Comparison Of The Salem Witch Trials Of 1692

849 Words2 Pages

Analysis and Comparison of the Witch Trials
In modern times, the most infamous witch trials are the one that occurred in Salem. These specific witch trials are known for the unjust killings of several accused women and men. The Salem witch trials of 1692, is a big portion of what people refer to, when they want to analyze how Puritan life was during the colonial period. According to ‘Salem Witch Trials’, “The witch trials are often taken as a lens to view the whole Puritan period in New England and to serve as an example of religious prejudice…” (Ray p.32). However, as more fragments of textual evidence occur, historians are making new evaluations of how the witch trials were exaggerated by recent literature. Some historians like Richard Godbeer, …show more content…

An example of the colonists being rational in their decision making is, “The officials responsible for handling… must be irrefutable” (Godbeer pgs.7-8). This quote emphasizes the cautious manner the people of Stamford took to avoid any false accusations. Godbeer wrote ‘Escaping Salem’ to show that not all of the colonies went into a mass hysteria when there was a conflict amongst them. William Jones was a philologist mentioned in ‘Escaping Salem’. “William Jones summarized information that he gleaned from… the evidence against Elizabeth Clawson and Mercy Disborough”, this summarized information in his memorandum, became a list of standards of when to investigate an individual accused of witchcraft (Godbeer p.91). This list presented in his memorandum proves that before accusing an individual of being a witch, they must be investigated on account of being categorized under these specific criteria of a …show more content…

Gretchen A. Adams, the author of the journal, describes how the stereotype and image of colonial puritans were portrayed as hasty prosecutors, and victims to mass hysteria. “In fact, Salem’s witch-hunt…operated under the influence of “hysteria, witch hunts, or vigilantes”, this excerpt talks about how even in the mid-20th century people were using the Salem witch trials as an example of hysteria and prosecution (Adams p.24). In ‘Escaping Salem’, Godbeer talks about how even the people of Stamford also went into a panic, “Once the Wescots…had to be willing to speak out” (p.10). This shows that even when Stamford witch hunt was mild compared to the Salem hunts, people still can assume the worst when a conflict happens. The article later mentions how Americans in the 19th century were exaggerating the witch trials as a means of propaganda against the northern politicians, “In the 1850s… uniquely suited to derive the maximum emotional reaction from its intended audience” (Adams

Open Document