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Republicans outlawed the Ku Klux Klan

Grand Old Partisan, April 20, 2008, by Michael Zak

For decades after the Civil War, the Ku Klux Klan was the terrorist wing of the Democratic Party. Klansmen murdered hundreds of Republican activists and office- holders, including U.S. Representative James Hinds (R-Arkansas).

On this day in 1871, the Republican-controlled 42nd Congress passed and the Republican President, Ulysses Grant, signed into law the Ku Klux Klan Act. The law banned the KKK and other Democrat terrorist organizations. President Grant then deployed federal troops to crush a Klan uprising in South Carolina.

Eleven years later, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned most provisions of the Act. Though legalized, this original version of the Ku Klux Klan soon faded. Why? Because as Democrats regained control over southern state governments, they could oppress African-Americans openly, without need of sheets.

Republicans today would benefit tremendously from appreciating the heritage of our Grand Old Party.

Michael Zak is a popular speaker to Republican organizations around the country. He is the author of Back to Basics for the Republican Party, the acclaimed history of the GOP cited by Clarence Thomas in a Supreme Court decision. Hundreds more articles are available on the Grand Old Partisan blog -- each day celebrating 154 years of Republican heroes and heroics. See www.republicanbasics.com for more information.

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