While there are many definitions of domestic terrorism, it is largely characterized as terrorism in which the perpetrator targets his/her own country. Also called homegrown terrorism, domestic terrorism is defined by the U.S. State Department as “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.” The two largest categories of domestic terrorism (DT) or domestic violent extremism (DVE) are: racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism; and anti-government or anti-authority extremism.
Defining Documents in American History: Domestic Terrorism & Extremism, offers in-depth analysis of eighty-seven documents, including diary excerpts, speeches, court rulings, legal texts, legislative acts, essays, newspaper and magazine articles, and interviews. These selections help define events concerning acts of domestic terrorism and extremism, and how those events have helped shape history. The first volume of this set focuses on the early ruptures in the body politic, the history of anti-black violence and reactions, and the trials and tribulations of Native Americans. The second volume is dedicated to the topics of religious, ethnic, and other forms of hatred, anarchy, war, and leftist radicalism, 9/11 and domestic terrorism, and recent far-right terrorism and extremism.
The material is organized into nine sections, and each section begins with a brief introduction that examines the politics and policies of the United States through a variety of historical documents.
- Early Ruptures in the Body Politic includes documents that track the account of Shay’s Rebellions, the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Alien and Sedition Acts, and the court case State v. Huntly.
- A Long History of Anti-Black Violence—and Reaction includes documents regarding the Confessions of Nat Turner, South Carolina’s Declaration of Causes of Secession, an Account of the Lincoln Assassination, Letter to Senator Joseph C. Abbott on the Ku Klux Klan, the court case United States v. Cruikshank, and Ida B. Wells’ speech “Lynching: Our National Crime.”
- Native American Trials and Tribulations begins with the court case Worcester v. Georgia, then proceeds into Account of the Sand Creek Massacre, Lakota Accounts of the Massacre at Wounded Knee, and the American Indian Movement—National Operational Goal.
- Religious, Ethnic, and Other Hatreds pulls from documents such Juan Nepomuceno Seguin’s memoir A Foreigner in My Own Land, Pablo de la Guerra’s speech “On Seizing Land from Native Californians,”, Meir Kahane and the Jewish Defense League, a Letter of Protest regarding the Treatment of Undocumented Immigrants, and an interview with Special Agent Chris Swecker for FBI Background on Centennial Olympic Park Bomber.
- Anarchy, War, and Leftist Radicalism provides important documents the Espionage Act of 1917, the court case Schenck v. United States, the Testimony of J. Edgar Hoover before the House Un-American Activities Committee, the Weathermen Manifesto, and Excerpts from the Unabomber Manifesto.
- 9/11 and Domestic Terrorism highlights more resources, such as The 1993 World Trade Center Bombing: Report and Analysis, President George W. Bush’s Statement to the Nation on 9/11, a report on FBI Updates on Investigation into Boston Marathon Bombing, a news article covering the San Bernardino Shootings Investigated as Terrorism, and a new story covering The Orlando Nightclub Shooting.
- Recent Far-Right Terrorism and Extremism includes the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial Prayer Service Address by President Bill Clinton, President Donald Trump’s Remarks on the “Unite the Right” Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, a press release regarding Man Charged with Hate Crimes for El Paso Wal-Mart Shooting, a Summary of Terrorism Threat to the U.S. Homeland, and Remarks by President Biden One Year after the January 6 Assault on the U.S. Capitol.
Each Historical Document is supported by a critical essay, written by historians and teachers, that includes a Summary Overview, Defining Moment, About the Author, Document Analysis, and Essential Themes. An important feature of each essay is a close reading of the primary source that develops broader themes, such as the author’s rhetorical purpose, social or class position, point of view, and other relevant issues. Each essay also includes a Bibliography and Additional Reading section that provides suggestions for further readings and research.
Appendixes in this book include:
- Chronological List which arranges all documents by year;
- Web Resources, an annotated list of websites that offer valuable supplemental resources;
- Bibliography lists of helpful articles and books for further study
About the Series
The Defining Documents series provides in-depth commentary and analysis on the most important primary source documents in the United States and the world. The Defining Documents series is perfect for students, those researching a particular era, or anyone interested in world history. Visit www.salempress.com for more information about additional titles in this series.
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