Joseph McCarthy - Political Leaders, Career and Family

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Joseph McCarthy's Personal Details

Joseph R

InformationDetail
BirthdayNovember 14, 1908
Died onMay 2, 1957
NationalityAmerican
FamousLeaders, Political Leaders
SpousesJean Kerr McCarthy
Known asJoseph Raymond McCarthy
Childrens Tierney Elizabeth McCarthy
Universities
  • Marquette University Law School
Cause of deathAlcoholism
Birth PlaceGrand Chute, Wisconsin, United States
Political IdeologyRepublican, Democratic
ReligionRoman Catholic
GenderMale
FatherTimothy McCarthy
MotherBridget Tierney McCarthy
Sun SignScorpio
Born inGrand Chute, Wisconsin, United States
Died at Age48

// Famous Leaders

Joseph McCarthy's photo

Who is Joseph McCarthy?

Joseph Raymond McCarthy was a Republican U.S. Senator who represented Wisconsin for 10 years from 1947 to 1957. A highly ambitious politician he would go to any length to defame his opponents in order to gain an upper hand. In fact, it was his anti-communist practices and the habit of accusing his opponents of wrongdoings that led to the coining of the term ‘McCarthyism’. He began his anti-communist tactics during the period when the fear of widespread communist subversion was at its peak by fuelling rumours that there were a large number of communist spies inside the U.S. government. He made several accusations on the character of his opponent Robert M. La Follette Jr. while running for the U.S. Senate in 1946, ultimately defeating him. He was a popular speaker and his fame reached phenomenal rise after a Lincoln’s Day speech at a Republican Women’s Club. Buoyed by his rising popularity, he continued to exploit the fear of communism in the minds of people by making false claims against the government without any concrete proof. He was also a homophobic and paralleled his anti-communist activities with an anti-homosexual campaign. His behaviour earned him a lot of criticisms and he was censured for his improper conduct.

// Famous Political Leaders

Childhood & Early Life

McCarthy was born to Timothy McCarthy and Bridget Tierney as one of their seven children. He was of mixed ancestry.

He dropped out of school when he was 14 to work on his parents’ farm.

He returned to school in 1929 at the age of 20 and graduated from Little Wolf High School.

He went to college to study engineering but soon switched to law. He received his law degree from Marquette University Law School in 1935.

Career

He started working at the law firm of Michael Everlin in 1936. During this time, he also ran as a Democrat for district attorney, albeit, unsuccessfully.

Undaunted by his defeat, he launched a forceful campaign in 1939 to become District Circuit judge in Appleton and he was successful in his endeavor. He also started gambling to earn extra money.

As an attorney, he dispatched many of his cases with great speed and was quick to reduce the already accumulated backlog he had inherited upon taking the office. This created some controversy.

He joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1942 after U.S. joined the World War II in spite of the fact that his status as a judge exempted him from compulsory duty.

He became a second lieutenant and served as an intelligence briefing officer for a dive bomber squadron. He reached the rank of captain by the time he left the Marine Corps. He made many false claims about his Marine stint to boost his political career.

He campaigned for the Republican Senate while still on active duty in 1944 but was defeated. He resigned from the Marine Corps in 1945 and rejoined his position as a circuit court judge.

An aspiring politician, he launched a persuasive campaign for the 1946 Republican Senate primary nomination challenging the three-time Senator Robert M. La Follette, Jr.

During his campaign, he accused La Follette of not enlisting in the war and of war profiteering which damaged his opponent’s reputation. Ultimately McCarthy won the elections.

During his initial years at the Senate he was a popular speaker who was actively involved in labor-management issues. However, he was also criticized for his quick temper and impatience.

He gave a speech in Wheeling in February 1950 where he displayed a list of 205 Communists in the State Department. This came at a time where fears of communism were running high in the U.S. and his speech became national headlines.

A hearing on McCarthy’s charges was called by the Tydings Committee—a subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee--headed by Democrat Millard Tydings.

McCarthy changed his statements regarding the list frequently and at one point stated that Owen Lattimore, a former State Department adviser was a Russian spy. However, he was not able to produce any concrete proofs to support his accusations.

His behaviour invited a lot of publicity and his popularity soared for a while. But he also had his detractors, one of them being the ‘Washington Post’ cartoonist Herbert Block who framed the term ‘McCarthyism’ to denote demagoguery and baseless defamation.

In 1952, McCarthy was reelected to the Senate having defeated Thomas Fairchild in the general elections. He was made chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in 1953. He used this position to investigate communists in the government and appointed other anti-communists in his office.

In 1953, the McCarthy Committee started investigating communist activities in the army and placed accusations on Army dentist Irving Peress and General Ralph Zwicker.

The Army-McCarthy hearings were convened in 1954 to investigate the conflicting accusations between the U.S. Army and McCarthy. The hearings received considerable press coverage and also included live television footage. McCarthy’s reputation was badly damaged as a result.

