The evidence of witchcraft and related works has been around for many centuries. Gradually, though, a mixture a religious, economical, and political reasons instigated different periods of fear and uncertainty among society. Witchcraft was thought of as a connection to the devil that made the victim do evil and strange deeds. (Sutter par. 1) In the sixteenth, seventeenth, and twentieth century, the hysteria over certain causes resulted in prosecution in the Salem Witch Trials, European Witchcraft Craze, and the McCarthy hearings. These three events all used uncertain and unjustly accusations to attack the accused.
The Salem witch trials in Massachusetts Colony lasted from 1692 to early 1693. Even before the witchcraft trials, Salem Village was not exactly known as a bastion of tranquillity in New England. (Sutter par.2) There was a population of over six hundred that was divided into two main parts; those that wanted to separate from Salem Town and those that did not. They divided themselves into the eastern and western parts of the town. With this tension and an unfortunate combination of economic conditions, congregational strife, teenage boredom, and personal jealousies, (Oliver par. 2) Salem became unstable. When Elizabeth Parris and Abigail Williams, Reverend Samuel Parris's daughter and niece, started to exhibit strange behavior including convulsive seizures, screaming, and trances, (Oliver par. 2) and the doctor declared that the girls were under the influence of the devil, the townspeople believed him. This could be because there was an Indian War ranging less than seventy miles away, and with many refugees from the war were in tha...
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...uring the McCarthy hearings, people were prosecuted for being communists even without valid proof just as in the two witchcraft crazes, people were prosecuted for being witches without valid proof. All three were caused mainly of fear of the so-called evil.
During a time of crisis, people turn to extreme solutions. The witchcraft hysteria of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and the McCarthy hearings are only three examples of how people can try to prosecute those they fear by assumption and without valid proof. The witchcraft hysteria should warn us to think about how best to safeguard and improve our system of justice to avoid unjustly trials that lead to unfair prosecution. These trials come to show as a reminder of how politics, family conflicts, religion, economics, and the imagination and fears of people (Sutter par.1) can yield tragic consequences.
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