'No similarities': Alverno College history professor says U.S. has never experienced anything like Capitol riot
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – Following the events at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, January 6, a local professor is looking to the past for any historical comparisons in U.S. history.
Alverno College history professor John Savagian says there is nothing in U.S. history similar to what happened on January 6.
“There’s no similarities to the storming of the Capitol by its own citizens, not in this country,” Savagian said.
Savagian talked about the War of 1812 when the British invaded Washington D.C. and said it isn’t comparable because that was an external enemy doing it out of spite.
“The people who attacked the Capitol yesterday, when you were listening to them talking about what they were doing and we saw what they were doing, they didn’t really have a clue what they were doing,” he said. “They sat in chairs, it was very symbolic I guess you would say, ‘we’re here and we’ve managed to show you our strength’, that’s very different than an army coming in that’s coming in to wreak havoc on an entire country.”
Savagian also discussed past incidents of violence inside the U.S. Capitol building like a bombing or shootings, but said nothing is like citizens coming in and disrupting a legislative process.
“I think that’s more important, not that they got inside the building and destroyed a couple of statues, but that they actually stopped the work of the people and that’s what democracy is all about,” he said. “That’s what I was most upset about, was that there was an actual stoppage in the work of the people, which I guess is what they wanted to do.”
When asked how Savagian will teach his future students about what happened, the professor said they will look at case studies from around the world because this is not what is supposed to happen in democracies.