Fear Tactics: A History Of Domestic Terrorism
Coming up on Spotlight on Monday, April 29 at 8:00 p.m.
On September 16, 1920, a bomb exploded on Wall Street as workers took their lunch break. The explosion killed 38 people and injured hundreds. The targets? What today we’d call “the one percent” — powerful financiers who ran J.P. Morgan & Co. The Wall Street attack remained the deadliest terrorist bombing in the US until Oklahoma City in 1995. But at the time, people saw it as just one more bombing in a long string of anarchist attacks that historian Beverly Gage calls America's “First Age of Terror.”
Gage and the American History Guys explore the origins of domestic terrorism in the United States and the question of what kinds of people and movements have been identified as “terrorist.” The program traces the relationship between “terror” and the state; considers lynching as a tactic of terrorism; and takes a look at a little known and unfinished Jack London novel, in which the author grapples with the question: When, if ever, is terrorism justified?