On an uncommonly balmy afternoon in late November, I peer out the window of the Springfield-Vandalia stagecoach. Whereas I should be full of excitement over attending my first session as a legislator, I can’t stop thinking about the embarrassment I suffered a few days ago in Judge Green’s makeshift courtroom.
When Berry and I gave Billy Greene our note for the purchase of his store, he assigned it—without advising us—to Reuben Radford from whom he had previously bought the business. Radford then endorsed our note to Peter Van Bergen, a keen-eyed businessman, to satisfy a debt. When Radford failed to pay, Van Bergen brought suit against Berry and me.
As I stood before Judge Green he lamented that he had no option but to award the tight-fisted Van Bergen a judgment against my horse and surveying tools. I’d have to come up with cash to pay him—nearly four-hundred dollars—or everything I owned would be sold at auction. Only my books escaped lien because Green ascribed no value to them; he winked at me as he rapped his gavel.
But what good are books when my future is evaporating before my eyes?
After jostling about in the stagecoach for nearly thirty hours, we are now approaching Vandalia’s post office in the heart of the capital. The smattering of log cabins that peek through dust clouds rising out of the town’s dirt streets are interspersed with occasional brick and clapboard houses.
John Stuart, my mentor and a fellow anti-Jackson legislator, is seated across from me. His unperturbed countenance speaks of his familiarity with the proceedings soon to begin. I, on the other hand, expose my inexperience with a line of perspiration collecting along my newly starched collar. At the urging of several New Salem friends, Coleman Smoot a...
... middle of paper ...
...a bead of blood off her finger with my kerchief. “Is it better?” I ask.
After hesitating, Fannie smiles. “Thank you, Abe. I believe you have the gift of healing.”
Looking across the quilting frame at Mrs. Herndon I say, “I’m in a quandary and hope you can lend me some advice. Which of these two girls should I marry?”
Annie glares up at me and proceeds to stitch with frenzy, staring straight ahead, not bothering to look down at her work. Noticing her long, irregular stitches I point to her oversight and say, “Why Annie, I think your needle has gone off on its own.”
She jumps from her seat and throws her needle down on the quilt. I reach for her hand. She jerks it away.
I beg her to sit down. “I was only teasing,” I say.
Without acknowledging my awkward apology, she runs off crying.
I stand, dazed as she disappears around the corner, my heart filled with shame.
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John M. Murrin’s essay Coming to Terms with the Salem Witch Trials helps detail the events of these trials and explains why they might have occurred. The witch trials happened during a “particularly turbulent time in the history of colonial Massachusetts and the early modern atlantic world” (Murrin, 339). Salem came to be in 1629 and less than seventy years later found itself in a mess of witch craft.
The Salem, Massachusetts Witch Trials have generated extensive evaluation and interpretation. To explain the events in Salem, psychological, political, environmental, physical, and sociological analysis have all been examined. The authors Linnda Caporael, Elaine Breslaw, Anne Zeller, and Richard Latner all present differing perspectives to speculate about the events of the Salem Witch Trials. This changing interpretation and perspective has resulted in an extensive historiography to explain the
“Corruption is like a ball of snow, once it’s set a rolling it must increase (Charles Caleb Colton).” Colton describes that once corruption has begun, it is difficult to stop. Corruption has existed in this country, let alone this very planet, since the beginning of time. With corruption involves: money, power, and favoritism. Many people argue today that racism is still a major problem to overcome in today’s legal system. American author (and local Chicago resident) Steve Bogira jumps into the center of the United States justice system and tells the story of what happens in a typical year for the Cook Country Criminal Courthouse, which has been noted as one of the most hectic and busiest felony courthouses in the entire country. After getting permission from one of the courthouse judges’ (Judge Locallo) he was allowed to venture in and get eyewitness accounts of what the American Legal System is and how it operates. Not only did he get access to the courtroom but: Locallo’s chambers, staff, even his own home. In this book we get to read first hand account of how America handles issues like: how money and power play in the court, the favoritism towards certain ethnic groups, and the façade that has to be put on by both the defendants and Cook County Workers,
When one evokes The Salem Witch Trials of 1692, the image that comes to most peoples minds are that of witches with pointed hats riding broomsticks. This is not helped by the current town of Salem, Massachusetts, which profits from the hundreds of thousands of tourists a year by mythologizing the trials and those who were participants. While there have been countless books, papers, essays, and dissertations done on this subject, there never seems to be a shortage in curiosity from historians on these events. Thus, we have Bernard Rosenthal's book, Salem Story: Reading the Witch Trials of 1692, another entry in the historiographical landscape of the Salem Witch Trials. This book, however, is different from most that precede it in that it does not focus on one single aspect, character, or event; rather Rosenthal tells the story of Salem in 1692 as a narrative, piecing together information principally from primary documents, while commenting on others ideas and assessments. By doing so, the audience sees that there is much more to the individual stories within the trials, and chips away at the mythology that has pervaded the subject since its happening. Instead of a typical thesis, Rosenthal writes the book as he sees the events fold out through the primary documents, so the book becomes more of an account of what happened according to primary sources in 1692 rather than a retelling under a new light.
