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Example research essay topic: International Terrorism - 1,431 words

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INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM By John Freel. This was a very difficult project for me to carry out, coming from an area were racial discrimination is almost non existent were only sometimes does religious bigotry raise it's ugly head, but not nearly in the proportions of this project. Ku Klux Klan, is a secret terrorist organisation that originated in the southern states during the period of Reconstruction following the American Civil War and was reactivated on a wider geographic basis in the 20th century. The original Klan was organised in Pulaski, Tennessee, on December 24, 1865, by six former Confederate army officers who gave their society a name taken from the Greek word kuklos, which means circle. Although the Ku Klux Klan began as a prankish social organisation, its activities soon were directed against the Republican Reconstruction governments and their leaders, both black and white, which came into power in the southern states in 1867. The Klan regarded the government at the time as being hostile and oppressive.

They also generally believed that the black people were inferior and therefore they mistrusted the rise to civil equality and sometimes to the position of political power, so the Klan became an illegal organisation who were committed to the destruction of the new government from the Carolinas to Arkansas. Dressed in robes or white sheets and wearing a mask which came to a point, the Klan terrorised officials to try and scare them from office and any black person to intimidate them into not voting or holding any type of civil position or using any of their newly acquired political rights. It would be a usual sight to see a Klansman burning a wooden cross on hills or near to the home of someone that they were trying to intimidate or were just trying to frighten. When this type of intimidation failed their victims might be flogged, mutilated or murdered. The Klan believed these measures to be justified as necessary in the defence of white supremacy and the sanctity of woman. A secret convention of the Klan held in Tennessee, in 1867, adopted a declaration of principles expressing loyalty to the United States Constitution and its government and declaring the determination of the Klan to protect the weak, the innocent and the defenceless; to relieve the injured and oppressed; [and] to succour the suffering The convention designated the Klan as an Invisible Empire and provided for a supreme official, called Grand Wizard of the Empire, who wielded virtually autocratic power and who was assisted by ten Genii.

Other principal officials of the Klan were the Grand Dragon of the Realm, who was assisted by eight Hydras; the Grand Titan of the Dominion, assisted by six Furies; and the Grand Cyclops of the Den, assisted by two Nighthawks. In 1868 until the end of 1870 whilst the occupational troops were being withdrawn from the southern states and the extremist regimes replaced with Democratic administrations, the rougher sections of the population were now ruling the Klan. The local organisations, called Klaverns became so violent and uncontrollable that the Grand Wizard, who was then the former Ex-confederate officer General Nathan B Forrest, officially disbanded Klan in 1869. Klaverns however continued to operate on their own. In 1871 congress passed the bill to implement the 14th amendment to the Constitution that guaranteed the rights of all citizens. In the same year President U.S.Grant issued a proclamation calling on members of the Klan and any other illegal secret organisation to disarm and disband, not soon after hundreds of Klansmen were arrested under this new law.

The remaining Klaverns gradually faded as the political and social acceptance of blacks were being socially accepted. The name, rituals, and some of the attitudes of the original Klan were adopted by a new fraternal organisation incorporated in Georgia in 1915. The official name of the new society, which was organised by a former preacher, Colonel William Simmons, was Invisible Empire, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Membership was open to native-born, white, Protestant males, 16 years of age or older; blacks, Roman Catholics, and Jews were excluded and were increasingly made targets of defamation and persecution by the Klan. Until 1920 the society exercised little influence. Then, in the period of economic dislocation and political and social unrest that followed World War I, the Klan expanded rapidly in urban areas and became active in many states, notably Colorado, Oregon, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

Although the Klan everywhere fiercely preached white supremacy, it focused its attack on what it considered to be alien outsiders, particularly the Roman Catholic church, which it believed was threatening traditional American ways and values. All non-Protestants, aliens, liberals, trade unionists, and striking workers were denounced as radicals. Like it's fore-fathers this new Klan burned crosses to frighten their victims, masked men marched up and down the streets of many communities, carrying placards threatening any one who even spoke to blacks that they would be punished or murdered and forcing others to leave town. Many people were kidnapped, flogged, and mutilated and hundreds killed by Klan members. Only a few of the Klan members were brought to trial but many more were being praised by some local community officials for the good work that they did to clean up the town's. News paper reports of crimes committed by the Klan and of corruption in it's leadership led to a congressional investigation in 1921, and for some time the Klan were forced to change their tactics. From 1922 it experienced a rapid growth in its membership and became a political power to be reasoned with through out the nation. One estimate in 1924 had the Klan figures at over 3 million, in the mid 1920s an internal leadership conflict and further allegations of Klan immorality and violence severally damaged their reputation and political opposition increased, by 1929 it 's numbers had reduced to several thousand members. During the depression the Ku Klux Klan remained active on a very small scale, particularly against trade union organisers in the south, it was also at this point severally punishing blacks if they tried to use their right to vote.

A former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard and the founder of the National Association for the Advancement of White People (NAAWP), controversial Louisiana politician David Duke has gained recognition running for high office in Louisiana and for his unsuccessful bid for the Republican Party presidential nomination in 1992. Born David Ernest Duke in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Jul 1, 1950, Duke was the son of a petroleum engineer who moved his family from city to city before settling in New Orleans, Louisiana. He began reading white supremacist literature in his teens and was heavily influenced by Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf. While attending Louisiana State University, he was active in the Ku Klux Klan and proclaimed himself a Nazi in 1969. A year after graduation in 1974, he became grand wizard, or head, of the Louisiana Klan. Duke began his political career during his years with the Klan, running twice for the State Senate while openly acknowledging his position in the white supremacist group.

He left the Klan in 1980 and founded the NAAWP, which he publicised as a white civil rights organisation. He ran a little-known presidential campaign in 1988, first as a Democrat and then as the candidate of the Populist parties, receiving a negligible portion of the vote. Duke then won a vacant seat in the Louisiana State legislature; in 1990 he ran for the U.S. Senate and received 40% of the vote in losing to incumbent J. Bennett Johnston. The following year he ran for governor, emphasising how the practices of affirmative action and welfare discriminated against whites and trying to present himself as a mainstream candidate.

He lost the election to former governor Edwin Edwards. Duke made a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 1992, though his candidacy never got off the ground. The campaign received some publicity in its earliest stages, though it was undercut by the candidacy of conservative political columnist Pat Buchanan and hindered by a lack of funds. The Klan is every bit still active with the burning of over 33 black churches in the past 18 month sand the so called " night riders " burning a further 100 in Mississippi. The Klan still believe today that no integration of white and black should be allowed or tolerated their for is it a breach of their 14th amendment not to allow them their beliefs or is it naive of the rest of us to think they will stop at this should we be allowed to persecute anyone just by the colour of his/her skin? Bibliography: nil.

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Research essay sample on International Terrorism

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