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"The People and the Ku-Klux," May 20, 1871


"The People and the Ku-Klux," May 20, 1871


This article in Harper's Weekly was concerned with the President's proclamation concerning the Ku Klux Law.  This law provided criminal penalties to people that practiced violent acts such as the Klan.  The law was an attempt to protect citizens who were affected by the actions of the Klan.  This proclamation, made by the President, was an appeal to all United States citizens that order would be restored and an end to the strife would come easily.


Harper's Weekly


"The People and the Ku-Klux," Harper's Weekly, May 20, 1871, Harpweek, accessed November 4, 2014,




Jessie Byrd




Southern States

Original Format

Newspaper Article


The People and the Ku-Klux

The President's proclamation under the Ku-Klux law is a simple, earnest appeal to the people of the disturbed section to keep the peace and secure the rights of all citizens through the agency of local laws. It is the sincere expression of a wish not to be compelled to exercise the great powers confided to him, but also of a fixed resolution not to hesitate to use them if his warning does not suffice. The proclamation is both firm and modest; and in the assertion of the authority confided to him by the representatives of the people it contrasts agreeably with the dictatorial tone which is apt to characterize such documents.

We have heretofore plainly expressed our unfavorable view of the law itself. Whether the method devised by Congress for restoring order and protecting rights is the best method remains to be proved. But there is no question in the mind of any honorable and intelligent citizen that the President speaks like the proved patriot and honest man that he is when he says: "It is my earnest wish that peace and cheerful obedience to the law may prevail throughout the land, and that all traces of our late unhappy civil strife may be speedily removed. These ends can be easily reached by acquiescence in the results of the conflict, now written in our Constitution, and by the due and proper enforcement of equal, just, and impartial laws in every part of our country." That is the platform of every hearty Republicans; and that is what the Democrat resists.


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Harper's Weekly, "The People and the Ku-Klux," May 20, 1871, Civil War Era NC, accessed July 12, 2024,