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The Crucible and The McCarthy Hearings
It is common knowledge that Author Miller wrote The Crucible as a reaction to a tragic time in our countries history. The McCarthy hearings, as they came to be known, which dominated our country from 1950 to 1954, where hearings in which many, suspected of being related to communism, where interviewed and forced to give up names of others, or they where imprisoned, and their names were black listed. There are several parallels between the McCarthy Era, and the time of the Salem which trials. One similarity one will see is what I call the scare factor. Another parallel between the two groups is the "everybody is doing it" mentality. One also sees a parallel in the lives that were ruined in both eras because of the accusations and punishments.
Both those accused in The Crucible and those accused during the McCarthy hearings were found guilty with such little evidence. One would think that such wild accusations, with so little proof, would easily be dismissed. I believe the primary source for McCarthy and the accusers in Salem's support comes from what I call the scare factor. Our country was going through a scary time, with the fear of the spread of communism on everybody's mind. These rumors of communist in the state department sparked a hunt that many backed because they were scared. In Salem the children where acting unusually and everyone was scared. When a source for this problem was suggested, because of their fear, everyone was willing to support it.
Another source of support was the get on board, or everybody is doing it mentality. Because it is human nature for one to go with the flow the people of Salem, who had religion rammed down their throats, followed their leaders, and the rest of their neighbors in the witch hunt. Those who disagreed where considered witches. They were watching out for themselves, and because of their fear, the situation escalated and more were accused. Just as those in the story, many in our nation, and government, jumped on board and backed McCarthy. Because of the Red Scare, everyone feared the thought of communism in our government.
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