College of Arts and Sciences


Master of Arts in History - Thesis (MA)


Larry Toll


Ku Klux Klan, Reconstruction, American Civil War, Counterinsurgency, 7th Cavalry, South Carolina, Missouri




To many in 1865, the American Civil War ended in McLean’s Parlor when Robert E Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S Grant. In reality, however, the American Civil War continued to rage on in the American South, especially in South Carolina, till 1876 when Federal Troops were withdrawn from the South. The South, like most defeated nations, accepted that it had lost the conventional war with the North and with it independence but refused to accept the results of this fighting; primarily the introduction of free-labor principles, equal rights, and voting rights for freedmen. The South resisted through the legal system and physically which came in the shape of the Ku Klux Klan and various other similar organizations. From 1865 to 1876 the Federal Government had maintained a successful but flawed nation-building effort in the American South and was incredibly successful in South Carolina in waging a counterinsurgency operation led by Major Lewis Merrill of the Seventh Cavalry from 1871 to 1873. Merrill’s operations highlight that counterinsurgency can be successful contrary to recent American experiences in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq but can be undermined by Federal policy making and apathy from Northerners.

Included in

History Commons