The Assault on Democracy from Historical Perspectives: The January 6 Insurrection One Year Later

Historians in the News
tags: democracy, authoritarianism, January 6


Since the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, it has been clear to most Americans that we are witnessing one of the greatest assaults on democracy in modern U.S. history. Yet, contemporary reports often fail to situate these threats to democratic practice in a wider historical lens. This session, featuring some of our nation’s leading U.S. historians, will orient recent social and political events and actions that have attacked U.S. democracy into deeper analysis informed by historical research and practice. The links between the January 6th insurrection and the growth of the white power movement in the United States continue to frame our recent politics, as well as the perceived threat of the growing empowerment of people of color in the United States. Acts of physical violence are one product of that perceived threat, including those against women and the elderly in the Asian American community, even as they also reflect longstanding xenophobic sentiments in U.S. history. Another is the critical need to understand the persistence of anti-democratic ideologies in the Republican Party since the New Deal to place current voter suppression legislation into proper perspective. The mobilization of African American and other people of color voters in the 2020/2021 elections have raised the stakes of U.S. democracy in the future and foretold the continued battles over the very definition of the United States and its people.

Chair & Moderator: George J. Sánchez, University of Southern California

Panelists: Anthea Hartig, National Museum of American History; Clarence Lang, The Pennsylvania State University; Erika Lee, University of Minnesota; Nancy MacLean, Duke University

Read entire article at Organization of American Historians

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