Multiple models have been proposed to account for violence among ideological groups. To identify critical variables contributing to violent behavior in these groups, violent ideological groups were compared to relevant comparison groups. A historically based content analysis was conducted to assess these groups with respect to a number of variables examining leader, group, organizational, and environmental attributes held to influence violence. Discriminant analyses revealed that violent ideological groups differed from comparison groups with respect to leader extremism, group righteousness, organizational indoctrination, and environmental conflict and disruption. Regression analyses revealed that these discriminant functions predicted a number of notable violent and ideological criteria. The implications of these findings for understanding the origins of violence in ideological groups are discussed.