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Joseph Raymond McCarthy was a Republican U.S. Senator from the state of Wisconsin between 1947 and 1957. Beginning in 1950, McCarthy became the most visible public face of a period of extreme anti-communist suspicion inspired by the tensions of the Cold War. He was noted for making unsubstantiated claims that there were large numbers of Communists and Soviet spies and sympathizers inside the federal government. Ultimately, his tactics led to his being discredited and censured by the United States Senate. The term "McCarthyism," coined in 1950 in reference to McCarthy's practices, was soon applied to similar anti-communist pursuits. Today the term is used more generally to describe demagogic, reckless, and unsubstantiated accusations, as well as public attacks on the character or patriotism of political opponents.

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Joseph Raymond McCarthy was a Republican U.S. Senator from the state of Wisconsin between 1947 and 1957. Beginning in 1950, McCarthy became the most visible public face of a period of extreme anti-communist suspicion inspired by the tensions of the Cold War. He was noted for making unsubstantiated claims that there were large numbers of Communists and Soviet spies and sympathizers inside the federal government. Ultimately, his tactics led to his being discredited and censured by the United States Senate. The term "McCarthyism," coined in 1950 in reference to McCarthy's practices, was soon applied to similar anti-communist pursuits. Today the term is used more generally to describe demagogic, reckless, and unsubstantiated accusations, as well as public attacks on the character or patriotism of political opponents. More...

 
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