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as a fraternal social club inspired at least in part by the then largely defunct Sons of Malta.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.After the Klan was suppressed, similar insurgent paramilitary groups arose that were explicitly directed at suppressing Republican voting and turning Republicans out of office: the White League, which started in Louisiana in 1874; and the Red Shirts, which started in Mississippi and developed chapters in the Carolinas.For instance, the Red Shirts are credited with helping elect Wade Hampton as governor in South Carolina.
Members made their own, often colorful, costumes: robes, masks and conical hats, designed to be terrifying and to hide their identities. Griffith's 1915 silent film The Birth of a Nation, which mythologized the founding of the first Klan, it employed marketing techniques and a popular fraternal organization structure.
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 had mixed results in terms of achieving its objectives.
The second Klan was a formal fraternal organization, with a national and state structure.
During the resurgence of the second Klan during the 1920s, its publicity was handled by the Southern Publicity Association—within the first six months of the Associations national recruitment campaign, Klan membership had increased by 85,000.
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The second KKK preached "One Hundred Percent Americanism" and demanded the purification of politics, calling for strict morality and better enforcement of prohibition.