The Ku Klux Klan (), commonly called the KKK or simply the Klan, refers to three distinct secret movements at different points in time in the history of the United States. Each has advocated extremist reactionary positions such as white supremacy, white nationalism, anti-immigration and—especially in later iterations—Nordicism and anti-Catholicism. Historically, the KKK used terrorism—both physical assault and murder—against groups or individuals whom they opposed. All three movements have called for the "purification" of American society and all are considered right-wing extremist organizations. In each era, membership was secret and estimates of the total were highly exaggerated by both the friends and enemies. The first Klan flourished in the Southern United States in the late 1860s, then died out by the early 1870s. It sought to overthrow the Republican state governments in the South during the Reconstruction Era, especially by using violence against African-American leaders. With numerous autonomous chapters across the South, it was suppressed around 1871, through federal law enforcement. Members made their own, often colorful, costumes: robes, masks and conical hats, designed to be terrifying and to hide their identities. The second group was founded in the South in 1915 and it flourished nationwide in the early and mid-1920s, including urban areas of the Midwest and West.
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