Talk:Second Enforcement Act of 1871

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Untitled[edit]

I believe this law was and is popularly referred to as the Ku Klux Act rather than the Ku Klux Klan Act. Am I right? 24.240.37.50 (talk) 22:24, 15 May 2011 (UTC)dogcanteen

Work needed[edit]

I've done a little work on this article basically by cutting and pasting from the Ku Klux Klan article, which I've been involved in. There are a lot of things that could be done to this article:

  • clarifying the names (Force Act, Klan Act, Civil Rights Act) and clearing up the relationship between the 1870 Force Act and the 1871 Klan Act, which I haven't been able to find a good explanation of
  • doing something about the history of the Force Act --- not sure to what extent it was really separate legislation
  • verifying that the Force Act is what was really used in the Chaney-Goodman-Schwener and Liuzzo cases --- every source just seems to refer generically to "1870 federal civil rights legislation," which makes me uncertain whether they're referring to the Force Act, Klan Act, both, or neither
  • explaining in more detail how the heck the law can continue to be used when the Supreme Court basically pulled its teeth in 1882

--Bcrowell 18:27, 15 August 2005 (UTC)


This article is incomplete. The KKK Act created several different statutes that still exist (although many were struck down as unconstitutional, see United States v. Harris). Important Supreme Court cases have involved the other sections of the Act, including Bray v. Alexandria Womens Clinic and United Brotherhood of Carpenters v. Scott. The article makes it seem that 42 USC 1983 is the only product of the Act. I agree that it is the most important product, but it is not the same. I disagree with the commentor who said that there is too much history. Although the history of the Act has become somewhat irrelevant to 42 USC 1983, it is still deeply important to the other areas of the statute. This statute was also one of the first big "Reconstruction Congress Statutes" that radically changed the federal/state relationship by enforcing the 14th Amendment and altering the legal culture of the US. ACE603

Added bits[edit]

I added some bits about the statute's history and the effect of the Pape ruling. Hopefully, this answers Bcrowell's question about modern usage of the statute. I deleted the bit about the 1882 ruling because it seems to give readers a false impression. The court didn't declare the statute unconstitutional, it said it applied only to state actors. This is not groundbreaking. Instead, I added a sentence or two about the statute's lack of use. Rebekah Zinn 18:33, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

Too much history[edit]

The history of the Civil Rights Act is fascinating, but the entry contains so much history that a reader could get the impression that this law is purely a historical relic. It's not a relic. On the contrary, it's used all the time. I am an attorney whose practice consists almost entirely of suing city and state officials using this statute. The discussion omits a fact of enormous importance to both attorneys and their clients--namely that if you win the lawsuit, the government is required to pay your attorneys fees. This is what makes civil rights lawsuits feasible and a more powerful remedy than suing under state law.

The discussion of the Ku Klux Klan Act and the Force Act confuses the subject. They are entirely separate statues. I suggest that the section entitled "Later Use" be renamed to "Current Uses," be expanded to explain how ordinary people benefit from the Civil Rights Act today, and that it be moved higher up.

no rights[edit]

There is a rather snarky statement that seems to have made its way into this paragraph:

Now the statute stands as one of the most powerful authorities with which federal courts may protect those whose rights are deprived. It is most often used by people trying to get out of trouble by suing a politician who is "violating their rights". usually, no rights are being violated.Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act provides a way individuals can sue to redress violations of federally protected rights, like the First Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment and Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. Section 1983 prohibits public sector employment discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex and religion. Section 1983 rarely applies to private employers.

which should probably either be removed or explained. I am also troubled by the quotation marks around "violating their rights", which doesn't seem appropriate for an encyclopedia. --203.6.205.113 01:30, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

1871 Ku Klux Klan Act[edit]

Leonard W. Levy, et al., eds., Encyclopedia of the American Constitution, MacMillan/Professional Books, 1987, notes that the 1871 Civil Rights Act is commonly known as the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act, since the thrust of the Act is to enable enforcement of the 1866 Civil Rights Act by countering the KKK. The Ku Klux Klan Act was gutted by the 1875 Cruikshank decision over the 1873 Colfax Courthouse Massacre. While the formal title is 1871 Civil Rights Act, it is commonly called the Ku Klux Klan Act to distinguish it from the 1866 Civil Rights Act which addressed civil rights; the Ku Klux Klan Act addressed conspiracy to violate civil rights. In other words, reference to the post-Civil War Civil Right Act and the Ku Klux Klan Act are used in historical and legal writings to distinguish the 1866 Civil Rights Act and the 1871 Civil Rights Act. Naaman Brown (talk) 12:41, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Duplicate names[edit]

Is it really the case that there are two different Acts each of which is separately known as "Enforcement Act of 1871" (and indeed also as "Civil Rights Act of 1871")? How can anyone reading a discussion possibly know which of the two Acts is meant when the shared name is used? jnestorius(talk) 12:46, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

re: "post-Antebellum South Carolina"[edit]

re: "post-Antebellum South Carolina", where "Antebellum South Carolina" was an internal link to another Wikipedia article. I moved the link to the --See other-- section and removed "post-Antebellum". (1) The expression "post-Antebellum South Carolina", which means "South Carolina after-before the Civil War", is, at best, awkward both in syntax and semantics, as an expression, as a reference, and as a link. Prefixing a link with the term "post-" is particularly problematic. (2) The article on "Antebellum South Carolina" tells us that the period after the Antebellum period was the Civil War itself, not Reconstruction, which is the appropriate period for this article. Thus, the temporal reference of "post-Antebellum South Carolina" is incorrect. (However,) the article "Antebellum South Carolina" does add context for the reader, as the editor intended. For this reason, I did not delete the link but instead moved it to an appropriate section. Belastro (talk) 15:43, 11 November 2015 (UTC)