a1 University of Auckland
The period of Reconstruction in the South was marred by frequent outbreaks of racial violence and South Carolina undoubtedly achieved a certain notoriety in this respect. Yet this phenomenon of recurring violence – even in its best known manifestation, the Ku Klux Klan – has not really received much intensive study from either the ‘revisionist’ school of Reconstruction historians or any local historians of the South. There is still a great deal of uncertainty about the questions of why the Ku Klux Klan came into existence in the Southern states, and who organized and participated in its vigilante activities. These questions can be easily posed but, largely because of the lack of source materials which bear directly upon them, they have proved to be extremely difficult to answer satisfactorily.