Mass Hysteria Many times it has been said that if people don’t learn from their mistakes they are destined to repeat them.
Such is the case throughout history. There are many different examples of this, but one example is the similarities between the witch hunts in Salem, Massachusetts and the Era of McCarthyism. During the 1600‘s, the Salem trials were the tactic of the town. It started with a couple of young girls who lied about possible witchery of a slave named Tituba. Soon all the jokes came to an end and became reality. The girls had gotten so caught up in their lies, they could no longer take back what they’ve done without severe punishment.
The Puritans had no way to publicly admit their sins. This anti-witch event caused innocent people to die. Due to the girls fear in coming clean, over a dozen innocent victims were hung and many were jailed. (Holt,830-887) During the 1950’s their was a mass hysteria of McCarthyism. McCarthyism was also known as the “Red Scare.
”McCarthyism was the act of pointing out people believed to be in the American Communist Party. Joseph McCarthy seemed to appeal to the sophisticated and wealthy people. On February 20, Sharrard 21950, McCarthy gave a speech on the senate floor claiming that he had evidence of 81 communists working in the state department (McCarthyism). This caused mass concern.
By McCarthy saying this, it would strengthen his power as a senator. In reality, there was no such proof that people or government workers were communist. Just as the witch hunts in The Crucible, there was no actual proof of dealings with the devil. The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller, was an attempt to enlighten the public about the unjust persecution of “Communists” during the 1950s. It was clear that Miller’s, The Crucible, parallels his life and times with the witch trials in Salem in the 1600s.
Abigail Williams in The Crucible is a prime example of Joseph McCarthy and his act of McCarthyism. Abigail accused people of dealings with the devil to bring them down and boost her higher on her pedestal. Abigail and McCarthy both fed on others worries. They both created.