1954 – Joseph Welch stops Joseph McCarthy in his tracks

Joseph McCarthy had been hunting the Reds under America’s beds for years when he turned his attention to the Army in 1953. But this time, it went badly for him. At the end of the Korean War, the Army was popular. And McCarthy’s own fortunes were fading, which fed his alcoholism and led to displays of arrogance as he tried to recapture the power he had once had.

In 1954, McCarthy was confronted by Joseph Welch, the Army’s head attorney. In a memorable exchange, he was repeatedly rebuked by Welch for trying to tar a young man in Welch’s office with his slurs. The part the Welch is most remembered for is these words:

“Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

Referenced in:

Exhuming McCarthy – REM

Listen to the song – the actual sample appears in it.