I wonder why an organization like the Klan arose? Was it due to an innate maliciousness found only in Southern whites? Did the Klan arise in response to external factors such as Reconstruction? It is easy just to say it was naughty-which it was.
From Section 5, First Reconstruction Act. March 2, 1867: “And be it further enacted, That when the people of any one of said rebel States shall have formed a constitution of government in conformity with the Constitution of the United States in all respects, framed by a convention of delegates elected by the male citizens of said State, twenty-one years old and upward, of whatever race, color, or previous condition, WHO HAVE VEEN RESIDENT IN SAID STATE FOR ONE YEAR PREVIOUS TO THE DAY OF SUCH ELECTION, EXCEPT SUCH AS MY BE DISFRANCHISED FOR PARTICIPATION IN THE REBELLION...” (emphasis mine)
Southerners were treated as “conquered subjects,” even though we were supposedly Americans. First the Yankees said we were Americans who had left the Union and had to be forcibly brought back, then they said we were a separate Nation and deserved to be treated as conquered. So which was it? It can't be both at the same time - but both arguments were used by the “Northern Elites” to try to force us to live our lives according to their rules - just as they are doing today.
Rent the movie, "Birth of a Nation" by DW Griffith. it is an interesting take on the start of the Klan. Ever hear statements like: "he was the first black elected to this seat since Reconstruction." During Reconstruction, a lot of carpetbaggers, (white and black Republicans from up North) came down South and stole elections outright. Both blacks and the Republican party in general were somewhat unpopular in the post Civil War South, so how else would they get elected?
The KKK was formed to make sure that everybody got a chance to vote, at least according to the Griffith movie. I don't know how true it is, but I have wondered how so many blacks got elected in that era. Remember in the movie, Sommersby, the black judge all but admitted that he got his position through questionable means.
The original group were Confederate veterans who had lost their voting rights for participating in the rebellion. Many of these men left the Klan when their rights were restored.