Salem Witch Trail

Topics: Joseph McCarthy, McCarthyism, Salem witch trials Pages: 2 (370 words) Published: April 25, 2013
Based on what you’ve learnt about the Salem Witch Trail and the McCarthy hearings, write a paragraph detailing any connections you see between the two occurrences.

McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence. During the McCarthy era, thousands of Americans were accused of being Communists or communist sympathizers and became the subject of aggressive investigations. The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts. In 17th century colonial North America, the supernatural was part of everyday life, for there was a strong belief that Satan was present and active on Earth. Men and women in Salem believed that all these people were attributed to the work of the devil; when things like infant death, crop failures or friction among the congregation occurred, the supernatural was blamed. These two events link as both McCarthyism and The Salem Witch Trail prosecuted people with no evidence or valid reasons for the accusations.

Why do you think Arthur Miller chose to use the period of history (1692) that he chose? Why didn’t he just write about the Red Scare and the McCarthy trials?

Miller wrote the play as an allegory of McCarthyism, when the U.S government blacklisted accused communists. In June 1956, Miller was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee. He was found guilty of contempt of Congress in May 1957, when he refused to reveal the members of a literary circle suspected of communist affiliation. However, his conviction was overturned in August 1958, by the U.S. Court of Appeals. Miller found his subject while reading Charles W. Upham's 1867 two-volume study of the 1692 Salem witch trials, which shed light on the personal relationships behind the trials..

Are there any differences between the two occurrences (other than the obvious things, like time periods etc.)

The term Red Scare...
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