Salem Witch Trials

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Introduction In the year 1691, Massachusetts was in turmoil. The crown ordered Plymouth and Massachusetts to be governed under one sanctioned embodiment; this meant that the stronghold on the colony would change hands. “Town government would remain intact, but henceforth property ownership, not church membership, would be the requirement to vote in elections” (Foner, 2012). Becoming a royal colony also allowed Protestants to worship freely; this caused anxiety among the Puritans. In their opinion, “the election of church officials to ensure the appropriate distribution of power, with a pastor to preach, a teacher to "attend to doctrine," elders to oversee the "acts of spiritual Rule," and a deacon to manage the everyday tasks of church organization and caring for the poor” (Campbell, 2013). Also, to the north of the Puritan colonies, Indians and French were at war. Many of the Puritans believed in magic and witchcraft, this belief escalated as their way of life was becoming increasingly threatened. “Ah, children, be afraid of going prayerless to bed, lest the Devil be your bedfellow” (Mather, 2014). In 1692, Salem would become infamous for the brutal execution of nineteen convicted witches and the imprisonments of two hundred accused witches. “In 1688, John Putnam, one of the most influential elders of Salem Village, invited Samuel Parris, formerly a marginally successful planter and merchant in Barbados, to preach in the Village church” (Linder, 2009). Parris brought his family, his slave, and her husband with him to start a new life. Betty Parris, his daughter, became ill soon after moving to Salem. She complained feeling pain and fever. She would become the subject of prayer and discussion amongst the colonists. ... ... middle of paper ... ...ly influenced by religious and property disputes. References Campbell, D. M. (2013, July 4). Puritanism in New England. Retrieved March 23, 2014, from Literary Movements. Dept. of English, Washington State University: http://public.wsu.edu/~campbelld/amlit/purdef.htm Foner, E. (2012). Give Me Liberty, An American History (Third ed.). (S. Forman, Ed.) New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. History.com Staff. (2011). Salem Witch Trials. Retrieved March 23, 2014, from History.com: http://www.history.com/topics/salem-witch-trials Linder, D. (2009, September). The Witchcraft Trials in Salem: A Commentary . Retrieved March 23, 2014, from Famous American Trials: http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/salem/SAL_ACCT.HTM Mather, C. (2014). Cotton Mather > Quotes. Retrieved March 23, 2014, from Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/82864.Cotton_Mather

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