Mc Carthyism And The Conservative Political Climate Of Today

6146 words - 25 pages

McCarthyism and the Conservative Political Climate of Today

     FOR ALMOST fifty years, the words "McCarthy" and "McCarthyism" have stood for a shameful period in American political history. During this period, thousands of people lost their jobs and hundreds were sent to prison. The U.S. government executed Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, two Communist Party (CP) members, as Russian spies. All of these people were victims of McCarthyism, the witch-hunt during the 1940s and 1950s against Communists and other leftists, trade unionists and civil rights activists, intellectuals and artists. Named for the witch-hunt's most zealous prosecutor, Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.), McCarthyism was the most widespread and longest lasting wave of political repression in American history. In order to eliminate the alleged threat of domestic Communism, a broad coalition of politicians, bureaucrats, and other anticommunist activists hounded an entire generation of radicals and their associates, destroying lives, careers, and all the institutions that offered a left-wing alternative to mainstream politics and culture. That anticommunist crusade...used all the power of the state to turn dissent into disloyalty and, in the process, drastically narrowed the spectrum of acceptable political debate.[1]

     Since the 1950s, most Americans have condemned the McCarthyite witch-hunts and show trials. By large majorities, Americans oppose firing communists from their jobs or banning communist speakers or books.[2] But over the past several years, increasing numbers of historians, writers and intellectuals have sought to minimize, explain away and justify McCarthyism. A spate of books and articles touting new historical evidence has tried to demonstrate that communism posed a real danger to American society in the 1940s and 1950s. They argue that even if some innocent people suffered and McCarthy was reckless, he was responding to a real threat.[3] As a result, Joe McCarthy doesn't look so irresponsible in hindsight.

     The tendency to go soft on McCarthyism has been evident in popular culture as well. The presentation of a special Lifetime Achievement Award to director Elia Kazan at the 1999 Oscar ceremony is the most flagrant and controversial example. Another example of the current vogue for McCarthyite apologetics, William F. Buckley Jr.'s recent The Redhunter: A Novel Based on the Life of Senator Joe McCarthy, deserves special--and contemptuous--notice. The novel is an open, unabashed effort to turn McCarthy into a misunderstood, unappreciated hero.

     It's not surprising that self-identified conservatives like Buckley would want to rehabilitate one of their heroes. But what is most disturbing about the efforts to restore McCarthy's good name has been the pathetic response of many on the left. Anti-McCarthy historian Ellen Schrecker urged a...

Find Another Essay On McCarthyism and the Conservative Political Climate of Today

The Rise and Fall of McCarthyism

2866 words - 11 pages . Eisenhower. The activities of McCarthy and his followers gave birth to the term McCarthyism. This term is used in reference to 'sensational and highly publicized personal attacks, usually based on unsubstantiated charges, as a means of discrediting people thought to be subversive.'(Grolier, 1996)McCarthy, before February of 1950, was by no means a distinguished legislator. He held the attention of the United States by arguing that the State Department

Political Climate of the 1950's. Essay

887 words - 4 pages Impact of McCarthyism in the United States.McCarthyism was the period in the late 1940's and early 1950's when radicals were removed from every part of the US society. Senator Joe McCarthy from Wisconsin blamed several political affiliates of associating with or being communist. McCarthyism succeeded in separating left-wing ideas (and their long history in the working class movements) from American Society. Truman passed the loyalty Act in 1947

The Political Climate of the 1970's

1177 words - 5 pages While examining the political and social outcomes of the end of the war in Vietnam I learned that many people were not happy with the outcomes. Many people felt that the war was a political disaster for the United States. Some people felt that when the United States failed at their support of the regime of South Vietnam in 1975, even when it was directly invaded by the army of North Vietnam, the United States lost all credibility as a Super

The Political Climate of the 1970's

809 words - 3 pages Looking at the political and social outcomes of the end of the war in Vietnam I have learned that there are varying views on the outcomes of the end of the war. The Vietnam War cost American tax payers about $150 billion. Over two million men and women served during the war about 58,000 were killed as a result of the war. Many soldiers came home disabled for life, some lost limbs and others were poisoned by chemicals, like Agent Orange. Others

