Terrorism is the threat or use of systematic terror and unpredictable violence by an individual or group for the attainment of political aims. Whether terrorism is utilized for or in opposition to an established governmental authority, it is intended to influence the attitudes and behaviors of a target group wider than the immediate casualties of those terrorist acts.
Terrorism is employed by “political organizations with both rightist and leftist objectives, by nationalistic and ethnic groups, by revolutionaries, and by the armies and secret police of governments themselves” (Laquer 35). Despite contemporary opinions to the contrary, terrorism is not an advent of the 20th century. It has been practiced throughout history all over the world. History is laden with examples of how monarchs utilized terrorist actions to oppress their citizens. The term terrorism itself originates from the Reign of Terror (1793-1794) of the French Revolution, which was a tumultuous time of anarchy. Encouraging the virtue of revolution, leaders like Robespierre advocated the mass murder of aristocrats and nobility. Similarly, the Spanish Inquisition used arbitrary arrest, torture, and execution to punish what it viewed as religious heresy. Furthermore, defiant Southerners formed a terrorist organization called the Ku Klux Klan after the American Civil War (1861-65) to intimidate supporters of Reconstruction. Although it is much weaker today and can no longer lynch African-Americans like it used to, the Ku Klux Klan still attempts to terrorize minorities. In the latter half of the 19th century, adherents of anarchism adopted terrorism. At that stage of its evolution, terrorism, which consisted of assassinating persons in positions of power, was believed to be the best way to cause revolutionary political and social change (Wilkinson 49).
One clear example is the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand by a Serbian revolutionary who wanted complete...