A Brief History of Terrorism in The United States

Essay by istealpantsHigh School, 11th gradeA+, September 2006

download word file, 9 pages 5.0

Ever since the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 several new words have been created by or assimilated into everyday dialect. "Jihad", "Anthrax", and "Taliban" are now words which are part of every American's dialect, however, no word has reemerged more often than the one which describes all of the events of that day; "terrorism". While not a new word, it was not one thrown around all that commonly before 9/11, and as no word could better describe the actions of that day, it was the most popular word chosen by the media and the people for the acts of violence. The definition of terrorism is not a clearly described one however. The term terrorism comes from the French word "terrorisme", which is based on the Latin verb "terrere" (to frighten). The first use of the word dates to 1792, when the Jacobins came to power in France and initiated what we call the Reign of Terror and what the French call simply "La Terreur".

One of the first writers to use the word "terrorist" in English was Edmund Burke, an opponent of the French Revolution, who in 1795 described the revolutionaries with "those hell-hounds called terrorists are let loose on the people". Since then the term has been far generalized. Webster's Dictionary describes terrorism as "The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons". Throughout the course of United States history several acts of terrorism have been used to make political stands, inflict fear into people, one even considered to be a domino in the chain leading to the declaration of independence showing that one person's act of...