How Did Mccarthyism Impact Politics

1071 Words5 Pages
McCarthyism, a broad political campaign during the mid-twentieth century against suspected Communists in influential positions throughout America, had severe implications on the American political landscape. In what ways did McCarthyism impact politics during the time period of 1946-1953? McCarthyism impacted politics during 1946 - 1953 by allowing politicians to run on claims without evidence, the use of legislative actions, and through the rise of Nixon.
Politicians and political groups were able to run on claims without evidence, a core principle of McCarthyism. On February 9, 1950 Senator Joseph McCarthy first grabbed the attention of the public by claiming that he had a list of 57 cases of Communism. McCarthy had no actual evidence to
…show more content…
The second Red Scare was a time period where government officials were questioned whether they had Communist affiliations. To eradicate the security threats in the government, President Truman issued Executive Order 9835 to search out “infiltration of disloyal persons.” This action caused the investigation of people like Alger Hiss and other suspected Communists. The government along with the citizens set up effective ways, Blacklists, to bar Communists from getting hired for work. In 1950, Red Channels, a book that exposed 151 writers, actors, musicians, and other radio and television entertainers as Communists, was published. This book completely devastated the people on the list and placed these people on Blacklists. It was possible to get removed from Blacklists, but the procedure was very difficult and looked down upon. Any Communist or Communist sympathizer who did not clear their name would be unemployable and shunned. The government sought to eradicate Communism by also passing acts that persecuted Communists to an even greater extent. The Smith Act of 1940 claimed that if two or more people conspired to commit an action against the U.S., they would be subject to a max fine of 20,000 dollars, or 20 years of imprisonment, or both. The McCarran Act of 1950 restricted civil liberties for the sake of internal security. Both of these acts…show more content…
Nixon also used national security issues to gain prominence in Congress which led him to serve as president and vice president. To secure a seat, Nixon used many core properties of McCarthyism in his presidential campaigns. Along with the core properties of McCarthyism, Nixon supported the investigation into Alger Hiss, like McCarthy, in order to gain his political debut and soon, he became a young political star. While Nixon ran for re-election, he came to the realization that his old simplistic ways of appealing to the public would not work anymore. In Congress, Nixon was able to secure a Senate seat by implying that the opposing candidate was a Communist sympathizer because she voted against the HUAC. Nixon accused Alger Hiss, a convicted former spy for the Soviets, and pressed the HUAC to go further into the investigations until Alger Hiss was proven guilty. This investigation gave Nixon a national reputation and he was labeled as a young star. The views of Nixon made him acceptable to east and west in the early 1950s. However, Nixon was a man that would go to extreme lengths and tricks if it achieved political success. Nixon also believed that it was better to attack an opponent rather than defend, similar to McCarthyism. Nixon gained victories by attacking his opponents with blatant lies, partial truths, and confusing quotations. Not only this, but Nixon also employed arguments on distorted
Open Document