Apart from the US Government, who was the major bystander/bystanders during the McCarthy hearings?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I would say that a major bystander in the McCarthy hearings would have to be the people who failed to criticize what McCarthy was doing. We praise the words of Joseph Welch and the work of Edward Murrow and Fred Friendly.  Yet, we really do not speak to the American people who sat still while McCarthy assumed great power and his trials became publicly consumed.  I think that the public that remains silent is such an issue because no public outcry and no public demands for change enables McCarthy's rise to be possible and enables the trials to have so much power.  It makes sense that in order for evil to prosper and exist, good people need to take no action.  This is where I think that the people of the time period are automatically to be case as bystanders.  In not recalling political power to vote people like McCarthy out of office and in not demanding more change in the climate of fear that drove the McCarthy hearings, I think that the public needs to shoulder some blame.  American History has shown that bad things tend to happen when the public surrenders to fear and capitulates to being led.  This is what ends up happening in the case of the McCarthy hearings and the reason why I think the public can shoulder blame as being a bystander in what happened in the rise of McCarthy.

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