1980s: Right Wing Terrorism on the Rise
The radicalism of the 1960s and 1970s was followed by the conservatism of the Reagan era, in mainstream America. Political violence too, took a turn to the right. In the 1980s, white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups such as Aryan Nation saw a resurgence, often among working class white males, who perceived themselves as displaced by women, African Americans, Jews, and immigrants who benefited from new civil rights legislation.
Terrorism in the name of Christianity also surged in the 1980s and 1990s. Radical groups and individuals committed to violent action to stop abortion were among the most visible. Michael Bray, head of a group called the Army of God spent four years in prison for his abortion clinic bombings in the 1980s.
In 1999, the most lethal act of domestic violence to date occurred when Timothy McVeigh bombed the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people. McVeigh's stated motivation--revenge against a federal government that he viewed as intrusive and oppressive, was an extreme version of more mainstream desire among many for a smaller government. Dean Harvey Hicks, a citizen angry over his taxes, for example, created the one-man terrorist group "Up the IRS, Inc." and tried to bomb IRS locations.
Learn more about: Michael Bray, Abortion Clinic Bomber| Dr. Barnett Slepian assassination | Up the IRS, Inc.
21st century: Global terrorism comes to America
The September 11, 2001 attacks by Al Qaeda continue to dominate the story of terrorism in the United States in the 21st century. The attacks were the first major act of global terrorism in U.S. territory. It was the culminating event of a decade of rising extremist, militant religious sentiment in many quarters of the world.
Learn more about: The events of September 11, 2001.