Anarchist Terrorism and American National Security, 1881-1903
Noonan, Alexander Peter. “Anarchist Terrorism and American National Security, 1881-1903”, Boston College, 2019. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:108596.
This dissertation examines the intersections of transnational anarchist terrorism, American foreign relations, and national security in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As such, the primary purpose is to examine how cultural concerns exert an influence over discussions of national security in the United States. In the face of an unprecedented wave of bombings and assassinations around the world, Americans made clear that anarchist terrorism was a dual menace. First, the actual threat of violence posed an external security problem that needed to be addressed. Government officials as well as private individuals debated the need to protect public officials, curtail press freedoms, punish anarchist crimes, and cooperate with other states to suppress anarchist violence. At the same time, however, many Americans expressed concern that by overreacting and making acceptable the passage of measures that would erode traditional values in the name of providing security, anarchist terrorism posed a second—greater—threat to American society. The failure to satisfactorily resolve those conflicting priorities, this dissertation argues, set the boundaries within which discussions over how to protect society from the threat of anarchist violence—both real and imagined—would take place.