Photograph by JOE MARQUETTE/AFP via Getty Images
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A gunman opened fire in the U.S. Capitol in 1995, killing two Capitol Police officers who were defending the building. The pair were the first private citizens to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda.

HistoryAmerican Insurrection

The U.S. Capitol’s turbulent history of bombings, assassination attempts, and violence

The storming of the U.S. Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters is unprecedented. But the building has seen its share of skirmishes.


Today's takeover of the U.S. Capitol by a mob supporting President Trump is unprecedented. But America’s seat of government has endured bombings, a presidential assassination attempt, and even its destruction by foreign forces. There have also been attacks from inside—including a near-fatal attack on one lawmaker by another.

Here’s a brief look at the threats to the Capitol over the years:

1814: British forces burn the U.S. Capitol

The U.S. Capitol was still under construction when it was torched by British troops who had invaded Washington, D.C. in one of the most famous skirmishes of the War of 1812. The troops “ignited a giant bonfire of furniture” in the Hall of the House of Representatives that was so intense it destroyed Giuseppe Franzoni's life-size marble statue of Liberty. Another bonfire was set in the Supreme Court Chamber, which at the time was housed in the Capitol building.

Upon surveying the damage, several members of Congress called to move the federal government to Philadelphia or another city that they thought might be more secure. (Ironically, Washington, D.C. itself had been established...

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