Updated: Jan 26
Here are five primary sources from American history to read and discuss in the wake of the January 6, 2021 insurrection and attack on the U.S. Capitol:
George Washington's Newburgh Address to Officers of the Army, March 15, 1783 - When Washington learned army officers were plotting a mutiny against Congress for failing to provide them back pay and pensions, he delivered a speech sympathizing with their plight, but denouncing their actions.
The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions; Address by Abraham Lincoln before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, January 27, 1838 - Following the murder of abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy, Lincoln rebuked mob violence and vigilantism, stressed the importance of following the law, and warned against the rise of a tyrannical ruler.
The Crime Against Kanas Speech by Charles Sumner, 1856 - A few days after Sen. Sumner mocked South Carolina Sen. Andrew Butler, Congressman Preston Brooks beat Sumner with a cane on the floor of the Senate.
Thaddeus Stevens' Speech on Andrew Johnson's Impeachment, April 27, 1868 - After laying out the duties and responsibilities of the president, Stevens explains why Andrew Johnson's actions violate his oath to uphold the Constitution and faithfully execute the laws.
Brandenburg vs. Ohio (1969) - What are the limits of free speech in America? In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court held that the government can only punish inflammatory speech that is "directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action."