What is McCarthyism? And how did it happen?

This What is McCarthyism? And how did it happen? video also includes:

Who was Joseph McCarthy and why is his name synonymous with witch hunts? What were the factors that permitted the political repression of the 1950s to flourish? Could the same thing happen today? An intriguing video traces the rise and fall of McCarthyism.

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Instructional Ideas
  • Flip the lesson to have class members view the video, complete the comprehension check, and research some of the links out of class before returning for discussion
  • Ask groups to investigate the role Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan played in the investigations
  • Have groups search for parallels between the events of the 1950s and today
  • Include the video in a unit that includes Arthur Miller's drama The Crucible
Classroom Considerations
  • Because of the controversy surrounding the issues presented in the video, be sure a protocol is in place for the safe, respectful discussion of the topic
Pros
  • The video details the factors that created the fear that permitted the repression to occur
Cons
  • None