Scoundrel Time Themes

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Roots of McCarthyism

Garry Wills, author of several books including "Nixon Agonistes" wrote the introduction to "Scoundrel Time" by Lillian Hellman. In his introduction, Wills explains that the environment of distrust was put in motion by President Harry S. Truman in 1947, several years before the House began their investigations of private citizens perceived to be un-American. After the House began its inquiries, Joseph McCarthy got on the bandwagon in the Senate and propelled further investigations and ultimately began bringing charges. He went after these targeted people, while gaining publicity for himself, in an aggressive, unrelenting manner. This dark chapter in American government culminated during his involvement and thus the era has been connected to his name.

McCarthyism has become synonymous with "overreach" and "witch hunting." "McCarthyism" is now a word in the dictionary with the following definition: "the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, esp. of pro-Communist activity, in...

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This section contains 1,033 words
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Buy the Scoundrel Time Study Guide
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