 where we see a government report commenting on lynching and how blacks and other targets of the Klan are living in "the knowledge that a misinterpreted word or action" can lead to their death. It also tells of how lynchers go "unpunished" and that "Negroes have learnt to expect other forms of violence at the hands of private citizens." In source 10a, we can see again that the main tactic of the Klan was intimidation. In this source, we see an initiation ceremony. This shows the would-be Klansmen kneeling, almost in prayer, in front of an American flag and a burning cross, the symbol of the Ku Klux Klan. We see also that their main motives were patriotism and "100% Americanism." This photograph appears to be staged and set up to show the Klan as "heroes" of American ideals and beliefs. ...read more.

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