The Crucible's premise is one that applies to all generations. All people can be persuaded sometimes by something entirely false. All people struggle with conformity. All people tend to at one time or another jump on a bandwagon.
Throughout the last 100 years in America, we have seen this occur several times. In the 50s when this was written and very relevant, Senator McCarthy was on his own sort of witch hunt. He was trying to find those who were friendly to communists. In the fifties, the cold war was going on and there was real fear that the Russians were going to get us.
In the 80s, people were out to get daycare companies and workers who did terrible things to children. Was it true that some child care workers were bad? Yes. But, the entire field was stereotyped and "witch-hunted" because of it.
Since 2001, Middle Eastern Americans or even anyone of Arab descent has been judged in airports as if them have bombs. Is it true? Well, maybe for 1 in every million.
The point with our history is that this is a pattern. It is a pattern of a bad person acting on their evil, and then an entire society reacting because of fear.