Intolerance and The Puritans

1083 Words5 Pages
When facing fear, the human race is more predictable than it would like to think. People act irrationally when confronted with threats from an unknown enemy, and quickly try to identify the source of their fear, by blaming others. These others are often outcasts, or people that are different than the norm, which is defined by society. The reaction to these adversaries is quick, and often very harsh. This type of intolerance has occurred throughout history, first in the Salem witch trials, then the Red Scare and McCarthyism, and most recently, the war on terror. The Puritan society in the time of the Salem witch trials was very structured. Religion was not optional, and the social order was structured around the church ( Adults had very high expectations of children, and they were required to act like adults. Society didn’t accept anyone who didn’t conform to the Puritan way of life, and saw it as a public concern to rid the town of “witches.” The trials started with young girls getting caught while trying to express themselves by dancing, but the pious citizens of Salem transformed the dancing into witchcraft and Devil worship. The very first of the accused was Tituba, a black slave from Barbados. She was unlike many people in the town, and it was easy to place blame on her because she was different. When Abigail accused her she said, “I hear her singing her Barbados songs and tempting me,” (44). Tituba’s situation made her an easy target for the frightened people of Salem. The next accused was Sarah Good, a homeless woman and a beggar. Another social misfit, she was a convenient scapegoat for the townspeople’s witch hunt. Sarah Osborne was accused at the same time, because she was elderly and hadn’t atte... ... middle of paper ... ...ty/projects/ftrials/salem/SAL_ACCT.HTM Oh, Joyce. "The Cold War Museum." Cold War Museum. The Cold War Museum, 2008. Web. 18 Dec. 2013. . "Red Scare." Red Scare. Collin County Community College District, n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2013. . "McCarthyism." Independence Hall Association, n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2013. . Savage, Charlie, William Glaberson, and Andrew Lehren. "Classified Files Offer New Insights Into Detainees." The Guantanamo Files. The New York Times, 24 Apr. 2011. Web. 1 Jan. 2014. .
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