The Southern act of lynching was performed by a frustrated and scared group of people. The white southern man was afraid of Negro domination and afraid of losing power and dignity because their former slaves were now considered constitutionally their equals. The fact that African-Americans could vote scared the white men. They felt that their power was threatened due to the African-American voting population. So they reacted out of fear and hate. They voiced their anger with violence. The vigilante actions took form in lynching or brutal beatings and killings of African-Americans. Groups such as the Klu Klux Klan and the Regulators were a regular presence in the old south. According to Ida B. Wells "In slave times the Negro was kept subservient and submissive by the frequency and severity of the scourging" which means that post-civil war white men tried to keep the free Negro the same way.
Economic conditions in the South are pitiful. Cotton prices are low, the weather is poor, and so are the harvests. The white farmers are exhausted and angry: their sons are dead, they were killed in the war, and their life savings are gone. They have no money to hire workers or buy equipment and seeds, and most of the black farmers have no land. Before the war there were no lynchings of blacks. Slaves were valuable possessions. Now the white farmers have nothing. Carpetbaggers have come to take advantage of the southerners and African-Americans have voting rights. White men chose to blame there poor fortune on the African-Americans and take it out on them with violence. The vigilante groups such as the KKK and Regulators lynched African-Americans for assumed crimes such as Rape, Burglary, and attempted murder. Usually African Americans are drug to the center of town, beaten and killed. African-Americans pleaded with the government to do something to stop the lynching. "The government which had made the Negro a citizen found itself unable to protect him.