This is the "What is McCarthyism? Define your topic." page of the "Mrs. Walsh: English II: American History & Culture Research " guide.
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Mrs. Walsh: English II: American History & Culture Research  

Your topic will focus on American history and culture of the 1930's. This library guide will serve as an example for how to use our databases to research your topic. However, my sample topic will be about McCarthyism of the 1950's.
Last Updated: Apr 16, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

What is McCarthyism? Define your topic. Print Page

Books in the Library

Dictionaries & Encyclopedias

Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary - Springfield, Mass. Merriam-Webster, Inc.
Call Number: R 423 WEB 2003
Publication Date: 2003

The World Book encyclopedia of people and places.
Call Number: R 031 WOR

Encyclopedia Britannica - Britannica
Call Number: R 031 ENC

Define Key Terms of your topic for understanding.

You want to make sure you understand the key terms, phrases, and concepts regarding your topic so that you can build a research strategy. Besides the obvious print materials you may find in the library (see box to the left), you can consult on online dictionary and/or encyclopedia to get the very basic information about your topic.  Do not rely on these materials for the entirety of your research--this is just the beginning of the research process.

Oxford English Dictionary   Encyclopedia Britannica

McCarthyism definition from Oxford English Dictionary:

Pronunciation:  Brit. /məˈkɑːθɪɪz(ə)m, U.S. /məˈkɑrθiˌɪzəm/

Etymology:  < the name of Joseph R. McCarthy (1908–57), U.S. Republican senator + -ism suffix.

McCarthy came to prominence in February 1950 with his public charge that 205 communists had infiltrated the U.S. state department. This culminated in spring 1954 in a 36-day televised hearing to investigate supposed subversives in the U.S. army; McCarthy's aggressive interrogation methods at this hearing led to his loss of public support and subsequent removal from office later that year.

Originally: the policy of identifying (suspected) Communists and removing them from government departments or other positions, pursued by McCarthy in the United States in the 1950s. In extended use: any form of persecutory investigation likened to that conducted by McCarthy.

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