Have you ever had that moment in your life when you thought to yourself, “Why would he do that, or why would that happen?” Well, that is just what many people thought about McCartyism and the Red scare after that time period had passed. The Red Scare was a point in time when many Americans believed that the uprising of communism would be among them. These waves of the Red Scare happened twice, once after World War One, and the second time, which was more significant, after World War Two. During this time period many people were extremely afraid of communism, so the ideals of McCarthyism rose up. McCartyism was named after Joseph McCarthy, who was the Senator of Wisconsin at the time. Joseph McCarthy’s actions, as well as The House Un-American Activities Committee, and Congress were not justified. It was breaking people’s Constitutional rights, ruining many peoples lives and careers, and because they interrogated hundreds and thousands of people who didn’t even believe that communism should exist in our country.
One of the main reasons to prove that the actions during the Red Scare weren’t justified was because it broke people constitutional rights. During a speech Senator Margaret Smith of Maine said this inspiring quote, “The right to criticize; The right to hold unpopular beliefs; The right to protest; the right of independent thought.” Now, to some this might just look like a list of rights an American has. But to many, this is an inspiring quote of the things great about America and the things that McCarthy, Congress, and the HUAAC attacked. This shows that McCarthyism broke many of the rights that they as Americans had and deserved to keep.
Another important reason why the actions of McCarthyism weren’t justified was that they ruined many people’s lives and careers. One group collected and published the names of people in the world of the arts and entertainment thought to be un-American in their politics (Picture seen in back). The most famous victims were able to successfully fight off such attacks, but Red Channels, radio stations, weren’t destroyed for many years. Red Channels reported on possible Communists and they faked information in order to keep their stations alive. These Channels ruined and/or harmed many people’s careers.
The last major reason why all this was not justified is because they interrogated hundreds and thousands of innocent people who didn’t even believe that communism should exist in our country. Refusal to cooperate with the HUAAC could ruin careers. If a witness refused to testify about past political associations, relying on the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the witness would be cited for contempt of Congress. The government would then prosecute the witness for criminal contempt of Congress. Some people were convicted and sent to federal prison for several years.
Mcartyism was not justified because it broke many constitutional rights, ruined people’s careers, and led to a state of panic throughout America. So next time your in a situation where you dont know what to do or what to say. Think about how it will affect others, not just yourself.
Courtney from Study Moose
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