“History Offers Answers in the New Debate Over Trump v. the Constitution”

Historian Joshua Zeitz in POLITICO Magazine offers some interesting historical context for the current debate on whether section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment applies to Trump. In particular, he describes the House of Representatives session when ex-Confederates turned up seeking to be sworn in as new members of Congress. His conclusion:

” … the history behind the 14th Amendment proves its general applicability. Conspiring, whether by violence or coercion, to overturn the outcome of an election is precisely what Confederate officers and officeholders did. They didn’t like the outcome of the 1860 election, so they tried to dismantle the United States, first by walking away, then by force.

“That was what Section 3 called ‘insurrection or rebellion’ against the United States government. It’s hard to argue that the same thing didn’t happen in the aftermath of the 2020 election. For symbolic measure, insurrectionists carried the Confederate battle flag into the Capitol on Jan. 6, marching in lock step with an earlier generation of Americans who aspired to end our system of government. That it was a bungled attempt, and that it didn’t work, doesn’t make it different.”

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