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Joseph McCarthy became a United States Senator for the State of Wisconsin, in January of 1947. After losing popularity within the Senate, McCarthy utilized a speech in Wheeling, West Virginia to announce a communist plot that he had discovered within the United States Government. Given the situation with the Soviet Union and the Cold War, his accusations brought him to prominence, as he became the leader of the McCarthyism movement that swept the nation. McCarthyism ruined many lives, from government officials to actors, until the unsubstantiated accusations were investigated and found to be false. The author of this paper will focus on the effects McCarthyism had throughout the country, while exploring its methods and outcomes. This paper will also illustrate that Senator McCarthy initiated this witch-hunt in order to expand his own power within the Senate, while utilizing that influence in the campaigns of fellow Republicans and securing a second term for himself as well.
Joseph Raymond McCarthy Was born on November 14, 1908 in Grand Chute, Wisconsin. He graduated with a Law degree from Marquette University in 1935. In 1942, after a relatively brief career as a lawyer and judge, McCarthy joined the United States Marine Corps. He believed that distinguished military service in the Marines would be a benefit for his upcoming political career. McCarthy saw limited action during World War II and was discharged after thirty months of service.1 During his last few months on active duty, McCarthy unsuccessfully ran for a Senate position in Wisconsin. When that failed, he returned to his position as a circuit court judge, with the hopes of better preparing himself for a Senate campaign in 1946. While campaigning for the Republican Senate nomination, McCarthy consistently smeared current three-term Senator Robert M. La Follette Jr. McCarthy utilized his brief stint in the military as an advantage over La Follette, who had not enlisted ...
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