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The Cause and Cure of Hysteria

Harry Truman on the Fears of Americans

by Merle Miller

If it’s true that politicians will say anything to get elected, the danger is that too many in the electorate will believe them. Throughout history, unscrupulous politicians and other public officials have not hesitated to stoke fear among the people by designating certain “outsiders” as threats to society. And Americans have had their share of these: at one time or another Catholics, Irish, Chinese, Masons, anarchists, blacks, Communists, and Muslims have all been accused of undermining the nation. In Harry Truman’s presidency he had to deal with the anti-Communist crusade of Senator Joseph McCarthy. It gave Mr. Truman a fine perspective on demagoguery, whose characteristics he already knew through his study of history. Here, in conversation with Merle Miller, the former president reflects on the nature of the beast.


The Cause and Cure of Hysteria details:

ISBN: 9781937853235

Words: 11,310

Pages: 25


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Tags:  Truman - hysteria - demagoguery - anti-communism - Joseph McCarthy