Joseph McCarthy

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Grand Chute, Wisconsin
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Senator Joseph Raymond McCarthy was a Republican who served in the United States Senate for ten years, from 1947 to 1957, representing Wisconsin. He is a ruthless politician who will go to any length to discredit his opponents in order to gain an advantage. In reality, it was his anti-communist activities and habit of accusing his opponents of wrongdoings that led to the name ‘McCarthyism’ being coined. He began his anti-communist methods by fueling rumors that there were a big number of communist spies inside the US government during an era when widespread communist subversion was at its pinnacle. While running for the United States Senate in 1946, he made various claims about his opponent Robert M. La Follette Jr.’s character, but was ultimately defeated. He was a popular speaker, and following a Lincoln’s Day speech at a Republican Women’s Club, his celebrity skyrocketed. With his popularity growing, he proceeded to play on people’s fears of communism by making false accusations against the government without providing any evidence. He was also a homophobe who ran an anti-homosexual campaign alongside his anti-communist efforts. His actions drew a lot of criticism, and he was reprimanded for his inappropriate behavior.

Childhood and Adolescence

McCarthy is the youngest of Timothy McCarthy and Bridget Tierney’s seven children. He came from a mixed ancestry family.

When he was 14, he dropped out of school to work on his parents’ farm.

At the age of 20, he returned to school and graduated from Little Wolf High School in 1929.
He went to college to study engineering but soon changed his mind and decided to pursue a career in law. In 1935, he graduated from Marquette University Law School with a law degree.

Career

In 1936, he began working at Michael Everlin’s law company. During this period, he also ran for district attorney as a Democrat, but was unsuccessful.

Undaunted by his failure, he ran a strong campaign in 1939 for the position of District Circuit Judge in Appleton, and he was elected. To supplement his income, he began gambling.

As an attorney, he handled many of his cases quickly and efficiently, quickly reducing the backlog that he had inherited when he took office. This sparked some discussion.

He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1942, after the United States entered World War II, despite the fact that his position as a judge precluded him from military service.

He rose to the rank of second lieutenant and worked for a dive bomber squadron as an intelligence briefing officer. By the time he left the Marine Corps, he had risen to the rank of captain. To advance his political career, he made numerous false statements about his time as a Marine.

In 1944, while still on active duty, he ran for the Republican Senate but was unsuccessful. In 1945, he resigned from the Marine Corps and returned to his job as a circuit court judge.

Aspiring politician, he ran a strong campaign against three-term Senator Robert M. La Follette, Jr. for the Republican Senate primary nomination in 1946.

He accused La Follette of not enlisting in the war and of war profiteering during his campaign, damaging his opponent’s reputation. McCarthy eventually won the elections.

He was a popular speaker and active participant in labor-management disputes during his first years in the Senate. He was, however, chastised for his quick temper and impatience.

In February 1950, he gave a speech in Wheeling, when he revealed a list of 205 Communists in the State Department. This was at a time when communist concerns were running high in the United States, and his speech made national news.

The Tydings Committee, a subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chaired by Democrat Millard Tydings, called a hearing on McCarthy’s allegations.

McCarthy’s assertions about the list altered constantly, and he claimed that Owen Lattimore, a former State Department adviser, was a Russian spy at one point. However, he was unable to provide any specific evidence to back up his claims.

His actions drew a lot of attention, and his popularity skyrocketed for a time. But he had his enemies, one of whom was cartoonist Herbert Block of the ‘Washington Post,’ who coined the word ‘McCarthyism’ to describe demagoguery and unfounded accusations.

McCarthy was re-elected to the Senate in 1952, after defeating Thomas Fairchild in the general election. In 1953, he was appointed chair of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. He utilized his position to probe government communists and to appoint anti-communists to his office.

The McCarthy Committee began examining communist activities in the army in 1953, and accused Army dentist Irving Peress and General Ralph Zwicker of being involved.

In 1954, the Army-McCarthy hearings were held to look into the opposing claims made by the US Army and McCarthy. The hearings drew a lot of press attention and were broadcast live on television. As a result, McCarthy’s reputation was severely tarnished.

McCarthy’s tactics made him unpopular in Congress, and Republican Senator Ralph E. Flanders filed a resolution to condemn him in 1954. The special committee to review the resolution was chaired by Senator Arthur Vivian Watkins.
McCarthy was censured on two counts by the Watkins Committee, and the Senate voted 67 to 22 to condemn him in December 1954.

His image was badly tarnished as a result of the censure, and his political career suffered as a result.

Personal History and Legacy

In 1953, he married Jean Kerr. In 1957, the couple adopted a daughter.
Following his censure, his health rapidly deteriorated. In 1957, he died as a result of his worsening health and  drunkenness.

Senator Joseph McCarthy’s Net Worth

Senator Joseph McCarthy’s net worth was estimated to be between $1 and $5 million before his death, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, IMDb, and other online sources. As a professional politician, he earned the money. He is from Wisconsin.

Trivia

Senator John Iselin, a character in Richard Condon’s novel “The Manchurian Candidate,” is based on real figure.
This politician was represented by actor Peter Boyle in the Emmy Award-winning television film ‘Tail Gunner Joe’ in 1977.