Monday, April 20

The Red Menace + McCarthyism unit study

During the Cold War, Americans believed that communism was attempting to infiltrate every aspect of their lives. Senator Joseph McCarthy led the search to ferret out Communists in America.  If he were alive today, which cause do you think he'd champion?

The fear of communist activity was known as The Red Scare, and Joseph McCarthy helped to instigate and prolong the country's unease.  McCarthy was a Republican senator from Wisconsin and was the leader behind the ethos of McCarthyism.  The term was created in 1950 by a writer at the Washington Post.  McCarthyism was the practice of accusing and detaining suspects deemed to be a security threat or disloyal to the United States, thus minimizing the threat of communism.  

Investigations ranged from the federal government to Hollywood to American citizens in general.  No one was safe because McCarthy was the judge, jury, and executioner.  His insidious campaign of identifying and eliminating suspected communists last from 1950 to 1954.
"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men--not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular." ~Edward R. Murrow\
It wasn't until many years after the Cold War ended, and his death, that McCarthy was looked upon in a new light.  He was a crusader against communism, and he did help to ferret out some anti-American activity, but his legacy is one of being a bully who violated civil liberties.  Historians hope that McCarthy will serve as an example for future politicians.

Our spine read for this unit is The Red Menace

Access the complete unit in the American History Novel Studies Bundle!

Includes sixteen unit studies covering American History. Each unit addresses a new topic, spanning the Revolutionary War to Vietnam.  Each unit has introductory text, which will give the student basic background information about the topic at hand.

  • There are photographs and illustrations, and we have also included primary documents when available.
  • After this text, there are featured videos, which augment the background information and help make the topic more accessible for more visual students.
  • You will also find a short list of reading books, including a featured novel that the unit builds upon.
  • There are vocabulary words, places, and people to identify.
  • Reading comprehension, critical thinking questions, and writing assignments are included.
  • We add fun with hands-on activities and extra videos to watch that will bring the era to life.
  • Some units also have cooking projects.

These studies are directed toward upper grades students, but some have resources for younger students so that the whole family can work together. Our family has used unit studies as curriculum for many years, and we hope that your family will enjoy these, too!

Product sample:  Paper Son & Angel Island Immigration  & Within These Lines & Japanese Internment

  • Casualties of War & Vietnam War
  • No Promises in the Wind & the Great Depression
  • Out of the Dust & the Dust Bowl
  • The Watsons Go to Birmingham & Civil Rights
  • Dusty Sourdough & Alaska
  • The King of Mulberry Street & Ellis Island Immigration
  • Paper Son & Angel Island Immigration
  • The Red Menace & McCarthyism
  • Johnny Tremain & Faces of the American Revolution
  • Sounder & Sharecropping
  • World War II Code Talkers
  • Flashback Four: Hamilton-Burr Duel
  • Within These Lines & Japanese Internment Camps
  • Flashback Four: Titanic Mission
  • Flashback Four: Lincoln Project
  • The Diviners / The Great Gatsby & Roaring Twenties


  1. This book looks great! I think I'll have my 14 year old son read it this summer. It looks like something he would enjoy.

    1. I'd say let him draw some parallels - as my 15yo could - but let's let them stay kids instead. :)


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