Overview Of The Salem Witch Trials

1412 Words3 Pages

The Salem Witch Trials began during the spring of 1692 in Salem Village (now Danvers), Massachusetts (Salem Witch Trials, 2014). There were over two hundred people accused of practicing witch craft and nineteen were executed for it. Religion was extremely important to the Puritans, regardless of age, and individual differences were frowned upon (Source 4). Puritans were expected to live by a strict moral code. They believed that all sins deserved a punishment and that if something bad happened such as their neighbor having a sick child or a failed crop, they did not help because it was God’s will. It is important to note, that at this time, the Puritans believed that the Devil gave weak people special, evil powers if they pledged their loyalty to him. These people were called witches (Blumberg, 2007).
For three hundred years prior to the Salem Witch Trials, a “witchcraft craze” rippled throughout Europe where tens of thousands of people, mostly women, were executed. In 1689, English rulers William and Mary started a war with France in the American colonies. Upstate New York was ravaged and sent refugees into Salem. The refugees strained Salem’s resources. Puritans believed in witches and their ability to harm others, and this made many people suspicious of each other creating a great deal of tension. A recent epidemic of small pox had gone around in early 1692 and killed about five hundred people. Small pox was brought over with people who were traveling from Europe to America causing people to be extremely frantic and careful so that they did not catch the disease. Apprehension within the community continued to build (Source 11). This “witchcraft craze,” along with suspicions and resentment of their neighbors is what set the sta...

... middle of paper ...

...rs could do was speculate, and the thought it was a stress induced condition (Source 20).
The Salem Witch Trials connects to what we are learning in Core Two right now because it shows us how people in 1692 defined themselves as humans. Witches were seen as anything but humans and were not worthy of life, according to the accusers. They killed the accused witches so that they could feel safe and secure in their village. Merely because something was going on that they could not understand, they had to get rid of it.
Mass hysteria and irrational fear is not something that just happened during The Salem Witch Trials, and it could happen again. Mass hysteria leads people to do things and believe things that they would not otherwise believe. Societies that feel threatened search for something or someone to hold responsible so that they can resolve the issue at hand.

Open Document