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Terrorism In America


Terrorism has been defined as the methodical use of violence or the threat of violence to intimidate a government or people into giving in to the demands of the terrorists. These demands are usually political, ideological, religious or economical. Terrorism in America are acts of terrorism carried out within the national borders of the United States of America either by state or non-state actors.

The Early History of Terrorism in America

Terrorism in America predates the independence of the country from the British Empire. The staged rebellion in the Boston Tea Party has been recognized as an act of terrorism. The genesis of the staged rebellion in Boston had its origin in the decision of the British government to allow free trade for its East India Tea Company while at the same time applying tariffs to the tea imported into the American colonies. A group of clandestine pro-independence colonists called “The Sons of Liberty,’’ unlawfully boarded three cargo ships belonging to The East India Tea Company and threw forty five tons of tea into the Boston Harbor rather than allow them to land. This happened during the night on the 16th of December 1773. This act can be classified as an act of terrorism because it is the sabotage of property designed to popularize the political interests of a group of non-state actors and to coerce the governing power to accept these demands. This particular action brought to fore the yearnings of the colonists for independence from Britain and spurred the American Revolution which took place between 1775 and 1783.

The Nature of Terrorism in America

America is almost unique in the whole world as the only country that is heterogeneous yet accommodates the diverse elements of her population rather harmoniously. Yet there are underlying currents of conflict caused by a desire by separate groups or elements to determine who authentically is an American. Thus, terrorist attacks throughout the course of American history have been the result of a group with vested interests trying to further the cause of their group.

Terrorist Attacks in America by Type

The following attacks by type have occurred in the course of American history:

  1. Those organized by The Ku Klux Klan such as the massacre of 3000 freedmen and their Republican Party allies in about eight years of violence between 1865 and 1877
  2. Attacks by white supremacy groups
  3. Attacks by anti-government, anti-liberal and fascist extremists
  4. Attacks by Christian extremists
  5. Attacks by Islamic extremists
  6. Attacks by Jewish militant groups
  7. Attacks by black militant groups
  8. Attacks by Puerto Rican nationalists
  9. Attacks by Palestinian militant groups