Essays The Crucible Mccarthyism

Connecting McCarthyism and The Crucible Essay

1375 Words6 Pages

The horrors of history are passed on from generation to generation in hopes that they will never occur again. People look back on these times and are appalled at how horrendous the times were; yet, in the 1950s, history repeated itself. During this time, Joseph McCarthy, a United States senator from Wisconsin, began accusing people of being communists or communist sympathizers, which is parallel to the Salem witch trials in the late 1690s when innocent people were accused of practicing witchcraft. One of the people McCarthy accused was author and playwright Arthur Miller. To express his outrage at McCarthy’s actions, miller wrote The Crucible, intentionally drawing similarities between the McCarthy hearings and the Salem witch trials.…show more content…

Like Abigail, McCarthy had no evidence against the people he blamed of being communists. His list contained 205 names of communists and “[was] mainly based on a vague report” (1). Although there was not evidence against the accused communists, the American people were ready to believe that communists had infiltrated their country because the communist Soviet Union had already taken over other countries, including China, Korea, and North Vietnam (“Domino Theory” 1). Like the American people, the town folk of Salem were willing to believe that there were witches in their town since witchcraft had just been discovered in nearby Andover, where forty people were accused of witchcraft ("Andover, Massachusetts” 1). Both McCarthy and Abigail were able to take advantage of the atmosphere of hysteria during their time period to get what they so desperately wanted. Yet their reigns of power did not last long. When Abigail accused highly respected people such as John Proctor and Rebecca Nurse, the townspeople were not so willing to accept that the people they respected were practicing witchcraft. Abigail’s credibility wavered. Likewise, when McCarthy accused officials in the United States Army of being communists and innocent children like Shirley Temple, people began doubting his credibility, especially with the lack of evidence (“The Red Scare: McCarthyism” 1). Although the periods that Abigail and McCarthy controlled people’s fear was

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McCarthyism versus The Crucible by Arthur Miller Essay example

1174 Words5 Pages

"Reasonable doubt" was all that was necessary to accuse and sometimes convict someone of un-American activities in the late 1940's, early 1950's. This period of time was known for McCarthyism--a time of extreme anticommunism, lead by Senator Joseph McCarthy (McCarthyism). The United States pledged to contain the spread of communism globally, as well as locally, and did what it could to keep this promise. Americans began to fear that communism was leaking into the media, government, arts, schools, and other areas. This was called the "Red Scare" (Brinkley). One writer that used this era as a basis for his play, The Crucible, was Arthur Miller. He was able to capture the panic and mere insanity of many Americans in an allegorical way. The…show more content…

The Federal Loyalty Program was also established at this time in order to question the trustworthiness of federal employees. Many were questioned and fired with the reasoning that they were considered a threat to their employers. State and local governments wanted to rid themselves of all kinds of subversives (Schrecker). On February 9, 1950 in Wheeling, West Virginia, the "crusade against subversion" took a significant radical turn. Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy gave a speech, and in it he stated, "I have here in my hand a list of two hundred and five [people] that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the State Department"("Enemies"). This was a very bold move by McCarthy because he was outright accusing over two hundred of his fellow co-workers of communist activity. Over the next few years, McCarthy became very well known for his bold tactics to expose alleged communists. Most Americans were too afraid to stand up to him, including President Dwight D. Eisenhower (McCarthyism). Eventually, however, people who were being affected by McCarthy began questioning his harsh tactics and his objectives concerning communism. McCarthyism affected people of all races, ethnicities, and professions. The American people were terrified of communism, yet the Truman administration did nothing to curb these fears. People lost their jobs, not

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