Definition of Mccarthyism

The Canada social science dictionary [1] provides the following meaning of Mccarthyism: Joseph McCarthy was elected Senator for Wisconsin and rose to public attention when in a 1950 speech he claimed to have in his hand the names of 205 individuals who were active members of the communist party, many within government itself. From this point on he campaigned against communists and others described as subversive to American interests. In 1953 he became chair of the Senate’s permanent committee of investigation and turned the committee’s attention to the pursuit of communists and subversives (including homosexuals). Although in control of this committee for a short time many people were named, many reputations damaged and public expression of dissent was silenced for a decade.

Mccarthyism: Resources

Notes and References

  • Drislane, R., & Parkinson, G. (2016). (Concept of) Mccarthyism. Online dictionary of the social sciences. Open University of Canada

Etimology of Mccarthyism

(You may find McCarthyism at the world legal encyclopedia and the etimology of more terms).

1950, with -ism + name of U.S. Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy (1908-1957), leader of U.S. anti-Communist agitation. The term is said to have been coined by “Washington Post” political cartoonist Herbert Block (“Herblock”). The surname is from Irish Mac Carthaigh “son of Carthach” (Welsh Caradawc), an ancient Celtic name, also known in its Latinized form, Caractacus (last of the British leaders to resist Rome, captured 51 C.E.)

Mccarthyism in the National Security Context

A definition and brief description of Mccarthyism in relation to national security is as follows:Period of anti-communist fervor in American politics in late 1940s and early 1950s; taken from the name of its chief proponent, U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin.





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