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McCarthy Vs. Salem Witch Trials

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Essay title: McCarthy Vs. Salem Witch Trials

Often times it has been stated that history repeats itself, I have found an example of a situation where it did. Lots of people think that the McCarthy hearings of the 1950s are a repeat of history from the Salem witch-hunts of 1692. In both cases, all of the accusations were false, and also fictitious. Also in both cases, the main reason people were blamed was so that ones who were condemning would receive their own personal gain. In both parties, McCarthy and the girls, they accused people to make themselves look better to others and gain respect. They both gained respect from others, which was something they did not have a lot, which is one of the main reasons McCarthy started his Red Scare, and it also played a small role in why the girls accused so many people. In 1692, people blamed of being witches were used as scapegoats for societyТs problems, and then again in 1950, those blamed of being communists were used as scapegoats for societyТs problems. In the long run, both cases were worthless except for the lessons that it may teach those who look back at the awful experiences. Many people were killed in the small town of Salem and the ones who werenТt killed had their reputations forever lowered. Everyone who was charged by Joseph McCarthy had his or her own reputation diminished as well. All of this could have been prevented if the people involved would have only opened their blinded eyes and saw the truth, the truth which lied right in front of their faces.

One night in the small New England town of Salem, Massachusetts, three young girls and a slave from Barbados were caught dancing naked in the forest around a large kettle. This wasnТt something that girls normally did in the 1600s and was also socially unacceptable, as was also considered to be of the devil. These girls, Abigail Williams, Betty Parris, Mercy Lewis, and Tituba the slave were immediately accused of being witches just because they were dancing in the woods. In order to get themselves off the hook, the girls pointed their fingers at other women in the town of practicing witchcraft. They indicted some women because their names popped into their heads, but one particular girl, Abigail Williams, accused a woman named Elizabeth Proctor because she had lust for her husband, John Proctor. Abigail Williams and John Proctor had already had an affair. However, unlike Abigail, John wanted to leave that horrible mistake in the past and forget about her. Abigail was also inclined to do all of these malicious acts because the women in her town made fun of her and called her names. They knew of her lust for men, so Abigail took the initiative and they were all charged of witchcraft. What seemed like a harmless dance in the woods, resulted in the death of twenty innocent people, and the ruining of many peoples lives. Nineteen people were hung and the other person had his head crushed in. Not everyone who was accused died though, they each had a decision they could make, to determine life or death. They could either plead guilty and live with a damaged reputation, or attempt to prove their innocence and die a horrible death. Margaret Jacobs said, УЕThey told me if I would not confess I should be put down into the dungeon and would be hanged, but if I would confess I should have life (Salem Home Page).Ф

If anyone decided to live, his or her name would be ruined forever. Not only would the person lose all respect for himself or herself, but the community would lose all respect for them as well. On the other hand, if one chose to die, they would no longer be able to cherish the life that was given to them, but their name would be forever known as a good name. Also, the person that pleaded innocent and was hung would be able to go to heaven because they had not lied, and were accused unjustly.

In another small city, Wheeling, West Virginia, a man named Joseph McCarthy accused two hundred and five people of being communists in the early 1950s. McCarthy came forward with the list by saying:

While I cannot take the time to name all of the men in the State Department who have been named as members of the Communist Party and members of a spy ring, I have here in my hand a list of 205 people that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the State Department. (Issacs, 157)

He was not a widely known senator, and thought that by accusing people of being communists, he would become more popular and look better in the eyes of the nation. He did all he did because of his quest for political power. The Communists are just like the witches of the 1600s. People did not like them and were also afraid of them, but they were just like the УwitchesФ, harmless. A man by the name of A. Mitchel Palmer referred to communism as "seeking to replace marriage vows with libertine laws,

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