YOUR NAME HERE YOUR COURSE HERE YOUR TUTOR HERE DATE HERE In what ways, and to what extent, did McCarthyism impact upon American society in the early 1950's? PLAN OF INVESTIGATION The term McCarthyism was derived from the by-product of national experiences involving Senator Joseph McCarthy who, during the early 1950s, became an advocate and campaigner for removing the alleged threat of Communism from within the United States…
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The investigation involved conducting analyses on human behavior induced by McCarthy’s anti-Communist rhetoric as well as examination of the victims of McCarthyism whose involvement helped shaped societal ideologies supportive or opposed to McCarthy’s paranoia. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE Joseph McCarthy was expertly versed in utilizing rhetorical arguments to foster support for the agenda of removing legitimate or perceived Communist threats from within the United States and that stemming from international society. After emerging from World War II, nations torn apart by war began to polarize, creating centralized authorities from fractious ruling regimes torn apart by warfare. This centralization ultimately led to the development of The United States and The Soviet Union as superpowers, based on militaristic and economic growth. Coupled with ongoing threats of atomic warfare, now posing a risk from nations that had managed to procure atomic resources, Communism became a very negative connotation sparking fear from members of government. It was believed by many in the early 1950s that Communism represented a moral threat to the fabric of society and an antagonistic ideology. “You the American people could hope…even at this late date, how rapidly the sands in the hourglass of time are running out -- realize that, as of tonight, we are winning a war, winning it – I beg your pardon – losing a war, losing it deliberately and disgracefully, losing it at the tune of American blood which will continue over the weeks and months ahead” (McCarthy 2). The aforesaid quotation from McCarthy in 1952 illustrates the methodology by which McCarthy was able to foster support for his agenda, appealing with pathos, the ability to create an emotional response from an audience by appealing to suffering and experiences endured by a national population fatigued from years of difficult warfare. McCarthy established a sense of urgency through his rhetorical arguments, indicating that there must be a community-wide effort, involving all patriotic Americans, to identify and remove the threats of Communism to the United States. The McCarthy movement gained national prominence in the early 1950s, enhanced by growing support from the Catholic community in the U.S., support from the Kennedy family which was gaining notoriety and influence in government, and such organizations as the American Legion and anti-Communist women’s groups such as The Minute Women of the USA (Nickerson 2). Under social learning theory, society will often imitate the behaviors of others when they are considered credible and attractive role models. Under this theory, society will continue to model such behaviors when they witness these actions being reinforced and applauded by the social environment (Bandura 47). Groups such as the American Legion and The Minute Women of the USA regularly published anti-Communist sentiment in the form of leaflets and posters that publicized support for McCarthy’
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