Photo of Senator Pat McCarran

Photograph of Senator McCarran (above)1

The 1950s was an era that was coined as the era of McCarthyism. Some historians, like Stanley I. Kutler, believe that ""McCarranism" not "McCarthyism," would be a more apt description of those times."2 Why is that?

The McCarran Internal Security Act (1950), otherwise known as the Internal Security Act (ISA), was one of the first waves of control against the supposed communist threat in the United States during the Second Red Scare. It is a domestic policy that was issued in response to the Cold War foreign policy during the time. The origins and impact of the ISA is important in understanding how and why domestic policy comes into play during times of hostility between nation-states. The act's gpa; was, "To protect the United States against certain un-American and subversive activities by requiring registration of Communist organizations, and for other purposes."3  The consequences of the ISA are such that the general public was made aware that their civil liberties were at risk. The McCarran Internal Security Act required the registration of Communist-Front and Communist-Action groups. Groups who refused to register would be fined, "$10,000 for every day that it defied the law..."4 The act also required that individuals associated with these Communist groups to register as well. As a result they could not become citizens, and in some cases, were prevented from entering or leaving the country. The act itself has been called, like the Patriot Act (2001), an infringement on the civil liberties of all Americans.  Journalist and Author Sidney Lens states, "...the McCarran Act...[did not] punish many 'subversives.' But they have provided a machinery for future use, and more important, they have established a climate for extra-legal suppression of citizens' rights."5 This study will show the impact of the McCarran Act, which had many far-reaching consequences to both civil liberties, and the future of domestic policy.

Site Map

Ad about McCarranism

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This page contains the historiography, or the history of history, on the McCarran Internal Security Act. It will provide an overview of what other scholars have said about the act and McCarthyism.

This page will cover the origins of the McCarran Internal Security Act. It will discuss how the act came to be and how it was put into legislation.

An overview of the impact of the McCarran Internal Security act showing both the immediate and future impacts of the act itself.

Court Cases
Page dedicated to Albertson v Subversive Activities Control Board and United States v Robel This page is a case study on the immediate impact that the McCarran Internal Security Act had on individuals, future legislation, and civil liberties.

A general timeline with an emphasis on legislation passed from 1917 - 2008.

A listing of sholarly primary and secondary sources used to research this website. List includes books, pamphlets, and journal articles.

A listing of notes from the website showing where exactly in the source the information was obtained.

A listing of external links for general and historical purposes. Some of these were used in the research of the website. While others are listed because of the historical value that they hold or that i have used images from their website.

Additional Information
This webpage is a listing of words that i have defined for informational purposes only. I hope that if there is a word that the reader is unaware or unsure of that they will find it here!