McCarthyism and The Salem Witch Trials There was an occurrence similar to the famous Salem With Trials of 1692 that recently took place in the United States. This particular event was the Second Red Scare, and is the reason for the term McCarthyism. In comparison to the Salem Witch Trials, McCarthyism conveyed the ignorance of the officials, brought fear to the masses, and endagered innocent people. The opinions of the Judges and ministers of the puritan society and those of the U. S government depict the errors of their causes; such asdisregarding the lack of proof and allowing stereotypes to cloud their Judgment.
In the play The Crucible, Hale, while holding a book, claims, “Here is all the invisible world caught, defined, and calculated. In these books the devil stands stripped of all his brute disguises. “(1150) Later in the play, when Mary Warren describes her court day to the Proctors, and how Goody Osburn tried to send her spirit out and kill her. She says, “l never knew [Goody Osburn tried to kill me] before. I never knew anything before. When she come into the court I say to myself, I must not accuse this woman, for she sleep in ditches, and so very old and poor…
But then… then she sit there, denying and denying, and I feel a isty coldness climbin’ up my back, and the skin on my skull begin to creep, and I feel a clamp around my neck and I cannot breathe air… ” She carries on, saying, “then Judge Hathorne say, “Recite for us your commandments! “??”and of all the ten she could not say a single one. She never knew no commandments, and they had her in a flat lie! ” Finally, she Justifies herself by saying ” I told you the proof??”it’s hard proof, hard as rock the Judges said. McCarthy stated in a speech in Wheeling, Virginia, “[The existence of Communists] has lighted the spark which is resulting in a moral prising and will end only when the whole sorry mess of twisted, warped thinkers are swept from the national scene so that we may have a new birth of honesty and decency in government. ” A PSB source also states, “… a young Senator named Joseph McCarthy made a public accusation that more than two hundred “card-carrying” communists had infiltrated the United States government. Though eventually his accusations were proven to be untrue, and he was censured by the Senate for unbecoming conduct… (McCarthyism) Puritan belief was based on the puritan religion, which held a long standing association between witches and evil. Hale breifly points this out; and, as he is regarded as nobel in his society, uses his authority and Judgement to make a strong claim about the book he has and the thing he knows. Later, when Mary talks about her day of court- she Justifies the lack of proof by saying that the Judges, who associate with Hale, and have a religious prejudice, think the proof is clear if you cannot say the commandments.
This shows how strong one aspect of the society is, and how “sure” individuals in it are of their own beliefs. McCarthy states that the communists are a “sorry mess of twisted, arped thinkers,” which clearly showcases his prejudice towards communists, since their views do not affect their honesty or decency, frankly; and the belief that their tnlnKlng Is warped Is strlctly an oplnlon. I ne Idea 0T nls polltlcal aTTllctlon Decomes even more clear when it is known that he accused over two hundred people of being communists without any proof or Justification.
Both parties also relied on fear to sway people to agree with them. In The Crucible, Abigail Williams constantly accuses her neighbors of witchcraft. One exclusive example is when Mary Warren is in the court room to show the girls as frauds, and Abigail retorts, accusing her of witchcraft, too. The stage directions and dialog are as follows: Abigail, looking about in the air, clasping her arms about her as though cold: I – I know not. A wind, a cold wind, has come. Her eyes fall on Mary Warren.
McCarthy used fear in his speech in Wheeling; telling the people, “The reason why we find ourselves in a position of impotency is not because our only powerful potential enemy has sent men to invade our shores, but rather because of the traitorous actions of those who have been treated so well by this Nation. ” (McCarthy) Abigail anipulates the officials and her peers by playing on their fears. Abigail accuses Mary for two reasons. One is to hurt Mary for tattling. The other is to distract the judges, who were starting to question the girls.
McCarthy does the same; telling the people that their government is full of traitors- who are better known by the term communist. Most, if not all, of the accused in both situations faced hardships in the time of the happenings. In The Crucible, Act IV is primarly the scene of John Proctor’s confession (and counter-confession. ) The Judge askes if John will formally sign a confession. He responds with, ” I have confessed myself! Is there no good penitence but it be public? God does not need my name nailed upon the church!
God sees my name, God knows how black my sins are! It is enough. ” It is said that during the Second Red Scare “Some had their passports taken away, while others were Jailed for refusing to give the names of other communists. The trials, which were well publicized, could often destroy a career with a single unsubstantiated accusation. ” (McCarthyism) The Puritans, along with being accused and Jailed, had to publicize that they confessed to being a witch, and brand themselves with the title, or die so they may keep their lean name. This shows great injustice.
Even if you were not a witch, the court would hold you to it with their faulty proof until you confessed it and damned your soul by lying. Likewise, McCarthy ruined carreers and lives with his accusations, Jailing some of his alleged communists and stripping privledges, like passports, from others. Both occurences, though so far apart, corretate with each other when it comes to injustice because of prejudice, using fear as a modevater, and ruining innocent people’s lives. It Just goes to show that history really does repeat itself.