This document is a pamphlet put out by the northern Republican party in 1867, for use by the newly enfranchised southern freedmen. It was popularly known as the "Loyal League Catechism" because it was frequently read aloud in the meetings of the secret Republican clubs called Union Leagues or Loyal Leagues. It gives some idea of how Reconstruction supporters appealed to the new African-American voters--MF.


"The Position of the Republican and Democratic Parties


The following is a dialogue between a newly enfranchised freedman and a sound Radical Republican. The new-made voter is seeking light upon the subject of his political duties and his Radical friend gives him plain facts, and demonstrates clearly with which party he and all like him should act. It would be well for colored voters generally to seek out some tried Radical friend and question him upon all subjects about which they have -any doubt. The dialogue is submitted with the hope that the facts set forth therein will remove doubts from the minds of many who have been unable to receive proper information upon the position in which they should stand at this time:

The Dialogue.

QUESTION. With what party should the colored man vote?

ANSWER. The Union Republican party.

Q. Why should the colored man vote with that party?

A. Because that party has made him free and given him the right to vote.

Q. Was Mr. Lincoln a Republican?

A. He was a Republican President.

Q. Are all the Republicans in favor of universal freedom?

A. They are.

Q. What is the difference between Radicals and Republicans ?

A. There is none. The word Radical was applied to the Republican party by its enemies, and has been accepted by it.

Q. The Radicals and Republicans are then one and the same party?

A. They are, and they are all in favor of freedom and universal justice.


Q. What is the meaning of the word Radical as applied to political parties and politicians?

A. It means one who is in favor of going to the root of things; who is thoroughly in earnest; who desires that slavery should be abolished, that every disability connected therewith should be obliterated, not only from the national laws but from those of every State in the Union.

Q. Is Mr. Sumner a Republican?

A. He is, and a Radical, so are Thad. Stevens, Senator Wilson, Judge Kelley, Gen. Butler, Speaker Colfax, Chief Justice Chase, and all other men who favor giving colored men their rights.

Q. To which party do the friends of the colored men in Congress belong?

A. To the Republican Party.

Q. What is a Democrat?

A. A member of that party which before the rebellion sustained every legislative act demanded by the slaveholders, such as the Fugitive Slave Law, and the attempt made to force slavery upon the Western Territories.

Q. What was the position of the Democratic Party during the war?

A. It opposed the war; declared Mr. Lincoln's management of it a failure; resisted every measure in Congress looking to emancipation, and denounced the Government for arming colored men as soldiers.

Q. What has that party done since the surrender of the rebels?

A. It has sustained Mr. Johnson in his efforts to restore your old masters to power in the country, and opposed every act for your benefit which the Republican Congress has adopted.

Q. Is it known by any other name?

A. It is known as Conservative, Copperhead and rebel. Under each name it is still the same enemy of freedom and the rights of man.

Q. Would the Democrats make slaves of the colored people again if they could?

A. It is fair to presume they would, for they have opposed their freedom by every means in their power, and have always labored to extend slavery.

Q. Would Democrats allow colored men -to vote?

A. No! They have always opposed it in Congress and in the various State Legislatures.

Q. Who abolished slavery in the District of Columbia ?

A. A Republican Congress and Abraham Lincoln, a Republican President.

Q. Who freed the slaves of the South?

A. Abraham Lincoln, the Republican President, by proclamation.

Q. Who passed the Freedman's Bureau Bill?

A. A Republican Congress by more than a two-thirds vote over the veto of Andrew Johnson, the leader of the Democratic or conservative party.

Q. Who gave us the Civil Rights Bill?

A. The same Republican Congress.

Q. What party gave us the right to vote?

A. The Republican party.

Q. What has the Democratic, Conservative or Copper head party ever done for the colored people?

A. It has tried to keep them in slavery, and opposed giving them the benefit of the Freedman's Bureau and Civil Rights Bills, and the right to vote.

