By Karen Morfitt

DENVER (CBS4)– Capitol Hill has long been viewed as a pillar of democracy, but as hundreds of protesters stormed its chambers on Wednesday afternoon, its strength is being called into question.

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 06: Pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Trump supporters gathered in the nation’s capital today to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over President Trump in the 2020 election. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

“I see the events as a dramatic and dark day in the history of our democracy,” political specialist Ken Osgood said.

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Osgood is also a history professor at Colorado School of Mines. He says the direct attempt to disrupt the confirmation of the U.S. election may seem unexpected, but it is the result of years of intensifying divisiveness across the country. A division made more prominent under the Trump administration.

“What we have seen really happen in the past four years is that some of those movements have been given a voice and power and a feeling of legitimacy as a consequence of some of the presidents rhetoric,” Osgood said.

It’s also a moment in history expected to have a lasting impact.

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University of Colorado Denver, Political science professor Christoph Stefes says depending on the response, it could be a catalyst for change.

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 06: A Capitol police officer looks out of a broken window as protesters gather on the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Pro-Trump protesters entered the U.S. Capitol building after mass demonstrations in the nation’s capital during a joint session Congress to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

“These are moments in time of crisis where the country goes into another direction… it’s not clear what direction.”

“It could go back,” Stefes said, “Or we see how people come together and how they can strengthen the democratic institution.”

Both experts say Americans should be watching closely for what happens next.

TOPSHOT – A man calls on people to raid the building as Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they try to storm the US Capitol in Washington D.C on January 6, 2021. – Demonstrators breeched security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the a 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso / AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

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“We should all soak it up and pay attention And think to ourselves is this what we want our country to become,” Osgood said.

Karen Morfitt