McCarthy’s tactics made him very unpopular in the U.S Senate and Republican Senator Ralph E. Flanders introduced a resolution in 1954 to censure him. Senator Arthur Vivian Watkins chaired the special committee to evaluate the resolution.

The Watkins Committee recommended censuring McCarthy on two counts and in December 1954 the Senate voted to condemn him by a vote of 67 to 22.

As a result of the censure, his image was badly tarnished and his political career saw a downfall after that.

Personal Life & Legacy

He married Jean Kerr in 1953. The couple adopted a daughter in 1957.

His health deteriorated greatly after being censured. His failing health coupled with his alcoholism resulted in his death in 1957.

Trivia

The character of Senator John Iselin in the novel ‘The Manchurian Candidate’ by Richard Condon is based upon this politician.

Actor Peter Boyle portrayed this politician in the Emmy Award winning television movie ‘Tail Gunner Joe’ in 1977.

// Famous American

Joseph McCarthy awards

YearNameAward

Other

1953 - Nobel Peace Prize
- Distinguished Flying Cross

Joseph McCarthy biography timelines

  • // 14th Nov 1908
    McCarthy was born to Timothy McCarthy and Bridget Tierney as one of their seven children. He was of mixed ancestry.
  • // 1929
    He returned to school in 1929 at the age of 20 and graduated from Little Wolf High School.
  • // 1935
    He went to college to study engineering but soon switched to law. He received his law degree from Marquette University Law School in 1935.
  • // 1936
    He started working at the law firm of Michael Everlin in 1936. During this time, he also ran as a Democrat for district attorney, albeit, unsuccessfully.
  • // 1939
    Undaunted by his defeat, he launched a forceful campaign in 1939 to become District Circuit judge in Appleton and he was successful in his endeavor. He also started gambling to earn extra money.
  • // 1942
    He joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1942 after U.S. joined the World War II in spite of the fact that his status as a judge exempted him from compulsory duty.
  • // 1945
    He campaigned for the Republican Senate while still on active duty in 1944 but was defeated. He resigned from the Marine Corps in 1945 and rejoined his position as a circuit court judge.
  • // 1946
    An aspiring politician, he launched a persuasive campaign for the 1946 Republican Senate primary nomination challenging the three-time Senator Robert M. La Follette, Jr.
  • // 1950
    He gave a speech in Wheeling in February 1950 where he displayed a list of 205 Communists in the State Department. This came at a time where fears of communism were running high in the U.S. and his speech became national headlines.
  • // 1952
    In 1952, McCarthy was reelected to the Senate having defeated Thomas Fairchild in the general elections. He was made chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in 1953. He used this position to investigate communists in the government and appointed other anti-communists in his office.
  • // 1953
    In 1953, the McCarthy Committee started investigating communist activities in the army and placed accusations on Army dentist Irving Peress and General Ralph Zwicker.
  • // 1953
    He married Jean Kerr in 1953. The couple adopted a daughter in 1957.
  • // 1954
    The Army-McCarthy hearings were convened in 1954 to investigate the conflicting accusations between the U.S. Army and McCarthy. The hearings received considerable press coverage and also included live television footage. McCarthy’s reputation was badly damaged as a result.
  • // 1954
    The Watkins Committee recommended censuring McCarthy on two counts and in December 1954 the Senate voted to condemn him by a vote of 67 to 22.
  • // 2nd May 1957
    His health deteriorated greatly after being censured. His failing health coupled with his alcoholism resulted in his death in 1957.

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Joseph McCarthy's FAQ

  • What is Joseph McCarthy birthday?

    Joseph McCarthy was born at 1908-11-14

  • When was Joseph McCarthy died?

    Joseph McCarthy was died at 1957-05-02

  • Where was Joseph McCarthy died?

    Joseph McCarthy was died in Bethesda

  • Which age was Joseph McCarthy died?

    Joseph McCarthy was died at age 48

  • Where is Joseph McCarthy's birth place?

    Joseph McCarthy was born in Grand Chute, Wisconsin, United States

  • What is Joseph McCarthy nationalities?

    Joseph McCarthy's nationalities is American

  • Who is Joseph McCarthy spouses?

    Joseph McCarthy's spouses is Jean Kerr McCarthy

  • Who is Joseph McCarthy childrens?

    Joseph McCarthy's childrens is Tierney Elizabeth McCarthy

  • What was Joseph McCarthy universities?

    Joseph McCarthy studied at Marquette University Law School

  • What is Joseph McCarthy's cause of dead?

    Joseph McCarthy dead because of Alcoholism

  • What is Joseph McCarthy's political ideology?

    Joseph McCarthy's political ideology is Republican, Democratic

  • What is Joseph McCarthy's religion?

    Joseph McCarthy's religion is Roman Catholic

  • Who is Joseph McCarthy's father?

    Joseph McCarthy's father is Timothy McCarthy

  • Who is Joseph McCarthy's mother?

    Joseph McCarthy's mother is Bridget Tierney McCarthy

  • What is Joseph McCarthy's sun sign?

    Joseph McCarthy is Scorpio