NEW YORK — As we learn more about the insurrection at the Capitol Building — like who was involved and who has been arrested — there are new threats of violence in the coming days.
But what happened Jan. 6, was not sudden.
According to history professor and author Terry Bouton, it’s a movement that has been building for years.
Still, when he went to observe the protests that day with his wife, he was shocked.
“When I went, I was planning on seeing a moment in American democracy. I had no idea we were going to be seeing an insurrection,” he said.
The Connecticut native and professor of history at the University of Maryland teaches and writes about democracy, the Constitution, and the Revolutionary War.
In addition to the fringe militants dressed in fatigues and battle gear that stormed the Capitol Building, Bouton said he saw many regular looking people who talked about and prepared for violence. Many had obtained their ideology through online, cable news and social media sources.
“These folks were convinced that this was a revolution. They were hopped up on all kinds of conspiracy theories about you name it,” Bouton said. “A lot of the group who were there [thought] ‘this is 1776 and we are the revolutionaries.'”
But Bouton was quick to point out this is not 1776.
“A lot of these people who are protesting see this as the last gasp of basically what is white privilege and white supremacy,” he said. “Historically, one of the ways to think about this moment is to not take it as simply just a Donald Trump thing, but to take a longer approach.”
The insurrection at the Capitol, according to Bouton, could have a profound effect on the Republican party and what it will ultimately represent.