There’s been talk on social media that the FBI’s investigation on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and the chain of emails among the Clinton Foundation staff may have been a part of a coup d’etat to swing the 2016 presidential election in favor of the Republican nominee, Donald Trump.
In a real coup d’etat, some form of violence is usually involved. Merriam-Webstar defines the violent act as a sudden attempt by a group of people to take over the government or a sudden decisive exercise of force in politics. The only time one actually occurred in the United States, it resulted in plenty of bloodshed.
The first and only time a coup d’etat was successfully launched in the U.S. was on Nov. 10, 1898. It was led by white supremacist Democrats in Wilmington, North Carolina, against a newly elected biracial Republican government.
The sudden battle on Whilmgton’s City Hall on Nov. 10, which was led by Colonel Alfred Morre Waddell, was launched on the premise that the powerful white Democrats would take control of the government by violently forcing newly elected white and black government officials out of their positions. Although some of the leaders surrendered by either giving up their government titles or by fleeing the city, as many as 90 people were alleged to have been killed during the coup. There are no official records stating exactly how many people died during the coup.
Historians have cited minor attempts at coup d’etats since then, including the days between President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s November 1932 election and his inauguration in March 1933, when right-winged bankers suggested staging a coup to prevent Roosevelt’s plan to carry out an economic legislative program within his first 100 days that they believed was based on capitalism. Although the conspiracy to overthrow the president never played out, members involved in The Wall Street Putsch, as it is referred to today, stocked up on weapons and even tried to enlist a retired Marine general to lead their forces.