Many of the American colonists brought with them from Europe a belief in witches and the devil. During the seventeenth century, people were executed for being witches and follower of Satan. Most of these executions were performed in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. Mostly all of the accused were women, which makes some modern historians believe that the charges of witchcraft were a way of controlling the women who threatened the power of the men. During the witchcraft trials, hundreds of arrests were made, and some were even put to death on Gallow’s Hill (Karlsen 145).
The Salem Witch Trials began when Betty Paris, Abigail Williams, and some of their friends began to act strange with odd fits (Hall 1). Because many mental and emotional disorders were not understood, the people of Salem believed it was the work of witchcraft. When sickness or even misfortune came, the most Bednar 2 sensible reason was witchcraft (Godbeer 28). The Salem Witch Trials were a prime example of the prejudice in early America with the different personal lives and beliefs (Adams 26). The prejudice and panic caused much instability in the Salem comm... ... middle of paper ... ...n in Salem.
“A Brief History of the Salem Witch Trials.” Smithsonian. 24 Oct. 2007. Web. 13 Jan. 2014. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/a brief-history-of-the-Salem- Witch-Trials-175162489/. Boyer, Paul.
http://witchcraft.simplenet.com/burningtimes1.html (9 March 1999). Kagan, Donald, Steve Ozment and Frank M. Turner. The Western Heritage Volume II: Since 1648. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1998. Witches in the Bible and in the Talmud.
Family feuds, influences, ergot poisoning, and the bewitchment of Satan are potential concepts of the witchcraft hysteria. Not to mention, the female stereotype of witches through lack of religious faith and social class caused the deaths of nineteen people and unforgivable scars and pain for dozens more. Historical evidence points out family feuds between the Putnam and Porter families, an important theory to the reasons behind the accusations. The whole town of Salem was a part and engaged in this heated quarrel for the control of the village. The two families had different views for Salem and Kate Murphy said it divided the village into two factions, “One interested in gaining more autonomy for Salem Villag... ... middle of paper ... ...rk: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1966.
During the years of 1692 and 1693 the fear of witchcraft swept through Salem, Massachusetts like a plague. Witchcraft strongly defied Puritan beliefs, and the Puritans executed any accused witches. Throughout the hysteria in Salem, 185 people were accused of practicing witchcraft. Rumors of witchcraft put many people’s lives in danger. Witchcraft was defined as entering into a compact with the devil in exchange for certain powers to do evil.
The Salem witch trials transpired in the late 1600’s and caused uncertainty and controversy throughout the society. The town of Salem is where most of the trials occurred, and practicing witchcraft, and our American government forced over a dozen citizens to pay with their lives. The witch trials happened because of conflicts dealing with religion, fear, and feuds. The trials began during the spring of 1692, after a group of adolescent girls claimed to be possessed by the devil and they accused several local women of witchcraft. A wave of hysteria spread throughout Massachusetts, and a special court place was set up to hear the cases.