Joseph R. McCarthy served as a U.S. Senator from the state of Wisconsin. McCarthy was elected to Congress in 1946 and stayed in office until his death of cirrhosis of the liver at age 48 in 1957.
In 1953, McCarthy was placed at the head of the Committee on Government Operations, and from there, he obsessively investigated possible communist sympathies within the U.S. Government and military. The Republican senator used his power and circumstantial evidence to accuse innocent people and political enemies of being communists. His actions eventually led to him being removed from his position on the committee and censured by the Senate.