Socioeconomic Issues In The Salem Witch Trials

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The Salem witch trials of 1692 were one of the bloodiest witch-hunts in America colonial history. The event started in the house of the new minister of Salem, Samuel Parris, when his daughter, Betty, suffered from mysterious symptoms, and later she accused her slave, Tibuta, for using witchcraft on her. Later, two other women, Sarah Goode and Sarah Osborne, were accused of using witchcraft on other girls; right after the accusations, they were arrested (Lecture 9/13/2016). As a result, the hunt of witches began which led to hundreds of arrests, and nineteen accused were hanged (Text 190). Although three hundred years have passed, the true cause of the episode remains a mystery. Many scholars have conducted numerous studies of the trails, however,…show more content…
The inhabitants of Salem village were Puritans who left Great Britain to pursue their religious freedom. However, their search for the sacred land was merely a dream; as they set foot on the new land, they faced numerous challenges. In the article, Boyer and Nissenbaum point out, “problems which [confront] Salem Village … :the pressure of commercial capitalism and the social style that [accompany] it; the breaking away of outlying areas from parent towns … the shifting locus of authority within individual communities and society as a whole” (Text 194). These social and economic problems created a conflict between Salem village and Salem town - in other words, the gap between the poor and the wealthy, “a community … that its inhabitants experienced two different economic systems, two different ways of life, at unavoidably close range; and so structured politically that it was next to impossible to locate” (Text 195). These differences were directly responsible for socioeconomic tensions. However, socioeconomic problems weren’t the only reasons of the tension as the authors believe factionalism play a role as well. According to the authors, “[t]he charges against Daniel Andrew and Phillip English, for example, followed closely upon their election as Salem Town selectment” (Text 195), therefore, these charges were merely a reason to eliminate political opponents. Yet that wasn’t the worse part, the population of the village was divided into two factions: pro-Parris and anti-Parris. After analyzing many different cases, the authors conclude, “supporters of the trails generally belonged to the pro-Parris faction, and opponents of the

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