American History And The Crucible By Arthur Miller

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During the Red Scare of the 1940r’s – 1950r’s, hundreds of innocent Americans were accused of being either communists or communist sympathizers. Much like in The Crucible by Arthur Miller, people of these eras were accused and convicted with little or no evidence at all. During the time of the Red Scare this was called McCarthyism. It was named after Joseph McCarthy, who was a Wisconsin Senator, after he accused countless government officials of being communist spies. These accused politicians and citizens were then wrongfully accused just as witches were accused during the Salem Witch Trials.

Today America is mostly astounded and ashamed of both the Salem Witch Trials and the era of McCarthyism. Both events cost countless innocent people their lives, jobs, reputations, and more. If you were accused of being a communist you had two choices, confess to your crimes and name other communists or you could deny the accusation and eventually be blacklisted. This meant that no matter what you did your reputation would be destroyed. If you sold people out and confess, then no one would want to be around a communist snitch. If you denied that you were a communist then you would most likely be blacklisted and the no one would associate with you. This was much like the trials in The Crucible in that you could either deny the charges and most likely be hanged, or you could confess and have your reputation destroyed. Both of these choices were exhibited by many characters throughout The Crucible. For example, it is heard that many unnamed people have confessed to witchcraft and have been sentenced to jail time. In doing so they saved their own lives. However, John Proctor refuses to let his name be dragged through the mud and tears up his confession. He allowed himself to be hung as an example to everyone else in what the court would do to an innocent man.

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