The Age of McCarthyism

The Age of McCarthyism

The Age of McCarthyism

Welcome to your paper assignment
The history of the Cold War is a stark reminder of how Americans have often struggled to find a balance between maintaining in a liberal democracy and protecting it from forces that seek to subvert it (indeed, we are having this same debate today over how to fight the war on terrorism!)  As Ellen Schrecker explains in The Age of McCarthyism, many Americans were persecuted during this Cold War period because they held unpopular beliefs. While some may certainly have been intent on subverting American democracy, many others were not.
Your assignment is to compare and contrast two of the arguments presented in Schrecker’s book:  J. Edgar Hoover’s testimony to Congress (Document 4) and Sidney Hook’s “Cold War Liberal View of the Communist Threat” (Document 21).  Based on your readings of Schrecker, you must critically evaluate what these authors are saying.  For instance, is Hoover exaggerating the threat?  In what aspect does Hook disagree with Hoover in regards to conspiracy vs. heresy (i.e., what’s the distinction that Hook makes and why does he feel Hoover is in error?)  What criticism can you offer of BOTH of these authors?  You must take a position at the END of the paper, either choosing one of the authors or rejecting both (and explaining why).
This assignment is not just asking you to summarize two arguments.  You must draw out specific points where these authors differ in their arguments (and both authors DO differ over the level of threat communism posed, and how to deal with that threat.)  You must also bring in examples (with page number cites) from throughout the book, not just the two authors.
Length:  Your essay should be at least 3 FULL PAGES and NO LONGER than 4 pages (double spaced, 1? margins including top and bottom, Times New Roman 12)).  This is tough for some students who like to write, and write, and write…without really saying a whole lot.  The page length requires you to get to the point of your argument.  And your essays must be typed!
Compare and Contrast Checklist:

Have you opened with an introduction that lays out what this review essay seeks to accomplish?

Is there a good hook that catches the interest of the reader of your paper from the very beginning?

Have you fully explained the two author’s positions?

Have you used specific examples to illustrate their arguments? (And have you brought in examples from throughout the book?)

Have you cited those examples with page numbers?

Have you analyzed what the specific differences of these authors are?   (Comparing is easy; make sure you also contrast!)

Have you stated to the reader who you believe offers the most persuasive argument and why?

Do you have a conclusion that sums up the paper?

Have you proofread your paper for grammatical and spelling errors?
How to Write This Paper
Students often assume that a compare and contrast essay only needs a summary of the three articles and a conclusion that sums up their own position.  THIS IS A FALSE ASSUMPTION!!!  A compare and contrast essay needs to show the reader exactly where the authors agree and disagree.  Thus you should write your paper in a point-counterpoint format.  For instance:
“In regards to the first point, Author ‘X’ believes this, but Author ‘Y’ counters with  this.  Author ‘Y’ has the upper hand because….  As to the second point, Author ‘X’ argues….”
In this way, you are drawing out specific points from their debate, laying them side by side, and showing their contrasting positions.
Using Quotes and Plagiarism

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