Mccarthyism vs. Salem Witch Trials Essay

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Burris I Joey Burris Mr. Englelhardt 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 being communists. McCarthyism is the use of the charge of communism to discredit political ideas, cultural values, and individual’s lives and reputations. The era of McCarthyism would become known as “The Great American Red Scare. ” (Fried 2) In the Salem Witch Trials and in McCarthyism innocent people were accused of wrongdoing.

The Salem witch trials and the Red Scare both involved ongoing accusations that led to numerous innocent people being accused. In the Salem Witch Trials over a hundred people were accused of being witches. In McCarthyism over three hundred and twenty people were accused of trying to overthrow the United States government. The accused people did not know that they had done anything wrong, and they could not have stopped things used against them from happening. In the Salem Witch Trials Rebecca Nurse is accused of murdering seven of Ann Putnam’s children.

The children most likely died of natural causes and Rebecca had nothing to do with it. During the time of McCarthyism people were fired from their jobs in Hollywood, just because they were accused Communists. In many cases, the people were not Burris III Communists, but were just accused of being one. Most of these people who were accused were innocent, and should have been accused in the first place. During both McCarthyism and The red scare the accused was tried in front of a chosen bored and were forced to admit to what they were accused of.

Even if you were not a communist or witch they would force you to admit it in some way either through threats, lies, or persuasion. The Punishments for Communism and witches were different though. If you were found a witch you would hang. If you were found a communist you would be put in prison and possibly go to the electric chair. During both many innocent people were tried guilty and had to face the punishment. The main thing both the Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism took from people was their sense of security. At any moment they could have been accused and tried.

Even if they were innocent they would be forced to admit. People refrained from getting in the spotlight and tried to keep a low profile and not be noticed. Because at any moment they could be accused by someone who didn’t like them. This brought out the power hungry people like Senator Joseph McCarthy who accused people to gain power. In the Salem Witch Trials it was Putnam who accused people to gain more land and more wealth. In many ways McCarthyism, also know as the “Great American Red Scare”, and the Salem Witch Trials were alike and different.

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 red scare era and The Salem Witch trials showed peoples true character and revealed to the world that not every person is hungry Burris IV for power. But in every era there is a power hungry maniac out there who will do anything in their power to bring down people to raise themselves up. Winkler, Peter. “National Geographic: Salem Witch-Hunt— Interactive. ” National Geographic – Inspiring People to Care About the Planet Since 1888. National Geographic.

Web. 15 Dec. 2011. ;http://www. nationalgeographic. com/features/97/salem/;. Lambert, Tim. “The Salem Witch Trials. ” A World History Encyclopedia. Local Histories. Web. 15 Dec. 2011. ;http://www. localhistories. org/salem. html;. Fried, Albert. McCarthyism: The Great American Red Scare : a Documentary History. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. Print. Miller, Arthur. “Arthur Miller – McCarthyism | American Masters | PBS. ” PBS: Public Broadcasting Service. PBS. Web. 18 Dec. 2011. ;http://www. pbs. org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/arthur-miller/mccarthyism/484/;. m V

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