War on Races in the South

The Daily Phoenix (Columbia, SC) /April 15, 1868

“Many months ago we warned the radicals that they were sowing a fearful harvest in the South. We told them that the measures they were adopting would inevitably result in a conflict between the two races. Heedless of the solemn lessons which history teaches, and utterly regardless of the laws of nature, our radical rulers forced their policy upon the South, and already are we beginning to see what the consequences will be. From all appearances a war of races in that unhappy section of the Union is rapidly approaching. The first seeds of distrust were sown by the Freedmen’s Bureau, which, although under the patronage of the general government, was most shamefully used by the radical party to poison the minds of the ignorant blacks against their former masters. At a later day, the Bureau not being as secret a concern as was desirable, Loyal League clubs were formed from the Potomac to the Rio Grande. These organizations were composed almost entirely of negroes; they became so powerful in numbers and political importance that eventually their members assumed to be the rulers and masters of the whites. So long as they were permitted to display their arrogance and assert their usurped power, so long was the danger averted. But the logical result of two years of despotism lies now before us in the fact of a counter action on the part of the whites. From one end of the South to the other a new secret society, known as the Ku Klux Klan, has been organized in opposition to universal negro suffrage and negro rule. The aims and purposes of the association are not concealed from the world. The Southern whites have declared that they will no longer tolerate a policy which sinks them into servitude and makes a semi-barbarous race their masters. Thus we now have two intensely hostile elements organized and organizing, and facing each other—the Ku Klux Klan, or secret society of white men, on the one hand, and the loyal league association, or secret society of negroes, on the other, each struggling for supremacy, and each of a race alien in civilization and ideas to the other. How long will it be before such antagonistic elements pass the bound of political warfare and engage in a contest of bloodshed and desolation?”

The above extract from the New York Herald is full of truth—although we think it is too fast in its conclusion, that a war of races in the South is inevitable. It is in error, also, in supposing that the secret organization of the Ku Klux Klan is generally prevalent in the South. It is unknown, we are satisfied, in South Caroling; and excepting in Tennessee, where it originated, can scarcely be said to be an organization at all. The proper time for such organizations has not yet arrived. The white race of the South are now earnestly striving to prevent the necessity of any such organizations, by defeating the negro Constitutions, by which negro rule is to be put over them. Until it is tested whether they will have this rule put over them, they will endeavor to avoid all organizations looking to its defeat by violence in any form. But should they fail in their efforts, and negro governments be put over them, we doubt not that every city, town, village and neighborhood in the South will have combinations of the White population to protect themselves against negro rule. Our own impression, however, has ever been, that Congressional reconstruction (or rather destruction) for the Southern states will fail, that is, that so many states will fail adopting it, as practically to defeat the object for which it was put into operation—the perpetuation of the radicals in power. Should it fail in Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Texas and Alabama, the people of the other Southern states may well await the development of events, through the next Presidential election. But if the radical policy is successful throughout the South, the Herald is perfectly right in its inference—that a war of races is inevitable, and we do not suppose that any intelligent white man in the South, radical or Democrat, has now or ever had any doubt that this would be, and must be, the result of such a policy. The idea that the white race in the South, vastly superior in numbers to the negroes, would allow the Southern states to be ruled by them, is so silly and absurd, that no sensible man could entertain it. The radicals in Congress knew, when they passed these measures of reconstruction, that they would institute by them, if successful, a war of races in the South. They knew it—and they intended it. The Southern people will strive to avoid it; but when it becomes inevitable, they will accept their fate, and meet it as becomes them. They have no more fear of the rule of negroes than of a herd of wild buffaloes from the prairies of the West. [Charleston Mercury].


THE KU KLUX KLAN AT WASHINGTON—FORNEY’S FRIGHT—According to Forney, the Southern Ku Klux Klan, that sanguinary and mysterious organization of alleged ex-rebel bushwhackers, have opened their dens in Washington and commenced the issue of their terrible edicts to obnoxious radicals, beginning with Ben Wade and Ben. Butler. Fearful, indeed, are these Ku Klux rescripts with their cabalistic coffins, death heads and cross-bones and formulas such as “Bloody month, cloudy moon. Death! death to traitors!” “The negro must be eaten raw; blood and clotted gore,” etc. It seems, however, that none of the radicals in Washington who have received these dismal tickets of leave have been frightened out of their wit except Forney. He, however, is very easily frightened. At one time we find him in a cold sweat over a impending invasion and purgation of Washington by the gray-coated Maryland militia; at another time he calls upon the loyal men of America to be wide awake, for that Andrew Johnson is plotting a coup d’etat; next poor Forney is on the track of a modern Guy Fawkes, with a lot of nitro-glycerine to be used for the blowing up of the two houses of Congress, and the lifting of Stanton out of the War Office, sky high; next, with a warning from Stanton, “the dead duck” becomes alarmed at the supposed designs of Mosby and his guerillas, reported to be organizing for mischief on the other shores of the Potomac. In fact, until Johnson is back again in Tennessee, there will be no safety for Washington, and no peace, according to Forney, until he is snugly ensconced among the good things of the kitchen, and Old Ben. Wade in the White House. So, after all, “there is method in this madness” of Forney; for in keeping up a constant fuss, he is pretty sure not to be overlooked in view of “the good time coming.”

(Source: Chronicling America, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84027008/1868-04-15/ed-1/seq-1/#date1=1867&index=5&rows=20&searchType=advanced&language=&sequence=0&words=KLAN+Klan+Klux+KLUX+Ku+KU&proxdistance=5&date2=1868&ortext=&proxtext=&phrasetext=Ku+Klux+Klan&andtext=&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1)