In defense of the KKK

It seems that the basic point those who invoke the KKK as the worst example of humanity try to make is: "Ignorance leads to hate, which leads to people being lynched. If you do not permit us to indoctrinate you, you support people being lynched."

The modern perception.. There's very little talk in general about the Carpetbagging that went on, the lawlessness in the south after the Civil War.

The orthodox scenario seems to be something along these lines: The North started a war with the South which resulted in hundreds of thousands of people dead, based solely on the ideal that one man should not own another. The North won the war, and started to educate the Southerners that slavery and racism are bad. Some ignorant and hateful Southerners then started the KKK, which rode into the night, murdering as many blacks as they could get their hands on.

An alternative to this simplistic and manichean perspective might sound something like this: The American Civil War was a test to see if a state could secede from the Union. It didn't go well, and many opportunistic people flooded into the South in order to exploit the aforementioned lawlessness there.

Do you think that freed slaves wouldn't try to take revenge on their owners? Justified or not, to say that it didn't go on paints a bit too rosy a picture for me personally to digest. Just look at Haiti - white babies on spikes, fo' real, with the KKK delivering swift and brutish mob justice to criminals in addition to innocents we have been led to believe wholly comprised their victims.

Which sounds more plausible?

A cartoon threatening that the KKK would lynch carpetbaggers, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Independent Monitor, 1868

Do they look black to you?
Not to nitpick, but the Civil War was fought strictly as a states rights issue and had everything to do with the ascension of federal power and the states rights to secede. Slavery was a minor issue in the power struggle.

Even Grant was quoted as saying "if I thought this war was to abolish slavery, I would resign my commission and offer my sword to the other side."

Starting with the Missouri Compromise in 1820, followed by the Compromise of 1850, the inclusion of the Mexican states, the Kansas Nebraska Act and others, the federal government made successive grabs at power over the will of the states.

This was not only never intended, but really unconstitutional. Several states opted to use their right to secede. In fact, several states included in their admission charter the right to secede as a pre-condition to joining the union - New York being one of the most reticent!

I don't mean to quibble, but slavery shouldn't overshadow the real causes of the civil war.

As to your supposition, the north was extremely harsh on the south for opting to exercise its right to secede and many injustices were allowed by blacks against southernors. Some probably well-deserved. However, what decent society will allow government supported lawlessness to destroy the fabric of society before taking matters into their own hands?

So your premise is good.