Q. Why cannot colored men support the Democratic party?

A. Because that party would disfranchise them, and, if possible, return them to slavery and certainly keep them in an inferior position before the law.

Q. With whom do the disloyal white men of the South desire the colored men to vote?

A. With the Democratic party.

Q. Would not the Democrats take away all the Negro's rights ?

A. They would.

Q. Then why de they pretend to be the best friends of the colored men?

A. Because they contend that they are fitted only for slavery, or an inferior position, and are happier in either condition.

Q. How would it suit them to be served in the same manner?

A. They would not endure it. They call themselves a superior race of beings, and claim they are born your rulers.

Q. Why do they not do unto others as they would be done by?

A. Because they are devoid of principle, and destitute of all sense of justice where the colored man is concerned.

Q. Do all white people belong to a party which would treat us in that way?

A. They do not. There are many who have stood up nobly for your rights, and who will aid you to the end; indeed, all the Republicans are such.

Q. To what party do the people of the South belong?

A. The larger portion belong to the Democratic party.

Q. Are the slave holders and the leaders of the rebellion members of that party?

A. They are, and would not regard you as having any right if they were in power.

Q. The colored men should then vote with the Republican or Radical Party?

A. They should, and shun the Democratic party as they would the overseer's lash and the auction block.

Q. Has the Republican party ever deceived the colored people ?

A. It has not. While the Democratic party has always been opposed to their freedom, their education, and their right to vote, the Republican party has always been their friend.

Q. To what party do the leading colored men belong?

A. Without exception they belong to the Republican party.

Q. What are the most prominent principles advocated by the Republican party?

A. Equal rights before the law and at the ballot box for all men without regard to race or color; that is, that every man shall have the same rights and liberties as any other man.

Q. Does not the Military Reconstruction Act secure to us these rights ?

A. Yes, but you may yet be deprived of them if your enemies get into power.

Q. What would the people think if the colored men voted with the Democratic party?

A. The people of the North would think that they did not fully understand their own rights nor the duties devolving on them; and the people of the South would proudly say, "We have always told you that the Negro did not wish to be free."

Q. What use has been made of the money which the colored people of the Southern States have paid as taxes?

A. It has been used to establish schools for white children; to pay the expenses of making, and executing laws in which the colored men have had no voice, and in endeavoring to have the Supreme Court set aside the law which gives you the right to vote.

Q. What! are the Democrats using my own money to take away my rights?

A. They have always done so, and will continue to while they remain in power.

Q. Can this be right?

A. It can not, but it is what you have always received, and such treatment as you will continue to receive from the Democratic party.

Q. Some people say if we vote against the whites of the South it will make them our enemies and we will be destroyed. Is it so?

A. This will not be the case, because they will try to befriend you to secure your vote.

Q. But they say we will be discharged from work if we dare vote the Republican ticket. Will they do that?

A. You should remember that your labor is worth just as much to the man who employs you as his money is to you.

Q. You would advise us then to disregard these threats and vote with the Republican party?

A. Most certainly I would. Had you rather suffer, or even starve to death, than to aid a party to re-enslave you? Remember your former condition and avoid a return to chains and slavery. "Give me liberty or give me death."

Q. The white people South say the Republicans of the North do not care for the colored men only so far as they can use them to continue in political power. Is that true?

A. It is not.

Q. What is the reason that several of the Northern States do not give us the right to vote?

A. Chiefly because they have in the past been controlled by the Democratic party. In the Western States where what are called the "Black Laws," exist, which forbid colored people to live there, there are large bodies of whites who moved originally from the slave States, and carried the hatred and prejudices of slavery with them.

