History 374: Special Topics: Terrorism in America

Description of the Course: Throughout the 1990s, and into the twenty-first century, the United States has witnessed several cases of terrorism. The attack on September 11, 2001, represents the defining terrorist attack for Americans. But terrorism is not a new phenomenon in United States history. As a political tactic, cultural concept, and a law enforcement issue one can point to a significant number of terrorist incidents or case studies in United States history. This course will study the nature of terrorism, the motivation of terrorists and the tactics that terrorists used in various events and case studies of terrorism spanning the time frame from the Revolution until the attack on September 11, 2001. The course will take a primarily historical approach examining various examples of terrorism and political violence in their contemporary context and exploring the ways in which ideas about and uses of political violence have (or have not) changed over time. As we study each historical event, the lectures and discussions will focus on several key points: Why do individuals grow to hate each other to the point of using political violence? Why do people join groups dedicated to terrorism and become transformed by them? How do groups decide to use terror to achieve political ends? How do they justify their actions within their own historical circumstance? How does the government prevent challenges to its authority from terrorist groups? How do these actions shape political and legal institutions in the United States? And what, if any, tradition of terrorism can be said to exist in—or against—the United States?

Class Meeting Time: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 12:30 PM-1:20 PM

This course is taught by: Father William Sullivan

Saint Anselm College, a Benedictine, Catholic, Liberal Arts College
100 Saint Anselm Drive, Manchester, New Hampshire 03102

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Copyrighted by the History Department, Saint Anselm College, 2006.