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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 during the Reconstruction era in the United States.

It is classified as a hate group by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

as a fraternal social club inspired at least in part by the then largely defunct Sons of Malta, from which parts of the initiation ceremony were borrowed, 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 The Cyclopædia of Fraternities (1907) "Beginning in April, 1867, there was a gradual transformation...

The members had conjured up a veritable Frankenstein.

The Ku Klux Klan (KKK), or simply "the Klan", is the name of three distinct past and present movements in the United States that have advocated extremist reactionary currents such as white supremacy, white nationalism, anti-immigration, and, especially in later iterations, Nordicism, 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.

With numerous chapters across the South, it was suppressed around 1871, through federal law enforcement.Members made their own, often colorful, costumes: robes, masks, and conical hats, designed to be terrifying, and to hide their identities.The second group was founded in 1915, and flourished nationwide in the early and mid-1920s, particularly in urban areas of the Midwest and West.It opposed Catholics and Jews, especially newer immigrants, and stressed opposition to the Catholic Church.This second organization adopted a standard white costume and used similar code words as the first Klan, while adding cross burnings and mass parades.The third and current manifestation of the KKK emerged after 1950, in the form of small, local, unconnected groups that use the KKK name.

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