less than 1 minute read


Defining Terrorism, Terrorism And Law, Explaining Terrorism, The Future Of Terrorism, Bibliography

Although the terrors of war and criminal violence have been known since the dawn of human existence, the concept of terrorism as a form of political violence originated in le terreur of the French Revolution. Initially a word for the brutal excesses of a revolutionary government (some forty thousand persons were guillotined), by the late nineteenth century "terrorism" referred almost exclusively to the antigovernment violence of groups such as the Russian Narodnaya Volya ("Will of the People"). Since then, the designation of particular groups and actions as terrorist has varied with political assumptions and aims.

To defenders of government, almost any violence by opponents may be defined as terrorism. To opponents, virtually any governmental effort to restrain or repress opposition may be defined as terrorism. Whether "oppositional" or "state" terrorism, the distinction itself is embedded in a snarl of issues raised by the intersection of ideological and analytical concerns.


Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal Law