McCarthyism and the Media

2468 words - 10 pages McCarthyism and the Media The Cold War ushered in a new era in the American society that would change the way in which everyday life was carried on by the public. Men, women and children were convinced to fit the “average” mold that was promoted through propaganda issued from the American government and media. Events, such as the McCarthy hearings and Hollywood Blacklisting, contributed to the overwhelming fear of nonconformity. The American

The crucible and mccarthyism

1007 words - 4 pages Many times it has been said that if people learn form their mistakes they are doomed to repeat them. Such is the case throughout history. There are many different examples of this, but one example is the blatant similarities between the witch hunts in Salem Massachusetts and the era of McCarthyism. When looking at either one of theses events separately it is hard to believe that they could have actually happened, not only once but, twice. If one

The Causes of McCarthyism

1228 words - 5 pages communists and hastilly judged to be so because of the general feeling toward communism. What causes such an incredible uprising. What caused so many people to rally behind, in many cases, unfounded accusations that would ruin other peoples lives unjustly? What caused not just a movement but the movement known as McCarthyism? It is historically proven that a simple action can have many complex causes, while a movement can have immeasurable causes

Atlas Shrugged Describe the economic and political climate of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.

680 words - 3 pages The economic and political climate of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged represent the polarized ideologies of her day, and make for a telling lesson for those in business today. The forces and conditions that permitted the rise of the great American industrialists also led for calls of legislation and redistribution of wealth- as Ayn Rand would say, "thieves armed with bills rather than guns". While the battle field has gained complexity, the battle

Connecting McCarthyism and The Crucible

1361 words - 5 pages because Abigail had credibility. Abigail accused Tituba of witchery, and when Tituba confessed that she had, in fact, conversed with the devil, it proved to the townspeople that Abigail had told the truth (1262). Similarly, McCarthy accused innocent people of being communists in order to get what he wanted: popularity in the political race for reelection for senator of Wisconsin (“Persecution” 1). McCarthy gained his credibility through Whittaker

An Overview of McCarthyism and the McCarthy Era

1308 words - 5 pages An Overview of McCarthyism and the McCarthy Era This is the first definition ever of the word McCarthyism, first published in 1954. The basis of this definition is the life of lawyer, judge, and senator of the United States of America, Joseph R. McCarthy. If one takes a look at the actions of this man, it is not very hard to understand where this definition comes from. Joeseph McCarthy was a master of media and public

Exposing The Irony of McCarthyism

680 words - 3 pages Both The Crucible and “Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues” agree with the hypocrisy and lack of sense that the time called the Red Scare or McCarthyism began, fed and ended. The Crucible uses the Salem Witch Trials as an allegory to show this side of the Red Scare while Bob Dylan uses an obvious sarcasm to show his point of view. Both Bob Dylan and Arthur Miller expose the irony of the time period called McCarthyism. The Crucible was written to

Similar Essays

Political Climate Of The 1950s Essay

1016 words - 4 pages leaders, and social transformations that were to come. References Davidson, T. (2002). Nation of Nations, Third Concise Vol. Retrieved December 09, 2006, from Schultz, S. K., & Tishler, W. P. (1999). American History 102 Civil War to the Present. Retrieved December 09, 2006, from Political Climate of the 1950s Paper

Describing The Economic And Political Climate Of The Haitian Culture

1066 words - 4 pages In researching the culture of Haiti there was a plethora of information describing the economic and political climate of the country, and limited resources regarding the people and culture specifically. I began to wonder if these factors weren't directly responsible and relatable to the culture of the Haitian people. When I looked at Haiti from this perspective a picture of their people began to emerge. A sad and varied culture. Haiti became

The Political Climate Of The 1950's

1048 words - 4 pages What Was the Impact of McCarthyism in the United States?According to Ellen Schrecker, "McCarthyism may have aborted much-needed reforms. As the nation's politics swung to the right after World War II, the federal government abandoned the unfinished agenda of the New Deal. Measures like national health insurance, a social reform embraced by the rest of the industrialized world, simply fell by the wayside. The left liberal political coalition that

The Political Climate Of The 1950's

1127 words - 5 pages Impact of McCarthyism in the United States.According to Merriam-Webster's dictionary McCarthyism is "a mid-20th century political attitude characterized chiefly by opposition to elements held to be subversive and by the use of tactics involving personal attacks on individuals by means of widely publicized indiscriminate allegations especially on the basis of unsubstantiated charges; defamation of character or reputation through McCarthyite