Repeating History: The Salem Witch Trials and the Red Scare

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Is it possible for history to repeat itself? This seems like an unlikely concept, but it is not as far-fetched as it may seem. There have been many times throughout history that things have seemingly repeated themselves. One of the best examples of this is the Salem Witch Trials in the 1690’s being repeated in the form of the Red Scare of the 1950’s. The Red Scare is reminiscent of the Salem Witch Trials in that people were accused of doing something they did not do, they were only given the choices of condemn or confess, and more harm was done than avoided as a result of the scares. Of the many similarities between the Salem Witch Trials and the Red Scare, one of the most obvious examples of these similarities is that people were accused of doing something they did not do. Not only were they people falsely accused, there was no physical evidence that they ever did anything wrong. The only “evidence” against them was what other people claimed they saw them doing (Miller). Florida International University’s Richard A. Schwartz wrote an essay regarding the Red Scare, and in it he says that during the HUAC hearings, companies, “...listed 151 men and women who the editors claimed were linked with a variety of past or present Communist causes.” This further supports the idea that “spectral evidence” played an important role in both the Salem Witch Trials and the Red Scare. There was no proof that anybody was involved with any Communist-sympathizing activities, but since the editors of these popular magazines claimed that they were involved, they had to face the consequences. In the Salem Witch Trials, spectral evidence was a key part from the start of the trials. Despite answering “No,” to all of the questions coming from the judges, ... ... middle of paper ... ...ess to their “crimes” or face condemnation. The false accusations combined with the threatening used to make people confess made it so that both the Salem Witch Trials and the Red Scare created more harm than they avoided. It seems obvious that it is one hundred percent possible for history to repeat itself. Works Cited Linder, Douglass O. “Salem Witch Trials 1692.” University of Missouri-Kansas City. September 2009. Web. March 21, 2014. Miller, Arthur. “Why I Wrote the Crucible.” N.p. February 25, 2014. PDF File. Miller, Arthur. “Why I Wrote the Crucible.” The New Yorker. October 26, 1996. Web. March 19, 2014. Schwartz, Richard A. “How the Film and Television Blacklists Worked.” Florida International University. Web. February 28, 2014. Shmoop Editorial Team. “McCarthyism & The Red Scare.” Shmoop University, Inc., November 11, 2008. Web. February 24, 2014.

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