How history books will include the US Capitol attack

By America Lopez-Santiago
February 14, 2021

During the past year, many historical moments took place. Many of these events are forming our history and our future. These moments that we have all endured are going to be in our history books. 

USA TODAY newspaper with story of the U.S. Capitol attack on the front cover. Photo by little plant on Unsplash.

On Jan. 6, 2021, a mob attacked the U.S. Capitol. This attack was unlike the other protests that have taken place at the Capitol. This mob was formed by former President Trump’s supporters and called the protest “Save America.” This protest took place while Congress planned to count the Electoral College votes to confirm who won the 2020 election. The Capitol was forced to go under lockdown once the protestors forced themselves into the building. The Washington Post is calling Jan. 6, 2021, one of America’s ugliest days that will go down in history. 

“It was the first-time insurrectionists breached the capital building and threatened the operation of American government if not democracy itself,” Dr. James Hedtke, history and political science professor, said. “This did not happen even during our most tumultuous time, the Civil War.”

As college textbooks become more digitized, it has become easier for authors to update history books and add historical moments. Many believe that it will only take a couple of months before seeing the attack in history books. However, some authors might take a bit more time to write about the event. Authors will try to comprehend what happened and why it happened instead of just writing the facts, but this depends on the writer and how fast they want to add the attack into textbooks. 

The U.S. Capitol with cation tape around. Photo by Andy Feliciotti on Unsplash.

For some authors, one of the most crucial parts of the attack is that the former president directly encouraged and supported an armed attack. Trump wanted to stop the legitimate election of Joe Biden, who defeated Trump in the 2020 election. 

“The attack was an incredibly historical event because it was the work of white privilege at play.” Aiyana Martinez, senior English major, said. “The Capitol was attacked, and there were no signs of police personnel arresting and stopping the riot.”

People believe it’s essential to include the attack in history books because it’s a significant issue that includes political leaders that were endangered due to the former president’s encouragement. 

Picture of Congress hiding from protesters during the U.S. Capitol attack was on the front cover of the Globe and Mail. Photo by Can Pac Swire via Flickr. CC BY-NC 2.0

“The content within textbooks regarding the insurrection at the Capitol should be the start of a conversation, rather than the end of it,” Daisy Martin, director of the History & Civics Project at the University of California, Santa Cruz, said.

In textbooks, one will see different perspectives on what took place on Jan.6. History is about interpretation and how the author wants to write about the attack. This also means that people will call the events that took place something else, whether it’s a terrorist attack or a protest. However, it depends on the teacher and professors on how they want to teach their students about the event. 

“This is a historical event because it shows how we as a society have turned a blind eye when it has to do with something that we have now normalized,” Jesus Santiago, a medical student at John Hopkins University, said. “This showed how law enforcement treated two types of protests in two different manners. One standing by and the other which had more repercussions.”

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America Lopez-Santiago

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