Q. What has the Republican party done in these States about such laws?

A. Tried to abolish them as fast as it gained power. It publicly advocates their repeal.

Q. Well, I am satisfied. You have clearly shown me my duty and I shall impart the information to my people.

A. Let me say to you further, that the Democratic party will use all means to get the colored people to put it in power again, but you must remember what has been its past record, and see to it that you do not trust it in the future. In order that you may work to the best advantage for the success of the party which has been and still is your true friend, you should have an organization, or association, where you can bring together your people, and such white men as belong to the Republican party. You want to be so organized that you will act as one man, lest your enemy gain the victory. You should organize Union Leagues and Republican Clubs. Here is a constitution for a Union Republican Club. You can take this and call together some of your Republican friends, have them sign it, and elect the officers provided therein. Then hold a meeting once in each week, talk these matters over, read newspapers and documents to those who cannot read, and take such measures as will result in conveying to every colored man the correct view of his duties at this time. This is the Constitution of which I speak- [Then follows a constitution for a political club.]






The enactment of the Reconstruction Acts and equal suffrage encouraged an aggressive counterreaction among racist opponents of the new order. The Ku Klux Klan was the most well known of the terrorist groups opposing Reconstruction. From its obscure origin in Tennessee in 1866 as a white social club, it quickly took on political terrorist overtones and spread across much of the South in the spring of 1868.

The following is one of its published secret rituals, which provides some sanitized notion of its aims--MF



"Organization and Principles of the Ku Klux Klan [1868]


THIS Organization shall be styled and denominated, the Order of the * * * [the idea was that the name of the secret order should not be divulged to outside eyes].


WE, the Order of the * * *, reverentially acknowledge the majesty and supremacy of the Divine Being, and recognize the goodness and providence of the same. And we recognize our relation to the United States Government, the supremacy of the Constitution, the Constitutional Laws thereof, and the Union of States thereunder.


THIS is an institution of Chivalry, Humanity, Mercy, and Patriotism; embodying in its genius and its principles all that is chivalric in conduct, noble in sentiment, generous in manhood, and patriotic in purpose; its peculiar objects being

First: To protect the weak, the innocent, and the defenseless, from the indignities, wrongs, and outrages of the lawless, the violent, and the brutal; to relieve the injured and oppressed; to succor the suffering and unfortunate, and especially the widows and orphans of Confederate soldiers.

Second: To protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and all laws passed in conformity thereto, and to protect the States and the people thereof from all invasion from any source whatever.

Third: To aid and assist in the execution of all constitutional laws, and to protect the people from unlawful seizure, and from trial except by their peers in conformity to the laws of the land.


SECTION I. The officers of this Order shall consist of a Grand Wizard of the Empire, and his ten Genii; a Grand Dragon of the Realm, and his eight Hydras; a Grand Titan of the Dominion, and his six Furies; a Grand Giant of the Province, and his four Goblins; a Grand Cyclops of the Den, and his two Night-hawks; a Grand Magi, a Grand Monk, a Grand Scribe, a Grand Exchequer, a Grand Turk, and a Grand Sentinel.

SEC. 2. The body politic of this Order shall be known and designated as "Ghouls."



SECTION I. The territory embraced within the jurisdiction of this Order shall be coterminous with the States of Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee; all combined constituting the Empire.

SEC. 2. The Empire shall be divided into four departments, the first to be styled the Realm, and coterminous with the boundaries of the several States; the second to be styled the Dominion and to be coterminous with such counties as the Grand Dragons of the several Realms may assign to the charge of the Grand Titan. The third to be styled the Province, and to be coterminous with the several counties; provided, the Grand Titan may, when he deems it necessary, assign two Grand Giants to one Province, prescribing, at the same time, the jurisdiction of each. The fourth department to be styled the Den, and shall embrace such part of a Province as the Grand Giant shall assign to the charge of a Grand Cyclops.


1st. Have you ever been rejected, upon application for membership in the * * * or have you ever been expelled from the same?

2d. Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Radical Republican party, or either of the organizations known as the "Loyal League" and the "Grand Army of the Republic?" 3d. Are you opposed to the principles and policy of the Radical party, and to the Loyal League, and the Grand Army of the Republic, so far as you are informed of the character and purposes of those organizations?

4th. Did you belong to the Federal army during the late war, and fight against the South during the existence of the same?

5th. Are you opposed to Negro equality, both social and political ?

