militia movement

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militia movement

in the United States, movement of radical paramilitary groups whose members generally accept highly conspiratorial interpretations of politics and view themselves as defenders of traditional freedoms against government oppression. Membership in such groups surged during the 1990s, peaking at some 900 groups and at least 40,000 members (some claims put the number of members at more than 250,000) by the middle of the decade. After Timothy McVeigh, a supporter of the militia movement's ideals, exploded a massive homemade bomb in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168 people, public revulsion and a government crackdown dramatically reduced the size and influence of the militia movement by the beginning of the 21st century.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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