U.S. Capitol Once Again Scene of Violence

I think it's safe to say that every living, breathing American knows what happened recently at the U.S. Capitol.

Some who gathered to protest the results of the November presidential election stormed the building. While Congress was in session.

They clashed with Capitol police outside, scaled walls and broke windows. They then crashed through locked doors and fought with police on the inside. And vandalized property.

After the carnage ended, five people were dead. Including a police officer. The injured included more than 50 officers. At least 70 people were arrested.

Many Democrats and some Republicans accused President Donald Trump of inciting the rioters. They called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.

Trump condemned the "heinous attack" on the Capitol. He then promised a "smooth, orderly and seamless transition" to the new administration.

'Unlike Any I Have Ever Experienced'

Steven Sund is chief of the United States Capitol Police. Here's what he said about the mayhem.

"The violent attack on the U.S. Capitol was unlike any I have ever experienced in my 30 years in law enforcement here in Washington, D.C."

Of course, this was not the first time the Capitol was the center of violence. This building has been the site of fire, break-ins and fights. Plus shootings and bombings. More on that in a moment.

But first a little history regarding this historic building. It's where Senate and House of Representatives members meet to pass the country's laws. And where presidents deliver their annual State of the Union addresses.

Construction Began in 1793

On September 18, 1793, President George Washington laid the cornerstone for the building. Construction continued for a number of years.

The design was based on the 19th-century neoclassical style. It was inspired by ancient Roman and Greek architecture.

Congress first began using the building in 1800. That's when the federal government relocated from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C.

After considerable expansion, today the Capitol covers more than 1.5 million square feet. Included are more than 600 rooms.

British Burn Capitol and White House

The first time the Capitol was the scene of violence was during the War of 1812. After U.S. troops set fire to a capital in colonial Canada, the British retaliated.

In 1814, they burned federal buildings in Washington. Including the Capitol and the White House.

There was plenty of damage at the Capitol. Enough to lead some Congress members to recommend relocating the federal government.

Instead, the building was repaired. As more states were admitted to the Union, the Capitol was expanded. That was to accommodate the increased number of lawmakers.

A Caning in 1856

Prior to the Civil War, the issue of slavery caused many disagreements. Especially during congressional sessions. Some of them turned violent.

Perhaps the most infamous occurred in 1856. That's when pro-slavery Representative Preston Brooks beat anti-slavery Senator Charles Sumner with a cane.

During a lengthy speech, Sumner of Massachusetts had criticized South Carolina Senator Andrew Butler. Butler's cousin, Brooks, beat Sumner nearly unconscious before others stopped him.

This was hardly an isolated incident. In her book, The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to the Civil War, author Joanne Freeman identified more than 70 violent occurrences among congressmen.

Fistfights, Gun Threats and a Fatality

Slavery was the contentious subject that sparked additional disputes within the Capitol.

Approximately 30 congressmen were involved in a fistfight. It occurred in the House of Representatives in 1858. The melee began when a Southern lawmaker grabbed a Northern lawmaker by the throat.

Two years later, pro-slavery congressmen used pistols and canes to threaten an anti-slavery congressman. It happened as the anti-slavery congressman spoke on the House floor against slavery.

In 1890, Louisville Times reporter Charles Kincaid shot Kentucky Congressman William Taulbee. Taulbee fell on the steps of the Capitol. He died from his injuries 11 days later.

Gunfire Erupts

A newspaper reported that the incident marked the first time a gunshot was heard in the Capitol. Unfortunately, it would not be the last time.

In 1954, four Puerto Rican Americans fired guns in the House of Representatives. They injured five Congressmen in a dispute over independence for the U.S. territory.

Special agent John Gibson and Officer Jacob Chestnut were shot and killed in 1998. The shooter had run through metal detectors at the door.

Five years ago, Capitol police shot and injured a mentally unstable man. He was wielding a BB gun at the Capitol Visitor Center.

Bombs Explode

Bombs have also been used at the Capitol. Mostly by disgruntled individuals.

A group calling itself the Weather Underground claimed responsibility for a 1971 bombing. They said it was in protest against U.S.-supported bombing of Laos during the Vietnam War. No one was injured, but the explosion caused $300,000 in damages.

Another bomb detonated on the second floor of the Senate wing of the Capitol in 1983. Again, no one was hurt, but $250,000 in damages resulted.

Seven people from the Armed Resistance Unit were arrested in connection with that attack. They claimed to be protesting U.S. military actions in Grenada and Lebanon.


  • Thomas E Fair - April 24, 2022

    The attempted insurrection on Jan 6th was announced, planned and armed for. But for the Grace of God it was not completely successful. Those that wrap themselves in the flag or wave the Bible to tout their patriotism and faith are closeted.

  • Cassandra Laurene Bennett - January 14, 2021

    I dare not speak with rose colored glasses on, but I say this in humility, to the blood of the cross that was shed for us ALL!

