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Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism.

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Patrick Ng November 10, 2003 Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism Many things in history can relate in different aspects. The comparison of the Salem Witch trials and McCarthyism are examples of things in history that show similarities. With an analysis of the two historical events, we can see that hysteria was ever-present at the times in which they occurred. It is evident that this hysteria ruined the lives of many people, due to the constant accusations of witches and communists. The events that led up to the Salem witch trails and McCarthyism were also similar. Both events were irrational fears that witchcraft and communism were going to permeate society if drastic measures were not taken. Drastic measures were indeed taken. Both events exhibited mass hysteria within society. It was a time in which all people were involved in persecution. In Salem, it was the witches who were hunted. With McCarthyism, it was the communists that were hunted. With this brief history, we can see a general comparison between the two. ...read more.


Spectral evidence was testimony from victims that a suspect's ghost like spirit had hurt them" (Zeinert 39). These kinds of things could have led to the hanging of an accused witch, even if the person testifying was providing the courtroom with a false testimony! As a result, many innocent people were not proven innocent. All suspects were, "guilty until proven innocent," as stated in The Salem Witchcraft Trials. They could have been accused solely on their looks, even if they were innocently walking in the streets, minding their own business. According to demographics provided to us, as well as in the book The Devil in Massachusetts, most of the accused witches were poor, elderly women. These unfortunate women weren't affluent enough to "fit in" to society. In addition, women were supposedly more susceptible to Devil encounters: "Women were not as smart as men, and they were greedier. The Devil then could easily get a female to work for him by promising her wealth" (Zeinert 12). ...read more.


Both measures spread fear throughout the area. Neither of the trails was fair. The groups persecuted were singled out, and were obviously underdogs. Many innocent people were proven "guilty" of being witches or communists. Although they did "adjudicate" each accusation, the trials were very biased, and were primarily based on badgering performed by the colonists in Salem, and by Senator McCarthy. Indeed, the Salem witch trials and McCarthyism have similar beginnings and similar results. Such hysteria came about because of the excessive suspicion that was planted in the people's minds, by Parris and McCarthy. The peculiar behavior in Salem and the Russians obtaining an atomic bomb gave some credibility to the situations. Despite this, it was Parris and McCarthy who primarily escalated the hysteria that occurred. Such hysteria may occur today, dealing with the issue on terrorism. Racial profiling and accusations may be prominent in our country once again! If the right events and the right people trigger such a scare, our country could be in a state of mass hysteria as it was two times already. ...read more.

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