General Article Classifying terrorism

Topic Selected: Terrorism
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Defining terrorism

There is no globally accepted definition of terrorism. Most scholarly texts devoted to the study of terrorism contain a section, chapter, or chapters devoted to a discussion of how difficult it is to define the term. In fact, various US government agencies employ different definitions of the term. The most widely accepted definition is probably that put forward by the US State Department, which defines terrorism as 'premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience' [Title 22 of the United States Code, Section 2656f(d)].


The word 'terrorism' was coined during France's Reign of Terror in 1793-94. Originally, the leaders of this systematised attempt to weed out 'traitors' among the revolutionary forces praised terror as the best way to defend liberty, but as the Revolution progressed, the word soon came to be associated with state viol...

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