McCarthy's Americans: Red Scare Politics in State and Nation, 1935-1965

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Was the communist witch-hunt unleashed by Senator Joe McCarthy an aberration, or has red scare politics been an intrinsic part of American political life since the 1930s? Was McCarthyism a populist or an elitist phenomenon? Was Senator McCarthy virtually irrelevant to the phenomenon?

McCarthy's Americans shows that some of the contending interpretations of McCarthyism are mutually compatible and reveals the importance of pressures usually overlooked. M. J. Heale's deeply probing...

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Overview

Was the communist witch-hunt unleashed by Senator Joe McCarthy an aberration, or has red scare politics been an intrinsic part of American political life since the 1930s? Was McCarthyism a populist or an elitist phenomenon? Was Senator McCarthy virtually irrelevant to the phenomenon?

McCarthy's Americans shows that some of the contending interpretations of McCarthyism are mutually compatible and reveals the importance of pressures usually overlooked. M. J. Heale's deeply probing study of McCarthy's "hinterland" in the American states demonstrates that what is usually called McCarthyism was part of a political cycle that emerged in the 1930s and took two decades to run its course.

Heale also argues that much of the red scare dynamic came from the big cities and the white South. It was here that a range of interests exhibiting a fundamentalist fury with the changing times that the political order had fashioned during the New Deal years rested on fragile foundations. Defying the "consensus liberalism" of the 1950s, McCarthy and, more important, the many little McCarthys in the states kept alive a brand of right-wing politics, preparing the way for George Wallace in the 1960s and the revitalized conservatism of Richard Nixon in the 1970s and Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820320267
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1998
  • Pages: 392
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

M. J. Heale is a professor of American history at Lancaster University in Great Britain.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Abbreviations
Preface
Pt. I Red Scare Politics in the States 1
1 The Politics of Exposure: Investigating Committees 7
2 The Politics of Patriotism: Loyalty Oaths 28
3 The Politics of Regulation: Communist-Control Laws 54
Pt. II Red Scare Politics in Michigan 79
4 Class Conflict and Party Politics, 1933-1945 83
5 The Republican Offensive, 1945-1950 104
6 The Triumph of Liberalism? 1950-1954 125
Pt. III Red Scare Politics in Massachusetts 149
7 The Contours of Red Scare Politics, 1935-1945 153
8 The Populist Assault, 1945-1952 171
9 Red Scare and Resolution, 1953-1962 191
Pt. IV Red Scare Politics in Georgia 213
10 Defending the Old Order, 1935-1948 218
11 Controlling Communist Subversion, 1948-1956 234
12 The Red Scare as Last Hurrah, 1956-1966 254
Pt. V Conclusion 277
13 McCarthyism in State and Nation 281
Notes and References 302
Index 355
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