The Capitol Attack of 1861

February 13, 1861. The city of Washington DC is waiting. Bracing itself. For weeks, there have been threats that this day is going to get violent because pro-slavery voters feel the recently elected president, Abraham Lincoln, is a threat to their way of life. Today, Lincoln is supposed to be affirmed when the electoral votes are counted in the US Capitol building, but on the morning of the count, hundreds of anti-Lincoln rioters storm the building. Their goal: to stop the electoral count. What happened when a mob of anti-Lincoln rioters tried to take over the US Capitol? And how did American democracy handle the test?

Thank you to our guest, Ted Widmer, distinguished lecturer at the Macaulay Honors College at CUNY and author of "Lincoln on the Verge: Thirteen Days to Washington."


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