English III CP
12, March 2011
McCarthyism Vs. Salem Witch Trials
What would your reaction be if you were accused of something and were innocent? This is what happened to many people in the Salem Witch Trials and in McCarthyism. Innocent people were being punished for crimes that they did not commit. Even though there was little evidence, they were being hurt simply because somebody didn’t like their personal beliefs. The Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism are alike in many ways including their accusations, trials and were different in the punishment of the accused. The Salem Witch trials took place in Salem Massachusetts during beginning in 1692. Two girls fell sick and had convulsions, contortions, and outbursts of gibberish, after having been seen engaging in forbidden fortune telling. Doctors could make no diagnosis except for one, witchcraft. Later several girls also had fits. (The Salem Witch Trials) The girls accused two women Tituba, a slave, and Sarah Good, a beggar. Sarah Good claimed innocence, but convinced by lashing Tituba confessed to having made a pact with the devil. (National Geographic: Salem Witch-Hunt—Interactive.) In the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s, Americans suffered from a political and cultural hysteria caused by fear and anxiety about the Soviet threat. Capitalizing on those concerns, a young Senator named Joseph McCarthy made a public accusation that Burris II
more than two hundred “card-carrying” communists had infiltrated the United States government. (Arthur Miller - McCarthyism | American Masters | PBS) Many Americans came to believe that there were communists working within their society to undermine the United States. (Fried 2) Some Americans charged each other with being communists or communist sympathizers. Under the threat of this anti-communist hysteria, many Americans withdrew from politics and kept their opinions to themselves, fearing that they too would be accused of...