With insight and originality, Michael Fellman argues that terrorism, in various forms, has been a constant and driving force in American history. In part, this is due to the nature of American republicanism and Protestant Christianity, which he believes contain a core of moral absolutism and self-righteousness that perpetrators of terrorism use to justify their actions. Fellman also argues that there is an intrinsic relationship between terrorist acts by non-state groups and responses on the part of the state; unlike many observers, he believes that both the action and the reaction constitute terrorism. Fellman's compelling narrative focuses on five key episodes: John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry; terrorism during the American Civil War, especially race warfare and guerrilla warfare; the organized 'White Line' paramilitary destruction of Reconstruction in Mississippi; the Haymarket Affair and its aftermath; and, the Philippine-American war of 1899-1902. In an epilogue, he applies this history to illuminate the Bush-Cheney administration's use of terrorism in the so-called war on terror.
In the "Name of God and Country" demonstrates the centrality of terrorism in shaping America even to this day.
Michael Fellman is professor of history emeritus at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia. Among other books, he is author of Inside War: The Guerrilla Conflict in Missouri During the American Civil War, Citizen Sherman: A Life of William T. Sherman, and The Making of Robert E. Lee, and co-author of This Terrible War: The Civil War and Its Aftermath.