Topics: Joseph McCarthy, McCarthyism, Red Scare Pages: 8 (3193 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Vivian Gonzalez Mr. Martinez-Ramos A.P. United States History May 3, 2000 McCarthyism was one of the saddest events of American history. It destroyed people's lives and shattered many families. It threw innocent people into a whirlwind of mass confusion and fictional portrayals of their lives. McCarthyism spawned for the country's new found terror of Communism known as the red scare. McCarthyism was an extreme version of the red scare, a scare whose ends did not justify the means. The Red Scare happened twice in the history of this great country. When the communist took over Russia in 1919, the American people were unnerved. They were afraid of a communist take over in the states. When the First World War ended in 1918, there was still an ideological war going on in a very divided United States. "The red scare was another sort of war—one against dissent and nonconformity. It changed the psyche and face of the United States as surely as did World War Two (Fariello, 24). This was a time in American History where panic and terror controlled the lives and the laws of this country (Fariello, 28). When in 1919 the newly appointed Attorney General, A. Mitchel Palmer, was abruptly awoken from his house by a bomb, everyone was seeing red, so to speak. Instantaneously fingers were being pointed in the immediate direction of the Communist Party. The Communist Party had reason, good reason to go after Palmer. He had used legislation passed in 1917 to deport many "communist" that were a threat to the American way of life. As was clearly seen in the Legislation passed in 1952. The Immigration and Nationality Act tightened previous restriction on aliens and heavily reduced immigration from nonwhites countries. It allowed for the denaturalization and deportation of citizens deemed "subversive," as well as the deportation of residents aliens for political activity. Removed deportation case from the courts by setting up own board unhampered by due process(Fariello, 18). American politicians were under the distorted impression that everyone that was not Anglo-American or came from Western Europe was a threat to national security. In response to this they passed a series of laws declining the immigration of people from Eastern and Southern Europe. They also passed laws deporting many of our own residents because of fear. "In the nineteenth century there were men of Anglo-Saxon stock who came to regard the American mission as their particular inheritance and who feared the subversive effects of immigration and the alien political ideas that were thereby introduced." (Heale, p. 127) Fear is the most primal instinct. It causes people to do and act in certain ways in which they are not accustomed. It can turn brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor, politician against politician, and country against country. Fear instigates panic. It was that panic that prompted the Palmer Raids. The Palmer Raids were started by A. Mitchel Palmer. He felt that in order to keep the American values in tact communism had to be out of the picture. Palmer believed that communism was "eating its way into the American workman". He thought it was the root of all evils in his society. Palmer felt that communism was "seeking to replace marriage vows with libertine laws, burning up the foundations of society". In December of 1919, in their most famous act, Palmer's agents seized 249 resident aliens. Those seized were placed on board a ship, the Buford, bound for the Soviet Union. Deportees included Emma Goldman the feminist, anarchist and writer who later recalled the deportation in her autobiography. Another reason for the Red Scare was the strike held by mine workers. They were thought to be making threatening moves against the Capitalist system through subversive Socialist organizations. These strikes were part of a series of events taking place in 1919. This strike, which occurred in February, consisted of 60,000...
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