The Clansman is Volume II of the “Reconstruction Trilogy” set of historically accurate novels designed to tell the post Civil War story from the Southern side.
This book was used as the script for the highly successful film Birth of a Nation by DW Griffiths, which was endorsed by President Woodrow Wilson. Written in the colorful (and now very politically incorrect) style of the time, this book is a remarkable combination of a call for American unity and racial preservation.
It starts with the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, (described in the book as the “South’s friend”) and follows the story of Ben Cameron, a young Confederate officer who becomes leader of the Ku Klux Klan and “overturns the Reconstruction regime.”
Much of the book also focuses on the struggle in the Union circles between Lincoln, who argues for “colonization” as “the physical difference between the races precludes their harmonious coexistence” and those who seek integration.”
Although Thomas Dixon personally condemned slavery and Klan activities after Reconstruction ended, he argued that blacks must be denied political equality because that leads to social equality and miscegenation, and thus the destruction of civilization.
Although it was the author’s intention to set the balance straight, the book highlights the madness of slavery, the impossibility of segregation and that physical racial geographical separation is the only answer to the race problem.
The other two volumes in this trilogy, Vol. I: The Leopard’s Spots and Vol. III: The Traitor, were equally as successful.