Salem Witch Trials Salem Witch Trials - Gender and Power in the 17th Century The year 1692 and early 1693 saw the prosecution and execution of nineteen witches, an old man stoned to death, several accused witchcrafts dying in jail and close to 28 being cast out of the infamous Salem Village (present day Danvers, Massachusetts) on the belief they possessed power to sway people into doing what they wanted (Goodbeer, 2011, p. 2). Early 1692, the daughter; Elizabeth and niece; Abigail Williams of first Salem Village ordained minister; Reverend Parris experienced and had frightening episodes of screaming, uttering voices and throwing things around. Another girl Ann Putnam also experienced the same and under magistrates Jonathan Corwin and John Hawthorne influence, the girls blamed their conditions on three women: Tituba, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne for performing witchcraft on them (Goodbeer, The Salem Witch Hunt , 2011, p. 14). Richard Godbeer’s ‘The Salem Witch Hunt’ puts into account the proceedings of several accused cases with most of the accused being women and the McCarthyism paranoia that gripped Salem Town. Two of the accused women; Good and Osborne pleaded not guilty but Tituba confessed practicing witchcraft and that there were many more witches in Salem. Her confession opened the doors for further more trials against witches with Governor William Phipps establishing a Special Court of Oyer and Treminern to handle the witchcraft cases. The court’s first case saw a respectable church member; Martha Corey tried and convicted making Salem inhabitants’ paranoia increase with people believing nobody was safe if a church member could be a witch. Legitimacy of evidence produced at court was questionable with spectral evidence be... ... middle of paper ... ... claimed Burroughs was unkind to his wife and did not allow her to talk to other women. Another man Giles Corey was stoned to death despite his old age. What surprises many is the fact that leaders of community laid the whole Salem Trial process on the basis and testimonies of very young girls whom were easily gullible and their testimonies could be easily altered. This suggests that the young girls were only seeking attention that they lacked in their homes with false hysteria experiences. In conclusion the Salem Witch Trials bring to light the perception of women in society during the 17th Century and most religious and political leaders were men. Women were not allowed to hold high office and to preach the gospel. It is a challenging issue that needs to be changed and how men perceive women take a U turn and they be given equal chances to their male counterparts.
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The Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692 were the largest outbreak of witch hunting in colonial New England up to that time. Although it was the largest outbreak, it was not something that was new. Witch-hunting had been a part of colonial New England since the formation of the colonies. Between the years 1648 to 1663, approximately 15 witches were executed. During the winter of 1692 to February of 1693, approximately 150 citizens were accused of being witches and about 25 of those died, either by hanging or while in custody. There is no one clear-cut answer to explain why this plague of accusations happened but rather several that must be examined and tied together. First, at the same time the trials took place, King William's War was raging in present day Maine between the colonists and the Wabanaki Indians with the help of the French. Within this war, many brutal massacres took place on both sides, leaving orphaned children due to the war that had endured very traumatic experiences. Second, many of the witch accusations were based on spectral evidence, most of which were encounters of the accused appearing before the victim and "hurting" them. There were rampant "visions" among the colonies' citizens, which can only be explained as hallucinations due to psychological or medical conditions by virtue of disease, or poisoning.
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, analyze how witch trials were conducted during the colonial times, but in a different setting, Stamford, Connecticut. In this book,
During the month of January 1692, bizarre conditions were sweeping across the small town of Salem Massachusetts. A group of young girls claimed to be possessed by the devil, and accused several local women of witchcraft, henceforth starting the infamous Salem Witch Trials. Amongst the first girls to display abnormal behavior were young Betty Parris and her cousin Abigail Williams. They were experiencing convulsive seizures, screaming uncontrollably, and were in a trance-like state. When called, the physician came and examined the girls, finding no natural cause of such disturbing behaviors. Since no sign of physical infirmity was found, the town reasoned that the girls had been bewitched. Later on, the community pressured the girls into revealing
The year 1692 marked a major event in history in the town of Salem, Massachusetts. The Salem Witchcraft Trials still leaves this country with so many questions as to what happened in that small town. With all the documentation and accounts of the story, people are still wondering why 19 people died as a result of these trials. This paper will discuss the events leading up to the Salem Witch Trials and the events that took place during and after the trials, and the men and women who were killed or spent the remainder of their lives in jail. The Salem Witch Trials has become one of the countries most fascinating stories.
One of these theories was that women were gaining more power and independence, and because of the strict society, people feared this. Most of the people executed were outcasts or the people that were most vulnerable in the society. The people that were convicted were usually elderly women, or women in general. Though some men were convicted of being witches, the majority of the people accused were women. Salem was an extremely religiously strict society; the entire basis of the society was religion, for they were all Puritans. At the time they believed that women were “weaker” and more likely to sin because of the Adam and Eve story. People feared women’s’ independence, and them having equal power to men. Some women wanted equal rights and didn’t want to live under Puritan values. . The women that were different were more likely executed. 19 people were put to death from the state, of those 19, 14 were women. Many people feared women having equal rights to men because it didn’t follow Puritan values. The Puritan values of Salem, which were antagonistic to women, may have contributed to the Salem Witch
The community began praying to try and get the spirit of the devil out of the girls but when nothing changed they insisted that the girls inform them of the person who in Salem was controlling
The Salem Witchcraft Trials were a series of events that is ultimately depicted today as an episode of mass hysteria in the years 1692-1693. The trials had a large effect on the entire community of Salem, Massachusetts. As a community, the trials had an effect of constant fear overlooking the settlement. Everyone was constantly worrying about the threats of witches and spirits invading their homes and hurting their family. The government and authority figures were in a sort of panic, questioning how to handle such an insane situation that they had never had to deal with before, and with religion playing such a huge role in government, this was more to the authorities than simple crimes; it was a threat to their faith. The church felt the same
The hysteria of the witchcraft episode in Salem, Massachusetts developed over two years during the late 1690’s. One of the primary causes that contributed to the deaths of one hundred and twenty-six people, were the young village girls called the “afflicted”, who accused the women of the village of witchcraft. The majority of the accused and accusers were females while the males of the village held the important roles of trial and jury during these times.
