Social movements can be very influential within a nation, and they often result in massive changes. When a large number of individuals are dissatisfied with a policy and believe it is necessary to take action against that policy, social movements are born. These movements can take various forms, such a protests and the creation of organizations. During the 1800's, two groups, the Abolitionists and the Ku Klux Klan, created ideologies that were based on their views regarding slavery and the treatment of African Americans. The abolitionist movement began as an organization that resented the slave trade and fought for its abolishment, while the Ku Klux Klan organization began when white supremacists felt that their rights were being violated by the new freedoms of African Americans. The abolitionist movement was extremely successful, and most Americans today fully agree with their views. The Ku Klux Klan movement and its revivals throughout the 20th century, however, were not as successful. The following is a discussion of the history of these movements, the strategies that were used by the groups, and an explanation as to why one group was more successful than the other in achieving its objectives.
[...] The organization flourished when people were angry, and deteriorated when times improved, proving that the Ku Klux Klan survived because of emotional appeal rather than an unwavering ideology that all members fully agreed with. Without an ultimate goal and serious of steps that can be used to achieve this goal, no organization will ever be successful. These two social movements demonstrate the importance of using a non-violent approach in order to be successful, and they highlight the fact that justice will prevail over injustice, especially in a nation that cherishes freedom. [...]
[...] The Ku Klux Klan believed in traditional values in which African Americans should be oppressed, and this organization made discrimination against others their ultimate ideology. Unlike the Abolitionists, Ku Klux Klan members believed that violence and the show of force was the ultimate method for achieving their objectives. Ironically, the Ku Klux Klan did not start out as a violent organization. Between 1865 and 1866, six former confederate officers in Tennessee formed a social organization that did not have any ultimate goals or ambitions (Encarta 2000) The members of this organization would ride horses in the middle of the night wearing strange costumes, and this would scare many of the former slaves living in the area. [...]
[...] This book fueled even further the cause of the abolitionists and made Americans aware of just how cruel slavery truly was. Controversy existed around this book because many Southerners believed it was exaggerated, given the fact that Stowe did not have such accurate first-hand knowledge of the practices which were taking place. Organizations and clubs were started as a result of this novel, and eventually, abolitionists began appealing to the politicians of the day. As soon as abolitionists were able to infiltrate the ranks of powerful leaders in the North, real changes began to take place. [...]
[...] Simmons to revive the Ku Klux Klan and reorganize them with a different strategy. The efforts of Simmons were very successful, and the Ku Klux Klan once again became powerful and politically influential. Wealthy and prominent citizens joined the organization ensured that the organization had enough financial support to carry out its goals. The goals of the Klan in this revival were not against Northern policies, but rather, their agenda was to discriminate against all groups and religions that were different from those of “Mainstream America.” Klansmen would speak out against Catholics, Jews, African Americans, and even drug dealers and nightclubs. [...]
[...] Other strategies by the Abolitionists included publications against slavery in newspapers, the distribution of pamphlets, poems, and other writings that denounced slavery, as well as songs that gloried freedom (http://rmc.library.cornell.edu/abolitionism/strategies.htm). An extremely clever tactic used by Abolitionists was to appeal to the younger audience. Abolitionists knew that in order to have their message remembered, they must capture the imagination of the younger audience and make them appreciate the cruelty of slavery from a young age. This was done by creating children's literature that condemned slavery. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee