They are still taught in American History courses, possibly because of the lack of certainty that surrounds the controversy; however, there are still many plausible theories such as ergot poisoning as well as sheer boredom of the settlers. Even though the villagers at Salem had many suspicions about witchcraft, they could have prevented the trials from happening; the least that the settlers could have done was to give them a fair hearing with the use of a quick trial, utilize a jury that did not favor one specific group, and ignore the public’s opinion in regards to the trials. Bottom line, The Salem Witch trials, although incredibly controversial, rightfully deserves to be studied in American History and needs to be considered as one of the pivotal parts of early colonial history: helping us as a culture our previous mistakes and how not to make the same, or similar, mistake
That is to say, the authors strive to show how the witch trials were not simply a completely spontaneous event, but rather a long, horrible process by which individuals were singled out, tried, and executed in order to vent emotions of hostility towards change. The way in which the authors go about this, however, is in a somewhat difficult to comprehend style that goes back and forth between the years, forcing one to rethink all the facts thus far each time a new chapter is introduced. In addition, the authors tend to focus mostly on the social and economic aspects of witchcraft, with little to nothing as far as further explanation of the actions of the women accused. In the year 1692, the small farming village of Salem, Massachusetts saw a social phenomenon that would propel the village into the history books: the calamity that was witchcraft. The witch trials were initiated whenever three young girls, Betty Parris, Abigail Williams, and Ann Putnam were caught performing fortune telling rituals in the woods, trying to gather information on what type of man would be best for them.
The Salem Witch Trials, fueled by fear and influenced by hardship of Puritan life and deep religious integration led to mass hysteria in the New England Colonies in 1692. The Puritans of New England were lucky they never found a real witch, real witches don’t burn.
Briggs agrees that there were more women found guilty of the crime due to disparity in economic standing, but also shows that men were also victims because of the lack of resources. The Medieval states had persecuted minority groups and organized campaigns against religious dissidents Briggs states. Although I believe that Women were unfairly treated in Early Europe, I feel that Briggs pointed out more reasons that Witches were targets of social circumstance, not just gender.
In order to understand witches, we must first understand how the Church distorted the very basis of what a witch is. I find myself constantly drawn back to how society viewed witches in the Middle Ages as compared to the present day opinion. The subject of Witchcraft and Magic was influenced deeply in the Middle Ages which in turn, lead to an influence which pervades our society today in the form of Wicca, otherwise known as the present day version of witchcraft. It is an unfortunate consequence of our civilizations history that Witchcraft and Magic in the Middle Ages is rarely given rational consideration by the aristocracy, many of whom fail to comprehend the full scope of Witchcraft and Magic in the Middle Ages. Here begins my in-depth analysis of Witchcraft and Magic in the Middle Ages.
He doesn’t seem to think that the people deliberately accused their rivals of witchcraft and not committing fraud but involuntarily fed into the lies they were told and had strange reactions when told to convey what they saw. He talks about how all of their problems were solely intertwined to create the Salem Witch Trials and only discussed after the fact. His point of view seems to think they were inherently hysteric about witchcraft, seeing as how over 40,000 people were executed for it in England, and only amplified their worries of life surrounding them. In summary, his points are saying that the outbreak of witchcraft gave an explanation on how these tragedies might have seemed unavoidable.
This conflict caused many to be accused, arrested, and killed. Because of social, economic, religious, and physical problems within the community, Salem Village was present with prejudice and panic causing the Salem Witch Trials. Witchcraft has been present in many other religions, not only the Puritan religion. Witchcraft was also found in Catholic and Protestant parts of Europe. The Salem Witch Trials were smaller in comparison to those in Scotland, France, or Germany (Hall 3).
First, the Puritan values and expectations were strict, and those who had defied their teachings would have been at a much higher chance of being accused as a witch. Second, economic struggles within Salem Town and Village had further divided the two, by crop failure and livestock death. Ultimately causing economic damages. Third, personal opinions and disputes had contributed to the trials and accusations. The law system was unfair during the trials, so when or if someone was accused the court would side with the accuser, unless of course, they were a witch themselves.
Miller’s Message There are many occurrences in history in which North America has shamed itself. These are the events that tend to be skimmed over during history class and are commonly ignored. However, these events are disputed and protested in the form of literature. A good example of this is Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, a play which indirectly conveys Miller’s opinion of the communist trials that took place as he wrote the play. The Crucible describes the Salem Witch Trials that took place in the 1600’s, Miller uses this past event in American history and compares it to McCarthyism.
When the printing press was invented, writings could be distributed around Europe. The first and most significant written ideas of witchcraft available to a majority of people was the Malleus Maleficarum (Hammer of Witches) written by Sprenger and Kramer in 1486. The document made an important contribution to the widespread witch hunt. Sprenger and Kraemer proclaimed that not believing in the reality of witches was heresy. Sprenger and Kramer informed secular authorities to fight witches by any means necessary.