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McCarthyism and The Crucible contain many similarities and differences in their persecution and accusation of people who are identified as criminals of their societies.

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Introduction

McCarthyism and The Crucible contain many similarities and differences in their persecution and accusation of people who are identified as criminals of their societies. Both events in history contain extremely similar circumstances, including the accusation of one person leading to a mass hysteria enveloping a society to be overly suspicious of their fellow people. The two events also contain many differences, including time, society structure, and the magnitude of the event. McCarthyism is named for Joseph McCarthy, a Wisconsin senator in the 1950s that started a hysterical movement to expose the communists in the United States. Now, it is seen that McCarthy focused on Democrats in general with baseless and sweeping allegations of communist involvement, giving way for the Republicans to take over Congress and the Presidency. In comparison, Abigail Williams, a common girl in Salem Village in the 1600s, started a hysterical movement to expose the witches in Salem village. ...read more.

Middle

Another similarity between the two events is the fear of the unknown fear that swept through America during these two time periods. In the 1600s, the people of Salem believed that they were besieged by the devil, and became so scared of that possibility they began to see things from a perspective that led them to believe that all things that happened that were not of a good nature were of the devil and caused by a witch in the village. This movement reappeared in the McCarthy era, when people began to see others spying, sending money, and supporting communism when, in fact, they were totally against communism. Perhaps these people needed to read The Crucible and see how much they resembled the girls in Salem on their witch-hunt. In all their similarity, there are some major differences between The Crucible and the McCarthyism of the fifties. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the fifties, the fear of McCarthyism was physical; the communist threat was an actual threat, from a group of people. The hysteria developed from the overreaction of the fear of the communist threat, and was soon taken out of proportion similar to the Salem trials. Another contrast, the events in Salem were local events, limiting the amount of people involved and affected by the hysteria. The communist threat affected an entire nation, which means more mass hysteria and more people to have their emotions take over their good judgment. The Salem witchcraft trials represented a perfect example of the extreme measures people will do when they are thinking using their emotions and not their good judgment. Even with this example, the exact same thing happened during the fifties, and people could not even recognize that they were the girls in Salem prosecuting the innocents and convicting them under false charges. It's amazing how much people cannot learn from history. ...read more.

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