Gretchen A. Adams, the author of the journal, describes how the stereotype and image of colonial puritans were portrayed as hasty prosecutors, and victims to mass hysteria. “In fact, Salem’s witch-hunt…operated under the influence of “hysteria, witch hunts, or vigilantes”, this excerpt talks about how even in the mid-20th century people were using the Salem witch trials as an example of hysteria and prosecution (Adams p.24). In ‘Escaping Salem’, Godbeer talks about how even the people of Stamford also went into a panic, “Once the Wescots…had to be willing to speak out” (p.10). This shows that even when Stamford witch hunt was mild compared to the Salem hunts, people still can assume the worst when a conflict happens. The article later mentions how Americans in the 19th century were exaggerating the witch trials as a means of propaganda against the northern politicians, “In the 1850s… uniquely suited to derive the maximum emotional reaction from its intended audience” (Adams
“The Salem witchcraft trials,” a phrase not too often heard these days in everyday conversation. Witches burning at the stake, or drowning in a tub of water, and perhaps the most humane way of their execution, hanging. This piece of American history is a prudent example of how everyday people can, and were, be lead astray from what would normally be considered ridiculous and preposterous ideas, into something that warrants these horrible means of human demise. What or more importantly who was responsible for this catastrophic loss of life? The Quaker society of colonial America was where these events took place. The term Quaker refers to a member of a religious sect called The Society of Friends, which had significant religious influence in the northeastern parts of America, perhaps too much influence. The man who played a great part in these events was Cotton Mather.
This scandalous case centers on a woman named Katherine Watkins. On Friday, August 18, 1681, Katherine accused a slave by the name of John Long, also known as Jack, of rape. There was some evidence of violence, but there were also outstanding questions about her character and conduct. Those who testified, however, painted a different picture about certain events preceding the crime. They were John Aust, William Harding, Mary Winter, Lambert Tye, Humphrey Smith, Jack White (Negro), Dirk (Negro), and Mingo (Negro). Whether these individuals were so inclined because Katherine Watkins was a Quaker, rather than an Anglican, we can never really know. That certainly fueled the fire, though. The day in question involved an afternoon of cider drinking. Several of the witnesses in the testimonies recounted Mrs. Watkins sexual advances to multiple of Thomas Cocke 's slaves, particularly, a mulatto named Jack. John Aust pleaded that Katherine, at one point, had lifted the shirt of one slave and announced “Dirke thou wilt have a good long thing” (Sex and Relations, 53). She allegedly had thrown another on the bed, kissed him, and, “put her hand into his codpiece” (Sex and Relations, 53). The most interesting piece of evidence that Aust brings forward is that Jack was actually avoiding Watkins at the party, an apparent attempt at avoiding any intimate entanglement with her (Sex and Relations, 52). Finally, he reported that Watkins and Jack had gone into a side room (Sex and Relations, 53). Later in the trial, Humphrey Smith seemingly referred to Aust 's testimony. His deposition suggested that he and Aust had some reservations about Jack 's guilt (Sex and Relations 54). Clearly, the character of the plaintiff was considered important evidence in the trial of a slave for rape. The reasonable extenuating circumstances of the case might have granted the magistrates leave way
The notorious witch trials of Salem, Massachusetts occurred from June through September. It is a brief, but turbulent period in history and the causes of the trials have long been a source of discussion among historians. Many try to explain or rationalize the bizarre happenings of the witch hunts and the causes that contributed to them. To understand the trials and how they came to be, we must first examine the ideals and views of the people surrounding the events. Although religious beliefs were the most influential factor, socioeconomic tensions, and ergot poisoning are also strongly supported theories. A combination of motives seems the most rational explanation of the frenzy that followed the illness of the two girls. This paper looks closely at the some of the possible causes of one of the most notable occurrences in history.
The Salem Witch Trials was indeed one of the most disturbing events to have ever occurred in history. Though the madness was short-lived, it left a devastating impact on the village that rippled through all Massachusetts. One of the most prominent figures who hastened the end to this climate of hysteria is none other than Giles Corey. A simple and uneducated farmer, Corey serves as a paradigm of unparalleled fortitude and resolve; a hero who lived for what he believed in until the absolute end.
In this research she finds that almost all of the accused had ties to the Indian war (King Williams War). Many of the people who were accused were participants or family members of those in the war. The loss of their richness was God's punishment, which lead the town to be filled with fear and finding a way to escape. The community indication of panic, uncertainty and delusion is what made the author questions if these conflicts are what lead the events in Salem to develop.
During his life John was a well respected and influential individual within the town of Salem. From humble beginnings, John had been a farmer throughout his life and eventually married Elizabeth Proctor. He had three boys with Elizabeth, all whom loved their father dearly. While loving and caring to his family, John was also a stern man who wasn’t easily swayed. His words often resonated with those around
The thoroughness is one of its key strengths, allowing for people of varying knowledge about Salem to gain an understanding of the events and background of the witch trials. The author includes multiple sources to show the exceptionally varying ideals and their effects on Salem. “the peace that came under Joseph Green's conciliatory leaders... the important role religious strife played in the events of 1692”(Latner, 2006, 118). Joseph Green completely paralleled his predecessors, he was responsible for restoring order to Salem. This is significant because it shows the impact that ministers had, they had the power to change the town completely, Green was one of the first to not cause strife. Compared to Christine Leigh Heyrman’s “Witchcraft in Salem Village: Intersections of Religion and Society” Latner’s article correlates with the central idea that religious leaders and religion itself started the witch
Giles Corey is an outspoken member of Salem Village, which can sometimes get himself and others into trouble. Giles, one could say, is infamous in the town for causing disputes and attempting to settle those disputes in court. In one instance, Giles is embedded in an argument with Thomas Putnam about land that he believes rightfully belongs to John Proctor. Putnam is informed that his grandfather had a history of willing away land that he did not own. While the argument does not involve him, Giles feels the need to interject when he supports Proctor’s claim by saying, “That’s God’s truth; he nearly willed away my north pasture” (32). The argument becomes so heated that Putnam threatens to clap a writ on Giles. This, of course, seems of little threat to Giles as he has been in court thir...