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The Salem Witch Trials vs. McCarthyism

By: Pat Makseyn

Topic: Compare and Contrast the Salem Witch Trials (1692) to the Witch-hunt during the McCarthyism era (1950s).

Question: Can history repeat itself? These two events (eras) in our history were spawned more by hysteria. Using the Topic above, determine what the religious, political, and historical implications of each event are.

Grade Level: Grade 11 or 12

Content Area: U.S. History

Tools Needed: Availability of a computer lab for approximately three to five days for the entire class in the computer lab. This computer lab must have Internet accessibility for each student to use. Besides having a web browser, each computer must have the programs Real Audio and Microsoft Media Player or Real Player installed in order to view the multimedia sites listed.

Web Sites:

Salem Witches:

Salem Witch Trials:

Timeline of the Salem Witch Panic and Trials:

Chronology of Events leading up to Salem Witch Trial

Notable Women Accused of Witchcraft:

The Salem Witch Trials:

Witchcraft: A Brief History:

National Geographic's site

The Discovery Channel's site:

Witchcraft in Salem (Actual documents)

"The Devil hath been raised"- introduction:

The Seeds of the Salem Witch Hunt:

20th Century Witch Hunter:

Historic Salem:


Puritans and who they were:




The Cold War:

Essay on Senator Joseph R. McCarthy:

Essay on Blacklisting in Hollywood:

CNN, 50 years later:

McCarthyism-A Multimedia Presentation:"

McCarthyism In The 1950s:

Dr. Fred Schwarz, "You Can Trust the Communists (to be Communists)":

How to Learn From the Blacklist:

Naming Names-"The Social Costs:

Hollywood Blacklist:

Implementing Lesson:

Students will first break into manageable groups of three to four students depending upon class size. Each group will share in completing the worksheet below by searching the above Internet sites to answer the questions. After answering all the questions on the worksheet, it will be used by the students individually when doing the Brainstorming on the John Collins Writing.


Completion of the John Collins Writing. A Level 3 writing can take approximately up to one week or less to complete.

RUBRIC    (John Collins Writing Assignment)