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The History Of Modern Terrorism

When we talk about terrorism we usually think of drones, suicide bombers or some other kind of technological weaponry, but its roots go back much further.

In the United States, terrorism existed in its founding, as the settlers cleared Indians out of the way to make room for more Europeans. That's according to Martin Miller, a professor of Slavic and Eurasian Studies at Duke University and author of "The Foundations of Modern Terrorism."

"The evidence is extraordinarily clear... that this was a savage, state-run exit of an entire population," he told Host Frank Stasio on The State of Things. "I hesitate to use the term genocide because I don't think that was the purpose of the U.S. Government."

Most recently, we think of terrorism in regard to events like the attacks of September 11, 2001. Miller said that oftentimes, the governments trying to combat terrorists like Al-Qaeda, end up using similar tactics.

"Agents of violence in government, here and there, have at different time periods engaged in pretty much the same violence," he said.

Lynchings during the Jim Crow era also characterize the type of violence that is terrorist in nature, though often unrecognized as such by history.

Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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