Taking a Closer Look at The Salem Witch Trials

explanatory Essay
900 words
900 words

During the time of the Salem Witch Trials the intertwining of religion and government did not allow citizens of Salem, Massachusetts the right to a fair trial, so it was the states responsibility to separate the two. In the 1600’s the Puritan religion was greatly enforced by the government. It wouldn’t be until many years later that separation of church and state became a law. The Salem Witch trials were when hundreds of citizens of Salem, Massachusetts were put on trial for devil-worship or witchcraft and more than 20 were executed in 1692. This is an example of mass religion paranoia. The whole ordeal began in the home of Reverend Samuel Parris. People soon began to notice strange behavior from Parris’s slave, Tituba, and his daughters. Many claimed to have seen Parris’s daughters doing back magic dances in the woods, and fall to the floor screaming hysterically. Not so long after, this strange behavior began to spread across Salem. Most of the accusations were made against innocent people for reasons of economic conditions, teenage boredom, and personal jealousies. Of course there was also the fact that people weren’t aware of the certain mental illnesses caused by their environment. For example the one of the first people to be accused of witchcraft was a young girl named Betty Paris who one day became very ill with convulsive erogtism. Ergot is a fungus that invades growing kernels of rye, so it is very likely that she got sick from simply eating bread. Since people were scientifically unable to explain her sudden seizures and hallucinations she was accused of witchcraft. This form of accusing holds zero form of justice. The accusers weren’t even able to explain what happened themselves, so instead of worrying about t... ... middle of paper ... ...ged. Her case probably wasn’t the only one that ended like this. In 1702, the general court finally ruled the trials unlawful. Soon after the main accuser Anne Putman was made to apologize to the people of Salem, as well as Samuel Sewall, a judge during the trials, publicly confessed of guilt and apologized. Reverend Samuel Sewall also confessed of his misjudgment, but he mostly blamed others. Massachusetts even formally apologized for the event in Salem. Even though it took ten years the trials were finally over and the citizens of Salem were able to live with the right to having a fairer trial. Unfortunately, after this whole ordeal the Salem community became separated. The general court was set on a path to separating the beliefs of the church and the government. Luckily, years later a law would be passed in the Constitution that separates church and state.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that during the salem witch trials, the intertwining of religion and government didn't allow citizens in massachusetts the right to a fair trial, so it was the states responsibility to separate the two.
  • Explains that the salem witch trials were an example of mass religion paranoia. people noticed strange behavior from parris’s slave, tituba, and his daughters.
  • Explains that most of the accusations were made against innocent people for reasons of economic conditions, teenage boredom, and personal jealousies. betty paris became ill with convulsive erogtism and was accused of witchcraft.
  • Explains that the accusers weren't able to explain what happened, so instead of worrying about the health of their own people they accused them of being devil worshipers and executed them.
  • Explains that the salem witch trials were a perfect chance to get rid of their enemies. people would accuse others so they could take their land.
  • Explains that the courts of salem were equally to blame for all of this. it wasn't until years later that people started to notice that they were all just being fed lies and the whole ordeal was just unfair.
  • Explains that the first form of evidence was a failed test. convicted men and women were often asked to take tests like reciting the lord’s prayer.
  • Explains that the third form of evidence is a witness. a witness could have an accused one convicted of witchcraft if they could link their own misfortune with the sorcery of someone accused.
  • Explains that confession was the only evidence that could save someone accused. the accused would tearfully confess and promise repentance.
  • Opines that thomas brattle, who saw everything wrong about the trials, was willing to say what he thought about it even if it meant punishment.
  • Explains that when people wanted to speak out against the salem witch trials, they stayed quiet in fear that the court would just accuse them of "worshipping the devil." people see the trials as a way of the church and court to have individualistic women to conform
  • Narrates how a woman named rebecca nurse was accused of witchcraft by two other women and thrown in jail. when her sister tried to plead her innocence in court, she was found innocent and hanged.
  • Narrates how the general court ruled the trials unlawful in 1702, and how reverend samuel sewall publicly confessed of his misjudgment.
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