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1947-1954: We struggle to preserve freedom in a dangerous world

December 2, 1954
The Senate condemns McCarthy and defends free speech

Mother and son watching Senator Joseph McCarthy on television

We are alive to the danger Communism holds for our way of life. But we want to make the fight against it...according to the principles...in our Constitution.
–Senator Herbert Lehman

We’ve been glued to our TV sets for three months, mesmerized by the sight of Senator Joseph McCarthy trying to bully the nation’s military leaders. After accusing the State Department and other federal agencies of being “infested with Communists,” McCarthy has turned on the Army.

He’s grown so powerful, people have been afraid to speak. McCarthy’s charges have destroyed public careers. But for all his accusations, he hasn’t produced proof that any federal employee is a Communist.

Even those concerned about Communism here see this “witch hunt” as a threat to free speech, freedom of association, and the rule of law—the very freedoms at stake in this Cold War.

After five years, the Senate’s had enough. Today it condemned McCarthy, censuring him for conduct unbecoming of a senator.

Even in troubled times, free speech finds its champions.

Read about it in the New York times

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