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They were described as acting as the military arm of the Democratic Party and are attributed with helping white Democrats regain control of state legislatures throughout the South.In 1915, the second Klan was founded atop Stone Mountain, Georgia by William Joseph Simmons.
The national headquarters made its profit through a monopoly of costume sales, while the organizers were paid through initiation fees.The members had conjured up a veritable Frankenstein. As a secret vigilante group, the Klan targeted freedmen and their allies; it sought to restore white supremacy by threats and violence, including murder, against black and white Republicans.They had played with an engine of power and mystery, though organized on entirely innocent lines, and found themselves overcome by a belief that something must lie behind it all — that there was, after all, a serious purpose, a work for the Klan to do." Klan groups spread throughout the South as an insurgent movement promoting resistance and white supremacy during the Reconstruction Era. In 18, the federal government passed the Enforcement Acts, which were intended to prosecute and suppress Klan crimes.The first Klan flourished in the Southern United States in the late 1860s, then died out by the early 1870s.
It sought to overthrow the Republican state governments in the South during the Reconstruction Era, especially by using violence against African-American leaders.
It borrowed parts of the initiation ceremony from that group, with the same purpose: "ludicrous initiations, the baffling of public curiosity, and the amusement for members were the only objects of the Klan", according to Albert Stevens in 1907.