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tv   The Presidency  CSPAN  January 18, 2015 7:43pm-8:01pm EST

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considerate attentiveness paid to these two gentlemen. i think it is an important conversation we began when i listen to the work that remains to be done. 30 out of 300 inventories, for example, in leigh's case. there is much work to do, many more roads to travel to get where we need to be for all of our ancestors to rest in these. thank you. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> on the martin luther king holiday, we are featuring all day programming on book tv and american history tv. what a morning at 9:30 eastern on book tv, cornell west on revolutionary african-american leaders and their impact on
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their own generation and now. at 4:00, editor gail sheehy. at 9:00, allen west on the core values of faith and freedom. on american history tv, monday morning at 8:00 eastern juanita jones abernethy. starting at 2:00, state of the union's address by gerald ford and bill clinton. then the history of race relations in ferguson, missouri. find our complete television schedule at www.c-span.org. let us know what you think about the programs you are watching. call us or e-mail us. or send us a tweet. join the c-span conversation. like us on facebook, follow us
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on twitter. >> all weekend, american history tv is featuring wheeling, west virginia. in 1818, the historic national road the first improved highway built by the federal government, arrived in wheeling,. crossing the ohio river it led to an industrial boom and contribute it to western expansion during the 19th century. c-span's city tour staffs visited many sites showcasing the city's history. >> we have been dealing with lots of requests that the information of anyone who might be performing work for the communist party -- >> mccarthyism entered the lexicon of american history starting right here in wheeling
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on this spot. today, we are in the mcclure hotel at 12th and market street in wheeling, which is important because of its association with joseph mccarthy. joseph mccarthy was only 40 in 1950 when he came to wheeling. he was not a well regarded senator at that time. he had a penchant for calling his fellow senators names. he was always a rather rumpled had an age to him. but he was at the height of his power. he had a photographic memory. unfortunately, he also tended to lie about a lot of things. he made up his own resume. a lot of which was not true. he had been elected to the
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senate in 1946. he was coming up for reelection in 1952. this is 1950, and a lot of people felt he had not done a lot. he was getting a little concerned. so he got a group of advisors together in a colony in dce one of which was a jesuit priest from georgetown. and he said, what can i run on? the priest pushed very much anti-communism, traders and the government. that was kind of his basis for hitting on a theme for reelection. but you have to understand, at that time in american history it was different than today. >> recognizing a communist physical appearance counts for nothing. if he openly declares himself to be a communist, we take his word for it. >> it was called the age of
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anxiety. the time of the great fear. five years after world war ii. the communist armies had taken pretty much eastern europe. in 1949, america had decided that communism had taken over china. then the gop, the same week that mccarthy was in wheeling, came out with their platform. the basis of their plant or him was they went after truman and the democrats. they were soft on communism. they were socialists. it were bringing about the downfall of america. evil were hearing this, they were reading it. they were very upset about was going on. so that was the background or mccarthy coming to wheeling. it was at the time of the lincoln day dinner. all across the country republicans were fanning out speakers at the great gatherings
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of the lincoln day dinner's. so mccarthy was assigned to wheeling. wheeling was not a big city. we had 59,000. was thursday, february 9 1950. the dinner was to start at: 30 -- 6:30. it was a big deal for wheeling. he was introduced by william callahan, the regional republican bigwig. and they described the talk he gave as intimate and humorous and kind of folksy. he had an irish wit about him. he could be very ingratiating when he wanted to be. beautiful grin. and he talked about the republican platform as it was
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laid out. he did not say too much. he talked about the war between good and evil, between eight is and communism, and the christian democratic society. he talked about alger hiss. yeah just been convicted some weeks before of perjury. but he was being convicted as a spy. that was a very big deal. so he went on about that. then, towards the end of the talk, he made what was the key to the top -- talk in what became known as mccarthyism. i want to read the words from the newspaper. what he said was, while i cannot take the men in the state department who have been named as members of the communist party, and members of a spy ring , i had here in my hand a list
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of 205. and he waved a piece of paper to the people -- that were known to the stickers -- secretary of state as being members of the communist party. who, nevertheless, are still working and shaping the policy in state department. now, anybody that has a sense to hear, this was a horrific charge. he was saying they were card-carrying communists in the state department, working as members of the american government. and the secretary of state in this, and they were still there. well, then he went on. first he continued his talk. at the end he said it is a moral battle between good and evil. the chips are truly down. kind of ended with that. there were some questions and answers. he invited the audience to talk
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to him. there it lay. the local radio station had carried his talk. one of the reporters from wheeling intelligence, in the paper the next day reported verbatim a lot of what he had said. when mccarthy was to go back to the airport, he was shown the paper. and the headline in the wheeling paper was "mccarthy charges that reds hold u.s. jobs." it was beginning to dawn on him to -- that he had something here. he flew out to salt lake city and then reno, nevada. you made the same statement in salt lake city, it set -- except to change the number from 2052 -- 205 top 285.
