The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

What Joseph McCarthy did was justified.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/14/2017 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 862 times Debate No: 98969
Debate Rounds (4)
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The argument is that Joseph McCarthy was justified in his actions. I will be arguing for the PRO.

Opening statement:
Joseph McCarthy was vilified and eventually censured by the American political system for his staunch stance against communism and, to a lesser extent, homosexuals. I will cover his exact stance and the reasons behind it in my rebuttal as I do not want to be long winded in my opening statement. To this day, he has not been fully exonerated by the court of public opinion and if you go through any regular high school, it is likely that you will only hear bad things about him. He was called paranoid and his critics believe the accusations he made were lies and ridiculous even if true. However, he was not paranoid and his accusations were true and just.

As I said, I do not want to get in depth in my opening statement, so I will cede the forum to my opponent with this saying: McCarthy was right.


I accept the challenge. This should be a very interesting debate.
Debate Round No. 1


When people discuss McCarthy, they think about things like the Communist Control Act of 1954; however, to really understand the situation we have to look at the Smith Act from 1940. The Act was made to prevent subversion of certain political ideologies into the US government -- most notably communism and fascism -- in order to prevent authoritarian regimes from getting into power and changing the political system from the inside out.

Now, the back story here is incredibly important because it will help us understand McCarthy's fears AND the reason he was so popular. He made his famous speech in Wheeling, West Virginia in February 1950. This was less than a year after the Soviets tested an atomic bomb, a year after China was lost to communism, and in the middle of MILLIONS of deaths by communist on a scale that outpaced even the Nazi party of the 1940's. As Americans at the time were living just after they had witnessed all the Nazi atrocities, they were in a sense of hyper-sensitivity to genocide. Add in the fact that most Americans at the time were devoutly Christian, and many of the killings by the Communist parties in Europe and Asia were being killed for religious reasons, their sensitivity is more than understandable.

In January of the year of McCarthy's speech, Alger Hiss was tried for treason. The details of that trial are not overly important beyond the fact that the statute of limitations was up for treason; however, they did find that he did in fact commit treason and he was convicted of perjury. Add in the fact that there had been long standing rumors of Soviet infiltration in the government for years before and there were continual reports that the government was unwilling or unable to do anything about it and you form the basis for the beginnings of McCarthyism.

Now, considering the political landscape, it is hard to call it a historical injustice. Those who went on trial due to the wave of McCarthyism were given their full rights including the go to "I plead the fifth" right that most of them ended up using. The question is why did they have to plead the fifth? It was not because of any law passed by Republicans or anyone to do with a law McCarthy put in place... in fact, it was due to previous laws put in place by Democrats. This is important because of the Democrat surge against McCarthy. His speech was about upholding laws previously put in place. The laws were put in place to prevent fascist and communist card-carrying members from holding government positions because of recent examples in history showing the overthrow of governments by them.
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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
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