Essay the mccarthy and the salem witch hunts

Essay the mccarthy and the salem witch hunts

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"The McCarthy Era of the 1950's and the Salem Witch Trials of the 1600's were major events in American history that destroyed the lives and careers of many innocent victims. These tragic events were similar in that they demonstrated how hard times lead to society's need to find a scapegoat. They also show the shame and regret that take place after the bloodbaths occur. The parallels between these two events, which took place almost 300 years apart, are remarkable."

"However, the Salem Witchcraft Trials use of human frailty in court helped courts move forward in eliminating its use. Courts now need factual or circumstantial evidence to convict a person of any crime and the accused is promised a fair trial. Nowadays, the accused is given an unbiased judge and jury making it a fair trial (Linder). A fair trial was something colonialists thought they were giving. Human frailty to a colonialist from the 1640s would have been overwhelming and unbelievable. Colonialists believed that the common procedure of witchcraft was justifiable and never abused. The evidence from the Salem trials found nowadays shows that not only were the procedures often abused and accusations baseless, but that the way in which they treated the accused was inhumane."The Crucible is a fictional retelling of events in American history surrounding the Salem witch trials of the seventeenth century, yet is as much a product of the time in which Arthur Miller wrote it, the early 1950s, as it is description of Puritan society. The Salem witch trials took place from June through September of 1692, during which time nineteen men and women were hanged at Gallows Hill near Salem, while another man, Giles Corey, was pressed to death for refusing to submit to a trial on witchcraft charges. Hundreds of other persons faced accusations of witchcraft and dozens more languished in jail without trials. As the play describes, the witchcraft trials began because of the illness of Betty Parris, the daughter of the Salem minister, Reverend Samuel Parris, a former merchant in Barbados. Before Betty Parris fell ill, Cotton Mather had published

"Memorable Providences," describing the suspected witchcraft of an Irish washerwoman in Boston, and Betty Parris' hysteria mirrored those of the suspected Irish witch. Other girls, including Ruth Putnam and Mercy Lewis also exhibited similar...


... middle of paper ...


...mpaign of accusations. Although he was later denounced, he promoted unfounded accusations and suspicions of communism in many quarters, most prominently within the entertainment industry through the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC).
HUAC investigated communism within Hollywood, calling a number of playwrights, directors and actors known for left-wing views to testify. Although some of these, including film director Elia Kazan, testified for the committee to avoid prison sentences, but the Hollywood Ten, a group of entertainers, refused to testify and were convicted of contempt and sentenced to up to one year in prison. Over three hundred other entertainers were placed on a blacklist for possible communist views and were thus forbidden to work for major Hollywood studios (many of these were writers who worked under pseudonyms at the time, including Dalton Trumbo and Michael Wilson). Arthur Miller was one of these blacklisted. The blacklist prevented these men from receiving screen credit during this time, until actor Kirk Douglas pushed for Trumbo to receive screen credit for his adaptation of Spartacus for Stanley Kubrick in 1960, thus finally breaking the blacklist.

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