Thesis Title

Patriots Underground, Online: a Rhetorical Study of the Militia Movement's Use of the American Revolution

Date of Graduation

Fall 1999

Degree

Master of Arts in Communication

Department

Communication

Committee Chair

John Fritch

Subject Categories

Communication

Abstract

Citizen militias rose to the forefront of public attention in 1995, after investigation of the Oklahoma City bombing revealed that the accused were inspired by militia literature. This study examines the rhetoric of the militia movement, particularly its use of the political myth of the American Revolution. A study of militia movement web pages reveals that militia rhetors reinterpret the myth of the American Revolution in two stages: first, the federal current government oppresses its citizens, an activity which robs the government of its legitimacy; and second, the Founders believed that an illegitimate government should be abolished. Using rhetorical strategies like vagueness, reliance on outside authority, and citation of examples, the militia movement rhetors hope to persuade readers to resist a government that takes advantage of its citizens. In this way, militia rhetors can continue to love their country while fearing their government.

Copyright

© LeAnn M Brazeal

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Dissertation/Thesis

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