Q:

What impact did Joseph McCarthy have on American society?

A:

Quick Answer

Joseph McCarthy had a negative impact on American society in that he compelled the American public to enter a state of anti-communist hysteria so severe that innocent people were maligned, ostracized, blacklisted and in some cases, imprisoned. According to the Reference Dictionary, McCarthyism is defined as "the political practice of publicizing accusations of disloyalty or subversion with insufficient regard to evidence."

Know More
What impact did Joseph McCarthy have on American society?
Credit: PhotoQuest Archive Photos Getty Images

Full Answer

Joseph McCarthy, a senator from Wisconsin, rose to prominence as a member of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. He accused thousands of American citizens of being communists or communist sympathizers. Prominent among the accused were many Hollywood celebrities, government employees, union activists and educators. Suspicion was often regarded as proof, and witnesses were threatened into revealing lists of supposed communist sympathizers to protect themselves. Many of the accused were publicly disgraced and lost their jobs. McCarthy used television to make many of the hearings public.

McCarthy's downfall came in 1954 during the Army-McCarthy hearings, which were broadcast live on television. He began to attack and insult decorated members of the armed forces, causing President Eisenhower and the U.S. Senate to censure him on 46 charges of abusing his legislative powers. In 1957, McCarthy died of complications brought on by severe alcoholism.

Learn More

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What did the Indians teach the Pilgrims to plant?

    A:

    According to the Plimouth Plantation, the Wampanoag tribe taught the Pilgrims how to grow Indian corn. Indian corn is a different variety of corn than the type that is familiar to most Americans.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Where is Albert Einstein buried?

    A:

    Albert Einstein was not buried; he was cremated, and the location of his ashes is unknown. Einstein died in 1955 at a New Jersey hospital at the age of 76. The cause was internal bleeding, stemming from a burst aneurysm.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is Jim Jones's ethnicity?

    A:

    The Reverend Jim Jones claimed that his high cheekbones and dark hair were due to the Cherokee blood from his mother's side. He stated that his immediate family was interracial by adoption and that he was a man of many racial and ethnic streams, but did not further specify ethnicity.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What were Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Beliefs?

    A:

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. believed in the racial and ethnic equality of all people, nonviolent protest and the beloved community. King was a pacifist who patterned his protests after Mahatma Gandhi, who worked for social change without using violence.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore