The White League was created as a paramilitary structure, actively promoting a policy of white supremacy and acting as the opposition to Republican government forces. The main goal of the League was to create chaos in a variety of ways to reduce the number of Republicans voting and organizing. The White League lasted only two years but managed to get Democrats in control in the South, which supported discrimination against African Americans.


The White League was one of the organizations that forcibly promoted a policy of white supremacy. Its first unit was created in Louisiana in 1874, but soon similar groups appeared in many parts of the South. The members of the White League, for the most part, were Confederate veterans, which ensured the effectiveness of the League. Supporters of this movement provided them with finances and weapons, which, along with the combat experience of the League members, made it a formidable militarized organization.

The global goal of the White League was to overthrow the Reconstruction Government. This goal was dictated by dissatisfaction with the official authorities, which entailed the abolition of slavery and the distribution of rights and lands to the African American population. Accordingly, in response to the arrival of African Americans to the government, people dissatisfied with the state of affairs appeared, uniting in terrorist organizations. Such was the White League, chasing African Americans everywhere with the help of weapons. Unlike some secret communities like the Ku Klux Klan, the White League acted openly. The arsenal of their methods included threats, blackmail, and even murder. Moreover, the number of those persecuted included not only persons related to the government. In 1874, there was a blatant murder of a seventeen-year-old African American girl who worked as a teacher in school. The White League is also guilty of Coushatta Massacre, during which terrorists made six Republican officials leave both their posts and the state. However, members of the League killed officials before they left the area, and with them all the freedmen who were nearby and became involuntary witnesses of the murder.

In addition to minor terrorist acts, the White League had one major battle in New Orleans called the Battle of Liberty Place, which is their most significant action. In 1874, New Orleans police attempted to intercept a load of weapons intended for terrorists. In response, five thousand members of the White League, entered the city to capture the state government, on the side of which there were three and a half thousand people. The White League demanded the resignation of the current governor, William Pitt Kellogg, who took office in 1872. After his refusal, the White League, during a brief assault, seized the town hall and arsenal and held them for three days, having managed to retreat just before the arrival of reinforcements of government forces.

The White League and Ku Klux Klan alliance.
The White League and Ku Klux Klan alliance. Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org

Two years later, the League was dissolved due to the achievement of its primary goal – establishing the Democratic government in the South. The regime for which they fought lasted until the 60s of the 20th century. Among the results of the White League, it is worth noting the terror against both African Americans and their supporters, the killing of many of them, and, ultimately, the establishment of racist principles of white superiority.