The Legitimacy of the Modern Militia

Jonathan Huber, Ouachita Baptist University


On May 16, 2001, barring any last minute court appeals, Timothy Mc Veigh will be executed for his role in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. He along with thousands of other Americans who have joined private armies, known as militia, to fight the American government share a common belief that the American government is corrupt at its core and actions such as this one are at the very least patriotic. To most Americans, however, acts such as the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building are not only terroristic, but demonstrate the need for the American government to crack down on these type of organizations to prevent similar atrocities. Is there any justification for the existence of militia groups in the United States, even though most Americans deplore their actions and ideals? This paper will examine the historical use of the militia in the United States and its modem adaptation of militia heritage as well as several different types of militias and recent events that have helped this topic to emerge to the forefront of current discourse.