The Unjust System of New England Puritan Court System

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The court system in Puritan New England was an unfair and unjust system, stemming from the general court of Massachusetts. Many of the trials and procedures were ludicrous. General life in the Puritan communities was centered around religion and the judicial system reflected this. Religion crept into laws and the courts until they were practically combined. Puritan's valued their religion zealously and it became part of everyday life in the colony.
Religion was a huge part of law, the court, and the state in Puritan New England. The Puritan church was mixed with the state and often they seemed to almost combine. Laws were a combination of the state and religion (Yale 9). Referring to church and state, David Yale wrote, “The distinction is far from clear” (Yale 9). This was in contrast to the Puritan founders who origionally wanted church and state to be separate, but able to work together (Yale 9). The Church had so much power in the state, it ultimately organized the civil government (Yale 9). If a person would rebel against the government and criticize or defy the Puritan rule, it would be considered a sin against God. Religion also had a association with questioning in the courts and religion was part of the prosecution. An example of this is during the examination of Sarah Good by John Hathorne. The examination starts off with this text. “(Hathorne) Sarah Good what evil spirit have you fimiliarity with. (Sarah Good) None. (H) Have you made no contact with the devil. (S G) Good answered no. (H) WHy doe you hurt these children. (S G) I doe not hurt them. I scorn it. (H) Who doe you imploy then to doe it. (S G) No creature but I am falsely accused” (Linder umck.edu). This shows a trait in Hawthorne's prosecution style where he...

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...ificant on the jury, they are still there to decide innocence of guilt. Another very important fact, is the ridiculousness and extremeness of the trials. The book did a good job in showing this in how the court ran and results of the trials. In the book, if anyone was guilty they would immediately be put to death. This was also true in Puritan law and death is an extremely common punishment for breaking the law. Also, the fact that a few little girls could change a whole town and take away lives seems crazy yet Abigail and Betty did play a big part in the Salem Witch Trials. Twenty people died in the trials as well as the book and this fact further illustrates how crazy the court was. Puritan history is littered with unbelievable trials and accusations that exemplify the Puritan court and the Salem Witch Trials, as well as The Crucible do a good job in showing this.

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