Founded in Pulaski, Tennessee, in 1866, the Ku Klux Klan spread quickly throughout the South under the leadership of former Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, its first Grand Wizard. The Klan became a potent instrument of terror against freed people, their white allies, and Republican state governments. The Klan was strongest in rural areas and operated locally, with little central control. Most Klan leaders came from local landholding and professional elites.SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, ed., The Ku Klux Klan (1905), p. 154ff.
ORGANIZATION AND PRINCIPLES OF THE KU KLUX KLAN APPELLATION
This Organization shall be styled and denominated, the Order of the * * *
We, the Order of the * * *, reverentially acknowledge the majesty and supremacy of the Divine Being, and recognize the goodness and providence of the same. And we recognize our relation to the United States Government, the supremacy of the Constitution, the Constitutional Laws thereof, and the Union of States thereunder.
CHARACTER AND OBJECTS OF THE ORDER
This is an institution of Chivalry, Humanity, Mercy, and Patriotism; embodying in its genius and its principles all that is chivalric in conduct, noble in sentiment, generous in manhood, and patriotic in purpose; its peculiar objects being
First: To protect the weak, the innocent, and the defenseless, from the indignities, wrongs, and outrages of the lawless, the violent, and the brutal; to relieve the injured and oppressed; to succor the suffering and unfortunate, and especially the widows and orphans of Confederate soldiers.
Second: To protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and all laws passed in conformity thereto, and to protect the States and the people thereof from all invasion from any source whatever.
Third: To aid and assist in the execution of all constitutional laws, and to protect the people from unlawful seizure, and from trial except by their peers in conformity to the laws of the land.
Sec. I. The officers of this Order shall consist of a Grand Wizard of the Empire, and his ten Genii; a Grand Dragon of the Realm, and his eight Hydras; a Grand Titan of the Dominion, and his six Furies; a Grand Giant of the Province, and his four Goblins; a Grand Cyclops of the Den, and his two Night Hawks; a Grand Magi, a Grand Monk, a Grand Scribe, a Grand Exchequer, a Grand Turk, and a Grand Sentinel.
Sec. 2. The body politic of this Order shall be known and designated as “Ghouls.”
TERRITORY AND ITS DIVISIONS
Sec. 1. The territory embraced within the jurisdiction of this Order shall be coterminous with the States of Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee; all combined constituting the Empire.
Sec. 2. The Empire shall be divided into four departments, the first to be styled the Realm, and coterminous with the boundaries the several States; the second to be styled the Dominion and to be coterminous with such counties as the Grand Dragons of the several Realms may assign to the charge of the Grand Titan. The third to be styled the Province, and to be coterminous with the several counties; provided the Grand Titan may, when he deems it necessary, assign two Grand Giants to one Province, prescribing at the same time, the jurisdiction of each. The fourth department to be styled the Den, and shall embrace such part of a Province as the Grand Giant shall assign to the charge of a Grand Cyclops….
INTERROGATIONS TO BE ASKED
1st. Have you ever been rejected, upon application for membership in the * * *, or have you ever been expelled from the same?
2d. Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Radical Republican party, or either of the organizations known as the “Loyal League” and the “Grand Army of the Republic?”
3d. Are you opposed to the principles and policy of the Radical party, and to the Loyal League, and the Grand Army of the Republic, so far as you are informed of the character and purposes of those organizations?
4th. Did you belong to the Federal army during the late war, and fight against the South during the existence of the same?
5th. Are you opposed to Negro equality, both social and political?
6th. Are you in favor of a white man’s government in this country?
7th. Are you in favor of Constitutional liberty, and a Government of equitable laws instead of a Government of violence and oppression?
8th. Are you in favor of maintaining the Constitutional rights of the South?
9th. Are you in favor of the reenfranchisement and emancipation of the white men of the South, and the restitution of the Southern people to all their rights, alike proprietary, civil, and political?
10th. Do you believe in the inalienable right of self-preservation of the people against the exercise of arbitrary and unlicensed power?…
…9. The most profound and rigid secrecy concerning any and everything that relates to the Order, shall at all times be maintained.
10. Any member who shall reveal or betray the secrets of this Order, shall suffer the extreme penalty of the law.