Terrorism and Late Nineteenth Century

Topics: Terrorism, United States, Al-Qaeda Pages: 6 (2242 words) Published: January 6, 2013
The purpose of this paper is to give a brief overview on history of terrorism and how it impacts the United States. Additionally, this paper will provide some insight on the previous and current presidential administration’s attempts to protect this great nation from terrorist acts


Ever since the Al Qaeda’s attack of September 11, 2012, against the United States, our nation has implemented counterterrorism policies to combat jihadist terrorism. Sadly terrorism is not a phenomenon. This paper will take a very brief look at terrorist events against America. It is important to define terrorism as a systematic way of implementing terror via violent means of coercion. Terrorism is usually driven by political, religious or ideological goal; and deliberately target or disregard the safety of innocent bystanders. Terrorism is also defined as an unlawful act of war and violence (Terrorism research). “The single biggest threat to U.S. security, both short-term, medium-term and long-term,” President Barack Obama stated on April 11, is the possibility that terrorists might obtain a nuclear weapon. The second biggest threat to world history’s mightiest military state, it goes without saying, are terrorists without nuclear weapons but armed with box-cutters, rifles or homemade explosives (The Oval, 2012). History of Terrorism

Where do we start to address the origin of terrorism? David Rapoport a religion Scholar and political scientist published a 2004 essay outlining forms of terrorism, these forms are known as the “ four waves ” of modern terrorism: the “ Anarchist Wave, ” stretching from the 1880s through 1914; the “ Anti-Colonial Wave, ” spanning the 1920s through the 1960s; the “ New Left Wave, ” from the 1960s through the 1990s; and the “ Religious Wave, ” which began with the 1979 Iran hostage crisis and persists to this day (25). Anarchist terrorism was the first wave, when the United States was well known as a haven for revolutionaries fleeing persecution in Europe (26). It is similarly true of the latter half of the twentieth century, when the United States emerged not only as a victim but also as an architect and financial supporter of transnational terror. The history of terrorism deals yet one more blow to American exceptionalism, showing that the United States has never stood entirely alone on matters of violence, rebellion, and political conflict (26). Terrorism is not only generic to Muslim extremist. It is safe to say terrorism in America started before we became a nation. Many earlier types of violence lend themselves to an intuitive link with the concept of terror. Massacres of Native Americans, for instance, were violent, political, planned, communicative, and carried out beyond the auspices of the formal state, the basic criteria used by the terrorism scholar Bruce Hoff man in his attempt to pin down a definition. For a nation born of revolution and guerrilla warfare, an equally compelling starting point might be the War of Independence. Perhaps George Washington, was America’s first terrorist leader. At the very least, as Fellman points out, it seems inappropriate to leave out the trajectory of political violence that led from John Brown to the Civil War to the brutal clashes of Reconstruction. Ann Larabee has argued that the Civil War produced both the technology and the training that made postwar terrorism possible. The relationship between war and terrorism remains one of the most promising, complexes, and understudied areas in the developing historiography (Patriot Act, 2001). Whether or not the rise of anarchist and revolutionary violence in the latter half of the nineteenth century marks the sole starting point, it does seem to constitute a significant turning point in the United States as elsewhere. The mid-nineteenth century brought the rise of dynamite and other modern explosives, technological innovations that improved the ability of revolutionaries to...
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