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discuss red scare or mccarthyism - Essay Example
When Lord Tennyson wrote that "freedom broadens slowly down from precedent to precedent", he gave full rein to poetic fancy that bore no relation to human history. American history, for instance, shows that absolute freedom is a myth, in that freedom at any point of time is determined by the circumstances and the context in which it is exercised…
Abridgement of civil liberties had had to be resorted to by the United States administration even during the Civil War in the 1860s, and even later. Many Americans had initially resented deprivation, or curtailment, of their freedoms by Abraham Lincoln, but they got reconciled to it considering the imperatives of preserving the Union and abolishing slavery. But McCarthy went berserk in his self-assumed crusade against communists who, he believed till his death shortly after his disgrace, had sneaked into the United States government. Maybe he would have got away with it, or at least got off lightly, if he had not spread his net of suspicion wide enough to include writers, Hollywood celebrities, and even common people; and when McCarthy finally pointed an accusing finger at the United States Army, he met his Waterloo. But by then he had already done irreparable damage to America's democratic institutions. Little wonder, therefore, that even today McCarthyism is synonymous with crucification of innocent American citizens on the cross of unsubstantiated charges. It is against this background that the book, "Give Me Liberty: An American History" by Eric Foner becomes essential reading.
"McCarthyism is often referred to as the Second Red Scare, as the (first) Red Scare refers to a time in which Am ...