Character Analysis: Styles Bridges

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10. Styles Bridges Styles Bridges, a Republican Senator from New Hampshire from 1937 until his death in 1961, was an uncommonly ardent anticommunist, and a steadfast defender of the more famous Joseph McCarthy. He is one of the few to have voted against McCarthy’s censure in 1954, and supported the “witch hunts” which took place during the Second Red Scare, as well as the persecution of gay civil servants during the so-called “lavender scare.” These actions alone would convince many that he was a rather unsavory character, but his infamy lies in his treatment of Senator Lester Hunt of Wyoming, a Democrat, in 1953-4. Hunt’s son was gay, and had been arrested for trying to solicit sex from an undercover policeman. Bridges threatened to publicize …show more content…

9. Pat McCarran Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada was a member of the overzealously anti-Communist group of Senators who collaborated with and supported Joseph McCarthy. Unlike McCarthy, however, McCarran was less focused on demagoguery to promote his “brand” and more focused on putting McCarthy’s words into concrete legislation. McCarran’s magnum opus in this effort was the Internal Security Act of 1950. The law ordered all Communist organizations to register with the Attorney General, and created a board to investigate people suspected of sympathy with Communism. Those individuals found to be “Reds” were barred from leaving the country or working in government. McCarran also wrote the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, which allowed the government to restrict visas and citizenship based on political affiliation. This meant that many esteemed international figures—including Gabriel García Márquez, Pablo Neruda, and Michael Foucault—were not allowed to enter the country. When McCarran died in office in 1954, his name was held in rather high regard; an airport had even been named after him. However, decades later, his position as the political “boss” of Nevada and his anti-Semitism, along with the Supreme Court’s ruling that several provisions of the Internal Security Act were unconstitutional, have tarnished his …show more content…

7. John E. Rankin If there were an award for the figure most often on the wrong side of history, John E. Rankin, a Congressman from Mississippi, would be the frontrunner for it. Rankin, who served from 1921 to 1953, was one of the most vicious bigots Congress has ever seen. A sympathizer of the Ku Klux Klan, Rankin was a leading disenfranchiser of blacks for decades. Rankin opposed allowing black soldiers fighting in the Second World War to vote; stated that Americans lost battles because of the cowardice of black soldiers; proposed prohibiting interracial marriage; and deliberately tried to exclude black veterans from the GI Bill. Rankin was also an avowed anti-Semite and Japanophobe. He proposed incarcerating all Japanese-Americans in camps, and quietly threatened American Jews with an American Holocaust, saying that Jews “have been run out of practically every country in Europe in the years gone by, and if they keep stirring race trouble in this country and trying to force their communistic program on the Christian people of America, there is no telling what will happen to them here.” Perhaps the best summation of Rankin’s horridness, bordering on evil, is a brief, infuriating

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