Far-Right Terrorism in the United States

In recent years, far-right terrorism has become a leading national security concern for the United States. However, this type of violence and the extremism that inspires it are far from new, as explored in the new book Gods, Guns, and Sedition: Far-Right Terrorism in America by CFR experts Bruce Hoffman and Jacob Ware. The far right has been gaining momentum for decades, helping to proliferate conspiracy theories and ideologies such as white supremacism, antisemitism, and anti-government extremism, which have fueled an increasing number of violent incidents. Formation of the Ku Klux Klan An editorial illustration by Thomas Nast in an 1874 publication of Harper’s Weekly shows members of the White League and the Ku Klux Klan clasping hands over a suffering African American family. Library of Congress The Civil War between the pro-slavery South and anti-slavery North ends, and disgruntled veterans of the South’s defeated Confederate Army form the first iteration of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) in Pulaski, Tennessee. Nathan Bedford Forrest, a former Confederate general, becomes the Klan’s first grand wizard, its national leader. The KKK’s declared goal is “to maintain the supremacy of the White Race in the Republic.” The first Klan was active from 1865 until 1871 and played a major role in the South’s postwar Reconstruction era, fighting to oppress the previously enslaved African American populace and engaging in acts of violence against them. 1865 1963 September 15, 1963 Bombing of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church The family of Carol Robertson, a fourteen-year-old African American girl killed in the bombing of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, mourn at her graveside during funeral services. The church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, is coordinated by the local chapter of the KKK, which by now is in its third iteration and popular across the South. The bombing of the predominately […]

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