My paper proposal centers around McCarthyism. Inspired by Senator Joseph McCarthy, this was a movement which swept through all levels of American society in the 1950s, including academia, Hollywood, the military, and the government. People feared Communism and the atheism it threatened. McCarthy began this movement with his speech “Enemies from Within” on February 9th 1950.
My paper will not focus on the morality (or immorality) of Senator McCarthy or McCarthyism. Instead it will focus on the effects that this movement and his actions had. I will research the central Pennsylvania area and Washington DC to see how McCarthyism affected the average American and also the political spectrum. The central question to this paper is this: What did McCarthyism mean for the 1950s American?