Salem Witch Trials Research Paper

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Story/Question: The “Afflicted Girls” of the Salem Witch Trials.

Gender School: The hysteria of the witchcraft episode in Salem, Massachusetts developed over two years during the late 1690’s. One of the primary causes that contributed to the deaths of one hundred and twenty-six people, were the young village girls called the “afflicted”, who accused the women of the village of witchcraft. The majority of the accused and accusers were females while the males of the village held the important roles of trial and jury during these times.
An “afflicted” person experienced fits, trances and testified in court against the defendants’ accused of practicing the art of witchcraft. The original four “afflicted girls” were Elizabeth Hubbard, Anne …show more content…

Two of the four girls were orphans that lived with close relatives. Elizabeth Hubbard lived with a great-aunt and uncle, and Abigail Williams lived with her cousin Elizabeth Parris, who was the daughter of the Salem minister, Rev. Samuel Parris. Ann Putnam Jr. was the daughter of a family of high social status in the village. The childhood of these girls held an important role to their accusations.
During this time in Colonial America, teenage girls did not have an important role in society. It is believed their lack of status and family life led the girls to create a story to capture the attention of the village. Their stories and accusations escalated with the local village minister, Rev. Samuel Parris and key members of society such as Cotton Mather further exploiting the actions of the “afflicted girls”. Rev. Parris and Mathers’ both had their own agendas for backing these trials. After the trials, only one of the girls acknowledged their accusations were false, Ann Putnam confessed to lying in order to retain her church membership. Both Elizabeth Hubbard and Abigail disappeared after the trials, while Elizabeth Parris went on with her life, eventually marrying and raising a large …show more content…

Accused witches were both single and married. Often the accused that were married had abusive marriages or questionable behaviors that did not follow the strict Puritan religious protocols. For example, Bridget Bishop was married to an abusive husband and it is believed her accusation were the result of her husband’s comment that she was an unfit spouse that consorted with the Devil.
Other married women led respectable lives for years and would be accused of witchcraft only after another villager slandered her reputation. In the case of Susanna Martin, she led a decent life for over twenty years but faced two trials of being a witch. During the first trial she was found innocent and her accuser, William Sargent was fined for witch slander. Unfortunately, she was found guilty at her second trial where Cotton Mather stated that she was a truly wicked person, which she responded that she had tried to live a life of

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