6th. Are you in favor of a white man's government in this country ?

7th. Are you in favor of Constitutional liberty, and a Government of equitable laws instead of a Government of violence and oppression?

8th. Are you in favor of maintaining the Constitutional rights of the South?

9th. Are you in favor of the re-enfranchisement and emancipation of the white men of the South, and the restitution of the Southern people to all their rights, alike proprietary, civil, and political?

10th. Do you believe in the inalienable right of self-preservation of the people against the exercise of arbitrary and unlicensed power?



The Knights of the White Camelia Constitution and Ritual adopted 1869. Extracts.

The Knights of the White Camelia was another clandestine racist group, somewhat along the lines of the Klan but less violent. This group was strongest in Louisiana and surrounding areas of the deep South. They were perhaps more open in their motivations than the Klan ritual above--MF


WHEREAS, Radical legislation is subversive of the principles of the Government of the United States, as originally adopted by our fathers:

And whereas, our safety and our prosperity depend on the preservation of those grand principles and believing that they can be peacefully maintained: Therefore, we adopt the following [constitution similar to that of the KKK].


I. Do you belong to the white race? Ans. - I do.

2. Did you ever marry any woman who did not, or does not, belong to the white race? Ans. -No.

3. Do you promise never to marry any woman but one who belongs to the white race? Ans. - I do.

4. Do you believe in the superiority of your race? Ans. I do.

5. Will you promise never to vote for any one for any office of honor, profit or trust, who does not belong to your race? Ans. -I do.

6. Will you take a solemn oath never to abstain from casting your vote at any election in which a candidate of the Negro race shall be opposed to a white man attached to your principles, unless or prevented by severe illness or any other physical disability? Ans. - I will.

7. Are you opposed to allowing the control of the political affairs of this country to go in whole or in part, into the hands of the African race, and will you do everything in your power to prevent it? A. - Yes.

8. Will you devote your intelligence, energy and influence to the furtherance and propagation of the principles of our Order? A. -I will.

9. Will you, under all circumstances, defend and protect persons of the white race in their lives, rights and property, against all encroachments or invasions from any inferior race, and especially the African? A. - Yes.

10. Are you willing to take an oath forever to cherish these grand principles, and to unite yourself with others who, like you, believing in their truth, have firmly bound themselves to stand by and defend them against all? Ans. - I am.

The Commander shall then say: If you consent to join our Association, raise your right hand and I will administer to you the, oath which we have all taken: . .


Brothers: You have been initiated into one of -the most important Orders, which have ever been established on this continent: an Order, which, if its principles are faithfully observed and its objects diligently carried out, is destined to regenerate our unfortunate, country and to relieve the White Race from the humiliating condition to which it has lately been reduced in this Republic. It is necessary, therefore, that before taking part in the. labors of this Association, you should understand fully its principles and objects and the duties which devolve upon you as one of its members.

As you may have already gathered from the questions which were propounded to you, and which you have answered so satisfactorily, and from the clauses of the Oath which you have taken, our main and fundamental object is the MAINTENANCE OF THE SUPREMACY OF THE WHITE RACE in this Republic. History and physiology teach us that we belong to a race which nature has endowed with an evident superiority over all other races, and that the Maker, in thus elevating us above the common standard of human creation, has intended to give us over inferior races, a dominion from which no human laws can permanently derogate. The experience of ages demonstrates that, from the origin of the world, this dominion has always remained in the hands of the Caucasian Race; whilst all the other races have constantly occupied a subordinate and secondary position; a fact which triumphantly confirms this great law of nature. Powerful nations have succeeded each other on the face of the world, and have marked their passage by glorious and memorable deeds; and among those who have thus left on this globe indelible traces of their splendor and greatness, we find none but descended from the Caucasian stock. We see, on the contrary, that most of the countries inhabited by the other races have remained in a state of complete barbarity; whilst the small number of those who have advanced beyond this savage existence, have, for centuries, stagnated in a semi-barbarous condition of which there can be no progress or improvement. And it is a remarkable fact that as a race of men is more remote from the Caucasian and approaches nearer to the black African, the more fatally that stamp of inferiority is affixed to its sons, and irrevocably dooms them to eternal imperfectability and degradation.

