The Crucible

Historical Context: Miller wrote that during the anti-Communist hearings,"I saw accepted the notion that conscience was no longer a private matter but one of state administration." How does this notation apply to the witch-hunts in Salem?

I don't understand how this applies to The Crucible!

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Miller wrote The Crucible not simply as a straight historical play detailing the Salem witch trials. Rather, the play has as much significance as a product of the early Cold War era during which Miller wrote the play. Indeed, the play is a parable for the McCarthy era, in which similar 'witch hunts' occurred targeting citizens as communists rather than disciples of Satan.

Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy was an undistinguished member of the Senate until February 1950, when he made the public charge that 205 Communists had infiltrated the State department. Upon subsequent testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, McCarthy proved unable to produce the name of any "card-carrying" communists, but he gained increasing popular support for his campaign of accusations. Although he was later denounced, he promoted unfounded accusations and suspicions of communism in many quarters, and is best known for his investigation of communists in the United States Army.

Just as there was a communist "witch hunt" in the McCarthy era, Salem had a literal witch hunt. Both instances illustrated mass paranoia and conformity.