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Defining Terrorism

Updated: Jul 10, 2021

I have studied terrorism for many years.  In fact, I wrote my Master’s dissertation on US counterterrorism policy in 1991.  Although I have not kept up on the research, I still continue to study terrorism.  Terrorism originally had a positive connotation during the French Revolution.  Terrorism was used by the state to evoke fear upon the enemies of the Revolution.  The terrorism of the revolutionaries spiraled out of control, the revolutionaries were terrorizing themselves.  The Great Terror as we know it today ended with the execution of Robespierre and as a result terrorism evolved into a negative term.  The word terrorism is a value-laden term which make it difficult to define it objectively.

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