What Does It Mean?
An insurrection is an act of revolting against civil authority or an established government.
The Insurrection Act
- Legislation signed into law on March 3, 1807.
- Gives U.S. Presidents the ability to deploy the active-duty military and federalized National Guard to quell an insurrection.
- Originated when Aaron Burr, Thomas Jefferson’s vice-president during his second term, plotted to raise his own army and establish a dynasty in the Louisiana Territory or Mexico.
- Has been amended several times.
Historical Uses of the Insurrection Act
- 1808 – Used by President Thomas Jefferson when American merchant ships disobeyed the trade embargo with the British.
- 1831 – Used by President Andrew Jackson for slave rebellion in Virginia.
- 1861 – Used by President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.
- 1957 – Used by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to enforce desegregation of public schools in Arkansas.
- 1967 – Used by President Lyndon Johnson to control a confrontation between the police and protesters who opposed police brutality and institutional racism.
- 1968 – Used during protests after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
- 1989 – Used in response to post-Hurricane Hugo looting.
- 1992 – Used by President George H.W. Bush to suppress the riots when four police officers were acquitted in the Rodney King beating.
2021 – Attack on the U.S. Capitol
After President Trump’s repeated denial of losing the 2020 election to Joe Biden, his faithful followers marched on January 6, 2021, to the Capitol to stop the counting of the electoral votes. This insurrection resulted in at least five deaths.
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