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The Great South Carolina Ku Klux Klan Trials, 1871-1872

by Williams, Lou Falkner

  • ISBN: 9780820317953
  • ISBN10: 0820317950

The Great South Carolina Ku Klux Klan Trials, 1871-1872

by Williams, Lou Falkner

  • List Price: $35.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publish date: 08/01/1996
  • ISBN: 9780820317953
  • ISBN10: 0820317950
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Description: In The Great South Carolina Ku Klux Klan Trials, Lou Falkner Williams presents a comprehensive account of the events of the Klan uprising in the South Carolina piedmont in the Reconstruction era. It is a gripping story - one that helps us better understand the limits of constitutional change in post-Civil War America and the failure of Reconstruction. The South Carolina Klan trials represent the culmination of the federal government's most substantial effort during Reconstruction to stop white violence and provide personal security for African Americans. Federal interventions, suspension of habeas corpus in nine counties, widespread undercover investigations, arrests of several hundred Klansmen, subsequent indictments, and highly publicized trials resulting in the conviction of several Klansmen are all detailed in Williams's study. When the trials began, the Supreme Court had yet to interpret the Fourteenth Amendment and the Enforcement Acts. Thus the fourth federal circuit court became a forum for constitutional experimentation as the prosecution and defense squared off to present their opposing views. The fate of the individual Klansmen was almost incidental to the larger constitutional issues in these celebrated trials. It was the federal circuit judges' devotion to state-centered federalismnot a lack of concern for the Klan's victims - that kept them from embracing constitutional doctrine that would have fundamentally altered the nature of the Union. Placing the Klan trials in the context of postemancipation race relations, Williams shows that the Klan's campaign of terror in the upcountry reflected white determination to preserve prewar racial and social standards. Her analysis ofKlan violence against women breaks new ground, revealing that white women were attacked to preserve traditional southern sexual mores, while crimes against black women were designed primarily to demonstrate white male supremacy.
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8vo. 197 pp. Fine in Fine dust jacket.
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