American Extremism explains how at the heart of the politics practiced by the militia movement is an attempt to define the nature of 'Americanism', and shows how militia members employ the myths, metaphors and perceived historical lessons of the American Revolution, the constitutional settlement and America's frontier experience to do so. Mulloy argues that militia members'search for the 'authority of history' leads them to a position best characterized as 'ahistorical historicism', in which political interests in the present are given greater weight than the demands of a historically accurate reading of the past.
With discussion of such recent events as the Oklahoma City bombing, Waco and the September 11th attacks alongside topical issues including militia conspiracy theories and the origins of Americans' right to keep and bear arms, this work provides the deepest understanding to date of the American militia movement.
Table of ContentsPreface 1. Introducing the Militia Movement (i) America in the 1990s: The Paranoid Decade? (ii) Gun Control, and the Sieges of Ruby Ridge and Waco 2. Approaching Extremism: Theoretical Perspectives on the Far Right in American History (i) Defining Extremism (ii) Status Politics and Status Anxiety: Questions of Causation (iii) Style: The Characteristics of Extremists (iv) A Critique: Towards an Alternative Approach 3. Conversations with the Dead: The Militia Movement and American History (i) Inheriting the Past (ii) Contesting the Past (iii) Accessing the Past (iv) The Authority of History 4. A Revolutionary History (i) Citizen Soldiers, Militias and the American War of Independence (ii) The Rhetoric of Revolutionary Action (iii) A Sacred Text: The Militia Movement and the Declaration of Independence (iv) Conclusion: A Continuing Inspiration 5. A Republican Tradition (i) The Lost Republic (ii) Reconstructing Republicanism: Basic Principles (iii) The Limited Republic (iv) Resisting Tyranny: Militias and the Second Amendment (v) Conclusion: A Republican Legacy? 6. A Frontier Nation (i) Going West: Militias, Independence and the American Frontier (ii) Fighting Talk: Militias and the Ideology of Vigilantism (iii) The Homestead Ethic (iv) No Duty To Retreat: The Militia Movement and the Code of the West (v) Remembering the Alamo: Militias and the History of Texas (vi) Conclusion: The Weird West? 7. Conclusion: History and Conspiracy Selected Bibliography