Hate in America began even before there was an America. Slavery, of course, was colonial America’s original sin. But even the sainted Founding Father Benjamin Franklin espoused bigotry against, of all the unlikely targets, the race he called the “Stupid, Swarthy Germans.” Any graph of America’s emotional temperature in the centuries since then would show ebbs and flows of intolerance — simmering periods of exclusion punctuated by spikes of outright hate. And today, as a consensus emerges among experts that the friction we’re now experiencing — from Charlottesville, Va., to Berkeley, Calif. — may represent yet another one of those hateful peaks, it’s worth considering what the present moment has in common with the past, and how it differs.
Here are some images of the perpetrators — and targets — of bigotry in America’s past.
See related story by Andrew Romano and Lisa Belkin with Caitlin Dickson: Hate in America: Where it comes from and why it’s back >>>
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Confederate cavalrymen, led by Nathan Bedford Forrest, later the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, killing unarmed black Union soldiers after the surrender of Fort Pillow in Tennessee on Aug. 12, 1864. (Photo: MPI/Getty Images)
Ku Klux Klan members pose in Huntsville, Ala., in 1868, two years after the KKK was formed.
(Photo: Pictorial Press Ltd/Alamy Stock Photo)
Lynching of a black man, 1882, Washington, D.C. (Photo: Photo12/UIG via Getty Images)
A mob of white coal miners attacking Chinese immigrants who worked during a strike at the mines in Rock Springs, Wyo., 1885. (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)
Immigrants pack the upper deck of the liner SS Patricia as it travels from Hamburg, Germany, to New York, Dec. 10, 1906. (Photo: Edwin Levick/FPG/Getty Images)
Ku Klux Klan members ride in a parade through the streets of Tulsa, Okla., on Sept. 21, 1923. (Photo: AP)
Immigrant family on the dock at Ellis Island, N.Y., looking toward the New York skyline. (Photo: Bettmann Archive via Getty Images)
Relatives and friends wave goodbye to a train carrying 1,500 Mexicans being expelled from Los Angeles in 1931. (Photo: NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
An American soldier guarding a crowd of Japanese-Americans at an internment camp at Manzanar, Calif., during World War II. (Photo: Hulton-Deutsch/Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis via Getty Images)
The first group of 82 Japanese-Americans arrive at the Manzanar internment camp carrying their belongings in suitcases and bags, Owens Valley, Calif., March 21, 1942. (Photo: Eliot Elisofon/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Elizabeth Eckford ignores the screams and hostile stares of fellow students on her first day of school. She was one of the nine African-American students whose integration into Little Rock, Ark. Central High School was ordered by a federal court in response to a suit by the NAACP, Sept. 6, 1957. (Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images)
A 17-year-old African American civil rights activist is attacked by police dogs during a demonstration in Birmingham, Ala., May 3, 1963. (Photo: Bill Hudson/AP)
Injured demonstrators are tended to after state police broke up a march in Selma, Ala., on March 7, 1965, the day that became known as “Bloody Sunday.” Images and news articles about the clash are credited with helping pass the Voting Rights Act later that year. (Photo: AP)
Civil rights activists walk between a line of tanks and National Guard troops brandishing bayonets on Beale Street in Memphis, Tenn. (Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images)
University of California Los Angeles students march through campus on November 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, during a “Love Trumps Hate” rally in reaction to President-elect Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election. (Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty images)
The Ku Klux Klan protests the planned removal of a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee, and calls for the protection of Confederate monuments. (Photo: Chet Strange/Getty Images)
Chanting “White lives matter!” and “Jews will not replace us!,” several hundred white nationalists march through the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 11, 2017. (Photo: Evelyn Hockstein for the Washington Post via Getty Images)
White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the “alt-right” clash with counterprotesters as they enter Emancipation Park during the “Unite the Right” rally, Aug.12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Va. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
People fly into the air as a vehicle drives into counterprotesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 12, 2017. (Photo: Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress via AP)
Flowers, candles and chalk-written messages surround a photograph of Heather Heyer on the spot where she was killed and 19 others injured when a car slamed into a crowd of people protesting against a white supremacist rally, Aug. 16, 2017 in Charlottesville, Va. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)