When one evokes The Salem Witch Trials of 1692, the image that comes to most peoples minds are that of witches with pointed hats riding broomsticks. This is not helped by the current town of Salem, Massachusetts, which profits from the hundreds of thousands of tourists a year by mythologizing the trials and those who were participants. While there have been countless books, papers, essays, and dissertations done on this subject, there never seems to be a shortage in curiosity from historians on these events. Thus, we have Bernard Rosenthal's book, Salem Story: Reading the Witch Trials of 1692, another entry in the historiographical landscape of the Salem Witch Trials. This book, however, is different from most that precede it in that it does not focus on one single aspect, character, or event; rather Rosenthal tells the story of Salem in 1692 as a narrative, piecing together information principally from primary documents, while commenting on others ideas and assessments. By doing so, the audience sees that there is much more to the individual stories within the trials, and chips away at the mythology that has pervaded the subject since its happening. Instead of a typical thesis, Rosenthal writes the book as he sees the events fold out through the primary documents, so the book becomes more of an account of what happened according to primary sources in 1692 rather than a retelling under a new light.
Set in 1692 Salem, Massachusetts, a group of young girls were in the forest chanting “spells” in order to have the men they desired. Leading them was a black woman named Tituba, who later confessed to being afflicted and was let off with minimum charges. The teenagers feared being exposed when two young girls fell ill and the town doctor couldn’t find a cure. They confessed to being afflicted and used it as means to accuse the women whose husbands they wished to have relations with. Leading the herd of deceiving girls was Abigail Williams who was in lust for a married man named John Proctor. The trial for Abigail and the girls was heard at the congregation hall where the girls pretended to be possessed by fainting and hallucinating causing
In the small town of Salem, Massachusetts the fear of devil worshipers and witchcraft spread through the town like wild fire. In the years of 1692 and 1963 men and women accused of witchcraft were gathered up and imprisoned or killed. 200 men, women, and children were accused of witchcraft and there were at least 20 deaths . The majority were hung but there was one man that was pressed to death, and four known deaths in prisons. The rest of the accused were thrown in jail for months with out trials . The Salem Witch Trials were brought up by the belief of the supernatural, a recent smallpox epidemic, and fears from being attacked from the Native Americans, and longstanding rivalry with other town’s people. They were also fueled by their fear of outsiders and the suspicions and resentment of their neighbors. The trials were the start of something bigger that happened. The events that took place in Salem in 1692 are a part of a greater pattern throughout our history to persecute innocent people, especially women, as "witches."
From June through to September of 1692 the Salem Village, Massachusetts, was in a state of constant panic and suspicion as young girls began to exhibit strange behaviour and claimed they were possessed. As a result of the trials nineteen people and two dogs were hanged, one man pressed to death by rocks, eight other persons sentenced to death, fifty expecting sentence and one hundred and fifty awaiting trial in gaol. Historians have offered many explanations for these events including: real witchcraft within Salem or hysteria through the belief in witchcraft, pressures of the puritanism religion and its leaders encouraging the events, fraudulent behaviour from the afflicted, ergotism and other physiological illnesses, and finally, social circumstances
Although witch trials were not uncommon in Puritanical New England, none had reached such epidemic proportions as Salem. In 1691 the mass hysteria began when several young girls dabbled in witchcraft and began acting strange. When villagers took notice the girls were seriously questioned and so they began naming people, mainly woman, who had supposedly bewitched them (Boyer, p66). Several other who had been accused were woman displayed ‘unfeminine’ behavior and those who
We have all heard fairy tales about witches and wizards. You know, the ones that ride brooms and have that evil laugh! Well, in Salem, Massachusetts, the people there believed in them too. They might not have been the ones that can be seen in the books or popular movies, but they were considered a legitimate threat to the people of Salem. The “witches” of Salem have become a famous part of history, as the trials began in January of 1692. The Salem Witch Trials were some of the darkest times in human history because they caused unjustified hysteria and fear of the unknown; as a result, this caused physical, mental, and emotional harm as well as a great loss of human life.
To understand the reason and significance the Salem Witch Trials hold, it is important to know what life was like in the sixteenth century. The Salem Witch Trials occurred due to tension reaching its peak in Salem, Massachusetts that effected women even to this day. In the year 1629, Salem was officially established located on Massachusetts north shore. Most of the settlers were English or of English decent and as a result they carried over many English laws. Also in the year 1629, England issued a charter that allowed young Salem the right to self-govern. Salem was primarily filled with Puritans, and their religion effected Salem’s autonomy. English emigrants left their home to escape political and religious oppression, but ironically the