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he was always changing the number. it was all a big lie. several weeks later in march, a cartoonist for the washington post did a cartoon. and he had cans of tar. and the largest can he put across it "mccarthyism." he is the one that coin the phrase mccarthyism. that you are tarring people for no good reason. in the last two years of truman's time, 6000 people left government. there were all kinds of questionnaires and security checks on people in government. and we lost experts in the state department because of this crusade. of course, 1952, there was a
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republican victory. eisenhower and the senate went republican. which meant mccarthy got chairman, the chairman of two important committees, the investigatory committee for government. and he took off. >> the average american can do very little insofar as digging communist agents out of our government is concerned. they must depend upon those of us who they send out here to man the watchtowers of the nation. >> that is where he started the bullying tactics, calling everybody under the sun to come in. that is where he got to destroy people's lives. people would resign from government rather than come before the committee. people feared joseph mccarthy because if you took him on in
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the senate, you could often end up without a job. he had power. he had all kinds of power. the farther he went, he took on george marshall, the hero of world war ii. he went after marshall. they thought eisenhower would come out and take him on. but he did not. that was not eisenhower's way. when he took on marshall, that was pretty bad. then he went after the army. and communists in the army. and you did not take on the army too easily. the army had a lawyer, mr. welsh. >> senator mccarthy, i do not know the slightest thing about the application he filled out. mr. jenkins, you do not know one thing about that? senator mccarthy, i never saw it.
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senator, i have the application that david filled out. i can show you -- sorry? >> do not tell me i notarized it. >> no, you merely signed it. [laughter] >> there were 36 days of hearings in 1954. television came into the picture. people began to see -- and i must say, mccarthy was a heavy drinker -- and he was constantly going too far. q would interrupt people, point of order. point of order. >> i do not know what it is, but it is a point of something. my point of order is that mr. jenkins yesterday was imposed upon.
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and so was the secretary of the army. by having a doctored or altered photograph produced in this courtroom as if it were honest. >> it was just rude and unruly. they said people started to joke about point of order on the street of america. but when tv showed 436 days running the kind of guy he was he lost a lot of public support. then he tried to name this young lawyer. whenever he named somebody, it was like tar on them. he named this young lawyer, and mr. welsh went after mccarthy. >> i want to say, mr. welsh that it has been labeled long
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before he the game a member. as early as 1944. >> let us not assassinate this person. you have done enough. have you know sense of decency? at long last? have you left no sense of decency? mr. mccarthy, i will not discuss this further with you. you have sat within six feet of me and could have asked about me about fred fisher. using fit to bring it out -- you see fit to bring it out, and if there is a god in heaven, it will do you nor your cause any good. i will not discuss it further. i will not call any more witnesses. you, mr. chairman, may call the next witness. [applause]
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>> republicans lost the senate in 1954. so the senate decided to censor joseph mccarthy. and they did it by a vote of 67 -22. all the people that voted for him were republicans. at the end of the trail, there was never anybody in the government that they could prove is a card-carrying communist. never. mccarthy had lost his base. and he kind of faded away. and this was a man that needed constant attention. when he walked in the room he wanted to be noticed, to be the center of attention. without that, he lost something of himself. to began to drink more heavily. and he actually was dead within seven years in wheeling. was 48 years of age. he died of cirrhosis of the liver. his body shut down because of the heavy drinking.
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as a historian, i look on it and think, i wish it had not started here. because that is one of the things we are known for. the mccarthy speech and mccarthyism started here in this city. it was not a good impact on the country. >> throughout the weekend we are featuring wheeling, west virginia. our cities to her staff traveled there to learn about its history. learn more about wheeling and other stops on www.c-span.org /americanhistory. >> next on the presidency, john mckee barr talks about "loathing lincoln: an american tr

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