The Salem Witch Trial and Mccarthyism Essay

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The Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism
The Salem Witch Trials of the 1690s had many potent similarities to the McCarthyism of the 1950s. The Salem Witch Trials, which began after young girls spread accusations of witchcraft, caused panic, confusion, and disorder within the town of Salem, Massachusetts. The period of McCarthyism, known as the “Red Scare,” began after Senator Joseph McCarthy accused many Americans of communist involvement, causing disarray, chaos, and mass hysteria across the United States. Despite the significant time gap, the two events share stark similarities in their origins, propagation, and conclusions. Both events emanated from false accusations, gained momentum from the influence of public leaders, and ceased after the accusations proved to be inaccurate. The witch-hunts created two of America’s most infamous periods as they instilled fear into the public and wrongfully punished innocent people. Both affairs would not have originated were it not for the spread of harsh and unjust accusations.
Unsubstantiated rumors led to the outbreak of accusations within the two witch-hunts. In the Salem Witch Trials, Sarah Good, Sarah Osbourne and Tituba were the first three women to be accused of witchcraft for allegedly afflicting Betty Paris and Abigail Williams, two young girls, with a demonic disease. They had been accused of witchcraft out of rumors about their “outcast” natures and eccentricities by other girls and were sent to jail despite any tangible evidence of their alleged connection with witchcraft. A spread of accusations arose within Salem following their arrest, most of which had their basis in rumor rather than on concrete evidence. During the period of McCarthyism,   Senator Joseph McCarthy accused two hundred and five people of being “card carrying” communists in a speech in Wheeling, Virginia. He accused government employees, entertainers, actors, war veterans, and sexual deviants of being communist simply out of an alleged...

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