Witch Hunts

Essay by lora27High School, 11th gradeA+, February 2005

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Witch Hunts

Throughout history there have been many instances where a group of people have been singled out for discrimination. The Salem Witch Trials, The Holocaust, and McCarthy's witch-hunt are just a few examples of such prejudice. Arthur Miller's The Crucible used the story of the Salem Witch Trials to point out the injustices of the anti-Communism movement of the early 1950s.

Joseph McCarthy was born in 1908 in Northern Wisconsin. He worked his way through law school and shortly after graduation became one of Wisconsin's youngest judges. During World War II he volunteered for the Marine Corps. This was an act that he knew would help him out politically. While overseas, he made his first attempt at becoming a Senator. He did better than expected, but ended up losing. Shortly after, he left the armed forces and began campaigning for the 1946 Senate race. His campaign's focal point was the growing fear of Communism and anger towards Russia.

He accused his opponent of being a Communist in order to get ahead. McCarthy was elected to be the Senator of Wisconsin later that year (Scriabine 1).

Since the early 1900's, Communism had been seen as vile. Americans were wary of communism and thought it to be the very epitome of evil. McCarthy played on the public's sentiment and used it to his advantage. In February of 1950 McCarthy made a speech in Wheeling, West Virginia. "It was a fairly typical speech against Communism except for one thing; McCarthy claimed to have in his hand, a list of 205 names of State Department employees who were members of the Communist Party." (Scriabine 2). He really did not possess a list or even real numbers. He evaded reporters and media as they tried to obtain facts and specifics; however, most American's...