    As I do my own inventory and reflection I confess my sins to God before men. Forgive me for my prejudices. Forgive our nation for its prejudices. I know that prejudices aren’t new to you God, it was demonstrated even as Jesus went about his ministry in Samaria.

    Help us oh God to see shades of only gray (black + white = gray) as we move forward in YOU! Tender our hearts one towards another! Let the events of yesterday including what happened on the U. S. Capital become the common thread for us to pray ‚ÄúTOGETHER‚ÄĚ!

    If we expect to be a part of the 1st resurrection over in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17‚Ķ pay close attention to v.17 which says ‚Ä̂Ķthen we which are alive and remain shall be caught up ‚ÄúTOGETHER‚ÄĚ with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air‚Ķ‚ÄĚ

    There’s ABSOLUTELY NO WAY! We (ME included) can expect to reign with Christ if we can’t live together here on Earth. Be honest with God and yourselves about what’s in your heart, confess that thing or things, and know that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

  • Larry C Berryman - January 13, 2021

    I enjoyed your articale. It goes to show that most people have a short memory and forget
    how we became a great nation. We did not wake up one day and it just WAS.
    Current event become history. I pray that these events help to get this country stronger.

  • Jon Dilks - January 13, 2021

    I thank you for the background information on the capitol and its events. I would like to say that if more people would put the God of this country and the world back into their lives, we wouldn’t be having all the issues we have. It is the pride, greed, lusts of the flesh, and willful refusal to accept responsibility of our actions that are the modern disease of the spirit of mankind. The events transpiring in todays world are those that have been prophesied of throughout history, and it will only get worse. If we as a people want to enjoy what God has provided for us, we must repent and turn to God with full purpose of heart. Keep up the good work patriots. Much appreciated.

  • kendra - January 13, 2021

    I was unaware there has been so much violence at the capital building before. this article was informing.

  • Terry Weingand - January 13, 2021

    I am a Christian…if you are not, you may want to move on to the next post. I am also a conservative, pro-life, pro-Constitution, pro-2nd Amendment and ANTI-SOCIALIST. As I said…move on!

    I appreciate your recap of our Capitol’s history!! It is difficult to find in an honestly historical portrayal.

    I do not believe that President Trump intended to ‚Äúincite‚ÄĚ ANY kind of ‚Äúviolent riot,‚ÄĚ and I will not speak to the violence that has rocked our Dem cities this past year‚Ķboth Republicans and Dems have talked it into the ground.

    I simply want to encourage all who are true Constitutional freedom lovers to stand strong, in every peaceful way possible, against the socialism that is coming to destroy the Constitution and our freedom and this most amazing Republic.

    God is with us…and God bless you all!!

  • Craig Bearden - January 13, 2021

    I believe that the Trump supporters, the true Patriots, did not instigate this disturbance at the Capitol. I believe that it was a group of anarchist that invaded the Capitol buildings. Too many of them were dressed in protective gear. You don’t see Trump supporters parading around in protective gear, like they are looking for a fight. I believe this was orchestrated by the Left to gin up hate and discontent against the President and his supporters.
    I hope every RINO that turned on our president gets beat in the primaries the next time they come up for election. Its time for term limits and time for the RINOs to go. It may also be a time to flush the Republican party and start a new Patriot Party.

  • gina carr - January 13, 2021

    I hate that all that happened at the capital. I just want peace for our nation. Im 100% against socialism. Im a patriot for sure. God bless the USA.

  • gregory L workman - January 13, 2021

    Prayer is the way! Fear it’s a sign of the times. I’m a Viet Nam vet. Our Nation is being weighed in the balance. My God not find use lacking.

  • Teresa A Howe - January 13, 2021

    The history you have outlined here has so much more meaning today for me, than when I learned about our government at 9 years old in 4th grade! Being able to express dissenting viewpoints peaceably is part of what sets America apart from the rest of the world. Let’s pray we can achieve communication without violence in the future, once the fundamental evil in our society has been purged!

  • Deborah - January 13, 2021

    I want to know is there a site on the net or another means where we can get true news and keep in touch of other patriots so all of us can figure out what to do and know what is going down. I have 5 kids and 7 young grandbabies and i want us to keep our Constitution. Freedoms, rights so they can grow up without the fear of suppressions and to go after their dreams of a good and happy life. God bless us all and that we keep believing in our beautiful Country we call home. Let me know what we can do God bless you 4patriots!!

  • Richard Roberts - January 11, 2021

    I think its awesome y’all are informing the American public on the history of our government. Especially so they can see that what has just happened is not just an isolated incident. Its history in a sense reoccurring as it always seem to do. Yes its not always a pretty picture, yet it is what happens when our people get fed up with the operations of the people who are suppose to be governing our people for the good of all of us and cail everyone of us. People need to start truly seeing thru the illusions our government portrays as what they say is to help us all.

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