A Difficult Reconstruction   

HoodFollowing the Civil War, Tennessee's new Radical Republican Governor Brownlow made it his mission to keep Confederates out of Tennessee politics, barring them from voting for 5-15 years. It was a controversial move that passed the Tennessee Legislature, but polarized the Republican and Democratic parties. Political tensions hurt Brownlow's support in the next election, so he engaged a new voter base, making Tennessee the first state to allow Freedmen to vote in 1867. The win was an easy one, due to African-American voter turnout. This did not sit well with the Conservative Confederates, still unable to vote. The Ku Klux Klan was born in Pulaski, Tennessee, with Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest named the first Grand Wizard in 1867. The KKK relied on intimidation and terror tactics to suppress the Freedmen and Radical Republican vote. Violence escalated around the 1868 presidential election, and martial law was declared in nine middle and west Tennessee counties. In 1869, Grand Wizard Forrest formally ordered the Klan to disband, but the movement had grown too strong, and the organized violence continued. After Governor Brownlow resigned to accept a Senate seat, his successor, Republican DeWitt Senter, faced a tough nomination race for re-election. Senter immediately relaxed all voting restrictions, winning overwhelming Confederate support and easily taking the election. The Conservatives' voting power also dramatically changed the makeup of the state House and Senate, and support for minority issues disintegrated.

Resource links: 
Wikipedia - Reconstruction era of the United States
The New Georgia Encyclopedia - Ku Klux Klan in the Reconstruction Era

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