Great Senate Debates

Great Senate Debates: The Censure of Senator Joseph McCarthy


The United States Senate has long been the scene of some of this nation’s most important oratory. The Institute brings these decisive deliberations to life in its newest program, Great Senate Debates. Blending live performance with historic film footage and archival images, this inspiring 20-minute program looks at the context and importance of crucial turning points in Senate history, and reflects on their impact to our lives today.

Great Senate Debates: The Censure of Sen. Joseph McCarthy presents the circumstances and speeches that led to the formal disapproval — or “censure” — of Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) in 1954. In the midst of Soviet expansion and domestic fear of Communism, Senator McCarthy appealed to Americans' anxieties and suspicions, making often baseless attacks on his victims and enemies. His allegations of communist sympathies spanned throughout every level of government, from Army staffers to the highest levels of the executive branch.

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