The Salem Witch Trials

analytical Essay
1244 words
1244 words

The Salem Witch Trials Situation and Politics At The Time The period just prior to the Salem Witch Trials as cited by Blumberg (2007) was marred by conflict and war with England’s rival France. The English rulers William and Mary started a war with France in 1689, known as King William’s war to the colonists. This war ravaged areas of New York, Nova Scotia and Quebec, propelling refugees into Essex county and Salem Village in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The refugees created a strain on Salem’s resources and aggravated the rivalry between the Putnams and Porters the two clans who were competing for control of the village and its pulpit. The Putnams tied to farmers because they owned most of the farmland wanted to be separate from the town and the Porters tied to the seafarers and thriving harbor wanted to remain part of Sale Town. Additionally Reverend Samuel Parris, Salem’s first ordained minister was disliked because he was rigid and greedy, leading to controversy and belief by the Puritan villagers that the Devil was at work with all the quarreling. As cited by Sutter (2003), during the period, contracts for ministers provided them a modest salary, use of a house and free firewood; Reverend Parris received this and much more, including the title and deed to the parsonage and its surrounding land. Those residents who were angered by Reverend Parris’ benefits and who wanted to remain part of Salem Town refused to attend worship services and withheld their local taxes. This latter action was of consequence because local taxes helped pay the minister’s salary and provided his firewood. In October 1691, Parris’ opponents comprised the majority of the new Salem Village Committee, who refused to assess local taxes for Parris’... ... middle of paper ... ...dence. Without the admission of “spectral evidence”, twenty-eight of the last thirty-three witchcraft trials ended in acquittal, the three convicted witches were later pardoned and in May 1693, Governor Phips released from prison all remaining accused or convicted witches. Overall, religion had a major effect on the Salem Witch Trials, because it was an integral part of Salem and colonial society at the time and influenced not only the accusers and accused, but the leadership of English society in North America as well. Furthermore, controversial evidence based on speculative or fabricated information was admitted because it conformed to the religious beliefs of the time. Although many of the emigrants from England left because of religious persecution, in Salem they themselves engaged in religious persecution, based merely on trivial accusations and superstition.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how reverend parris' daughter elizabeth and niece abigail williams began having fits, screaming, throwing things, uttering weird sounds, contorting in pain, and complaining of fever.
  • Explains that the period prior to the salem witch trials was marred by conflict and war with england’s rival france.
  • Explains that when other playmates, including ann putnam, mercy lewis and mary walcott began exhibiting unusual behavior, talks about "witchcraft" increased.
  • Describes how tituba, good, and osborne were interrogated and jailed. they were accused of witchcraft based on their testimony.
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