Convinced that we are of these elements of natural ethics, we know, besides, that the government of our Republic was established by white men, for white men alone, and that it never was in the contemplation of its founders that it should fall into the hands of an inferior and degraded race. We hold, therefore, that any attempt to wrest from the white race the management of its affairs in order to transfer it to control of the black population, is an invasion of the sacred prerogatives vouchsafed to us by the Constitution, and a violation of the laws established by God himself; that such encroachments are subversive of the established institutions of our Republic, and that no individual of the white race can submit to them without humiliation and shame.

It, then, becomes our solemn duty, as white men, to resist strenuously and persistently those attempts against our natural and constitutional rights, and to do everything in our power in order to maintain, in this Republic, the supremacy of the Caucasian race, and restrain the black or African race to that condition of social and political inferiority for which God has destined it. This is the object for which our Order was instituted; and, in carrying it out, we intend to infringe no laws, to violate no rights, and to resort to no forcible means, except for purposes of legitimate and necessary defense.

As an essential condition of success, this Order proscribes absolutely all social equality between the races. If we were to admit persons of African race on the same level with ourselves, a state of personal relations would follow which would unavoidably lead to political equality; for it would be a virtual recognition of status, after which we could not consistently deny them an equal share in the administration of our public affairs. The man who is good enough to be our familiar companion, is good enough also to participate in our political government: and if we were to grant the one, there could be no good reason for us not to concede the other of these two privileges.

There is another reason, Brothers, for which we condemn this social equality. Its toleration would soon be a fruitful source of intermarriages between individuals of the two races; and the result of this miscegenation would be gradual amalgamation and the production of a degenerate and bastard offspring, which would soon populate these States with a degraded and ignoble population, incapable of moral and intellectual development and unfitted to support a great and powerful country. We must maintain the purity of the white blood, if we would preserve for it that natural superiority with which God has ennobled it.

To avoid these evils, therefore, we take the obligation TO OBSERVE A MARKED DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE TWO RACES, not only in the relations of public aff airs, but also in the more intimate dealings and intercourse of private life which, by the frequency of their occurrence, are more apt to have an influence on the attainment of the purposes of the Order.

Now that I have laid before you the objects of this Association, let me charge you specially in relation to one of your most important duties as one of its members. Our statutes make us bound to respect sedulously the rights of the colored inhabitants of this Republic, and in every instance, to give to them whatever lawfully belongs to, them. It is an act of simple justice not to deny them any of the privileges to which they are legitimately entitled; and we cannot better show the inherent superiority of our race than by dealing with them in that spirit of firmness, liberality and impartiality which characterizes all superior organizations. Besides, it would be ungenerous for us to undertake to restrict them to the narrowest limits as to the exercise of certain rights, without conceding to them, at the same time, the fullest measure of those which we recognize as theirs; and a fair construction of a white man's duty towards them would be, not only to respect and observe their acknowledged rights, but also to see that these are respected and observed by others.

From the brief explanation which I have just given you, you must have satisfied yourselves that our Association is not a political party, and has no connection with any of the organized parties of the day. Nor will it lend itself to the personal advancement of individuals, or listen to the cravings of any partisan spirit. It was organized in order to carry out certain great principles, from which it must never swerve by favoring private ambitions and political aspirations. These, as well as all sentiments of private enmity, animosity and other personal feelings, we must leave at the door before we enter this Council. You may meet here, congregated together, men who belong to all the political organizations which now divide, or may divide, this country; you see some whom embittered feuds and irreconcilable hatred have long and widely separated; they have all cast away these rankling feelings to unite cordially and zealously in the labors of our great undertaking. Let their example be to you a useful lesson of the disinterestedness and devotedness which should characterize our efforts for the success of our cause!