Paranoia Salem Witch Trials

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How Paranoia and blame Affected the Salem Witch Trials and the McCarthy hearings

In the 1690’s, a wave of fear for the devil washed over Salem, Massachusetts, resulting in the accusations of 200 supposed witches and the execution of 20. Almost 200 years later, after World War II, communists were highly feared. The strong urge to stay away from communists led to the McCarthy hearings where many innocent people were accused and tried for being communists. The Salem trials and the McCarthy hearings have many ties, the two closest being how paranoia highly affected the actions of individuals related to the cases and that the only way to save one’s self was to blame others.
During the strange events known as the Salem witch trials, paranoia was …show more content…

During the witch trials, the accused were interrogated and forced to plead guilty of witchcraft or die. Most pleaded guilty just to save their life, but they were also forced to give up the names of other “witches”. Blaming others could also direct the blame from the accused to someone else, this way the accused could escape the pain and shame of being called a witch. In Cotton Mather Biography, it is stated that, “As the trials progressed, and growing numbers of person confesses to being witches.” This portrays the on going snowball effect of blaming other people of witchcraft. This is also depicted in the McCarthy hearings, for accused communists were pressured to give up the other communists. In the article “Wikidot: McCarthy’s Communist Witch Hunt” by unknown, it is mentioned that “During the Red Scare, McCarthy had employees of many companies sign loyalty oaths that stated they were not a communist or sympathized with any communists and the best way to get around any further questioning was to shove the blame towards another person.” This exemplifies the fact that blame was always shifted to someone else, causing the issues to last far too

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