Mccarthyism, Miller, and the Crucible

Topics: McCarthyism, Joseph McCarthy, Salem witch trials Pages: 4 (1242 words) Published: March 15, 2008
"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 "crusade against subversion" played a significant role in the following: the actions and tactics of McCarthy, the reasons why Miller and other artists were targets of McCarthyism, and the relationship of his play The Crucible to the events of the late 1940's to the early 1950's (Brinkley).

Senator Joseph McCarthy used many tactics to persuade Americans to oppose communism and indict those who supported it. Communism had tangible shape, and Americans were worried that people in the U.S. would start leaning to the far left like several other countries such as the USSR and China (Schrecker). In order to prevent this, the Congressional House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) was founded. The Committee's purpose was to investigate those organizations and individuals it deemed "un-American." They first went to Hollywood because the movie industry was considered "corrupted". Ten individuals, called the Hollywood Ten, were asked to testify against other Hollywood residents who were questionable communists. Some of the Hollywood Ten refused to answer the HUAC's questions so they were charged with contempt and sent to prison (HUAC). The Federal Loyalty Program was also established at this time in order to question the...
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