Joseph McCarthy Teacher Resources

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High schoolers analyze documents, cartoons, speeches and articles about Joseph McCarthy and his crusade against "Un-American" activities. They guide their research with a worksheet and participate in class discussions about their findings.
“I have in my hand 57 cases of individuals who would appear to be either card carrying members or certainly loyal to the Communist Party. . .” Senator Joseph McCarthy certainly stirred the pot with his claims. The result was a series of legislative actions that put McCarthy in the spotlight and First Amendment rights in jeopardy.  Was Congress’s violation of the First Amendment during the McCarthy Era justified? To prepare to respond to this guiding question, class members examine a series of primary source documents including the First Amendment, the Smith Act, and Joseph McCarthy’s speech delivered February, 1950, in Wheeling, West Virginia. After group and full-class discussions, individuals craft an essay using evidence drawn from the documents to support their argument.
Eleventh graders explore and analyze the impact of the Cold War at home and how the fear of communism and nuclear war affected American life throughout the Cold War. They study what role Senator Joseph McCarthy played on American fears of communism through political cartoons.
Students investigate what constitutes an "un-American" activity and why Soviet espionage was such an important issue in the 1940's and 1950's. Joseph McCarthy's impact on American anticommunism is examined in this lesson. There are three lessons in this
Students identify the primary subjects of FBI investigation on espionage charges and in particular, the Venona project, noting how it worked and the purpose it served.
In this online interactive history quiz worksheet, students respond to 46 multiple choice questions about the Cold War. Students may submit their answers to be scored.
Students examine McCarthyism. In this Cold War lesson plan, students analyze 6 political cartoons by Herb Block that capture the essence of the Red Scare. Students discuss the cartoons and the fear of communism that permeated America. 
Students research and examine the unsavory history of the hunt for communists in the United States during the 1950s. They divide up into groups to review the Red Scare of the 1920s as a backdrop to the McCarthy era and write a short essay on the topics researched.
High schoolers read a flowchart and look at corresponding photos to explore the anti-communist fears in the mid-twentieth century and the impact Senator Joseph McCarthy had on those fears.
Students research the McCarthy hearings to determine the following: time frame of hearings, how they were broadcast, how the press reacted, and how the American people reacted in light of the Korean Conflict and the Cold War.
Is the death penalty constitutional? To prepare for a Structured Academic Controversy (SAC) activity on this topic, partners brainstorm questions and read primary source documents to find answers to their questions. Groups are then assigned a position and argue for or against the legality of the death penalty. At the conclusion of the SAC, individuals craft their own position statement, supporting their argument with evidence drawn from the discussion and the source materials
Provide learners with an excellent resource intended on imparting knowledge on the Cold War Era. Starting in 1945 and going all the way to 1991, the Cold War Era included major historical events, such as the Berlin Wall, Warsaw Pact, the Korean War, and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Lucky for you, this presentation covers all of it in an interesting and informative way.
Using the Internet, as well as textbooks, high school scholars research how Congress has evolved over the years. They examine legislative leaders and their accomplishments, compare and contrast legislative procedures in various eras, and investigate Congress's ability to change public opinion. The richly detailed packet includes a wealth of materials and resource links.
Students explore communism from historical and theoretical perspectives to present to fellow classmates at a teach-in. Each team of students be responsible for researching and presenting on one of the suggested topics in the activity.
In this online interactive history quiz activity, students respond to 50 multiple choice questions about John F. Kennedy. Students may submit their answers to be scored.
Eleventh graders are introduced to the events between the years 1949 and 1989. They list and explain key events and people that contributed to the development of the Cold War. Students are asked "what do you think Billy Joel meant by 'We didn't start the fire', and why do you think this has historical relevance, or does it?"
Tenth graders compare and contrast majority and minority outlooks on issues. In this social justice lesson, 10th graders research majority and minority values regarding the Salem Witch Trials, Plessy v. Ferguson, the McCarthy hearings, Brown v. Board of Education, and Topeka, Kansas. Students present PowerPoint presentations that feature their findings.
In this historical events instructional activity, students analyze political cartoons that feature social criticism. Students respond to 2 talking point questions.
Explore legendary cartoonist Herb Block's bold challenge of McCarthy-era politics through this analysis activity. Two cartoons are included, along with talking points to prompt analysis and background information to help pupils "read between the lines." The talking points could also be writing points, and you may want to take out some details from the prompts for more of a challenge. Additional online resources are listed for further research on Herb Block.
Examine the life of Arthur Miller and the characters in one of his well-known plays, The Crucible. The first few slides give background information on Miller as well as Senator McCarthy and the blacklisted celebrities during the Communism craze. The remaining slides focus on the Puritans and characters in the play. See how the two events are tied together, both commenting on the dangers of mass hysteria. 

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