In 1814, British troops marched on Washington, DC, intent on striking a blow against the capital city during the War of 1812. The first public building they encountered was the unfinished Capitol. A feature of eight videos on the US Capitol’s website describes what the Capitol looked like at that time, how the British attempted to destroy it, and how their actions shaped the future of the building.
America’s seat of government has endured bombings, a presidential assassination attempt, and even destruction by foreign forces. There have also been attacks from inside—including a near-fatal attack on one lawmaker by another. National Geographic provides a brief look at the threats to the Capitol over the years.
The events of January 6, 2021, may generate feelings of fear or anger in students. Teachers can create a space, whether in the physical classroom or on a remote learning platform, for students to express discomfort and feelings of anger or distress that may emerge from discussing these events.
On January 6, 2021, the nation witnessed a grave breach of its democratic traditions. For the first time in American history, supporters of the losing presidential candidate forcibly disrupted the official counting of electoral votes. PBS NewsHour Extra has provided a classroom resource that includes three activities to teach about the breach of the US Capitol.
January 6, 2021, will certainly be a day for the history books. For all teachers grappling with how to address the day’s events with students, this Teaching Idea from Facing History and Ourselves is designed to help guide an initial classroom reflection on the insurrection at the United States Capitol on that day.