This caught my eye today. It is a recruiting advertisement from Nathan Bedford Forrest, for confederate cavalry:
Memphis Daily Appeal August 15, 1861
A Chance for Active Service.
HAVING been authorized by Governor Harris to
raise a Battalion of Mounted Rangers for the war,
I desire to enlist five hundred able-bodied men, mount-
ed and equipped with such arms as they can procure
(shot guns and pistols preferable), suitable to the ser-
vice. Those who cannot entirely equip themselves will
be furnished arms by the State, when mustered in,
a valuation of the property in horses and arms will be
made, and the amount credited to the volunteers.
Those wishing to enlist are requested to report them-
selves to me at the Gayoso House, where quarters will
be assigned them until such time as the Battalion is
N. B. FORREST,
Lieut Col. P. A. Tenn.
Forrest would go on to found the Ku Klux Klan which operated as a terrorist organization opposing reconstruction efforts after the Civil War. As reconstruction faded, so too did the Klan.
Some 50 years later however, the Klan would be revived as a right wing populist organization based upon racism, anti-Catholicism, anti-Communism, nativism, and anti-Semitism along with a touch of anti-Federal government sentiment.
I know what people reading this are going to think. And I’ll put that to rest right now. Just because many Tea Party outfits are also afraid of the Government, and of immigrants and of imaginary communism does not mean that I am equating one right wing populist group to another right wing populist group. The two groups possess certain similarities. That is all. The fact that the Congressional Tea Party wing of the GOP is firmly rooted in the states of the old confederacy and the fact that the Klan also started there should have no bearing on any comparison of the two groups. And I am expressly not making any comparison based upon geography.
Additionally, just because the origins of modern movement conservatism can be traced back to the Scopes Trial period of the 1920s and the fact that the high water mark of the Klan also occurred during this same time period should also not be used as a basis to compare one group to the other. And I am not making this comparison, either.
So recapping……just because both groups are right wing populist organizations, with ideological and geographical overlap should not cause anyone to equate one organization with another. And I am not making such a comparison based upon these factors and neither should anyone else.