Essay about The Salem Witch Trials : Annotated Bibliography

Essay about The Salem Witch Trials : Annotated Bibliography

Length: 1222 words (3.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In 1692 Salem, Massachusetts, a group of young women began to display erratic and unusual mental and physical behaviour. The manifestation of the unfamiliar symptoms, and Puritan 17th century ideology, initiated a yearning for rationalization for the behaviour. Therefore to explain their behaviour the young women accused the slave woman Tituba of practicing witchcraft and afflicting them. Thus began the Salem Witch Trials.
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 Salem Witch Trials. Comparing and contrasting four article with differing viewpoints illustrates the historiographic significance of the Salem Witch Trials. The four authors demonstrate how differing methodologies lead to varying conclusions to explain the circumstances of the Salem Witch Trials.
The historian Elaine G. Breslaw has authored various publications on the history of witchcraft. Her 1997 article “Tituba’s Confession: The Multicultural Dimension of the 1692 Salem Witch Hunt” arguing the cultural significance of Tituba the Indian slave women was of key significance in shaping the historiography of the Salem Witch Trials. Breslaw describes Tituba as essential and pivotal, primarily because of Puritan misunderstanding and misconception about Tituba’s culture and race. Cultural misinterpretation was fu...


... middle of paper ...


...xplain the events in Salem. Latner undoubtedly factually supports his argument to the greatest extent, creating a convincing argument through his reliance on primary sources. Although Zeller and Caporael present interesting and compelling arguments to explain behaviour, their analyses lack conclusive evidence. Using suggestive facts as the basis of an interpretation is a flawed methodology. Breslaw’s establishment of Tituba as a key figure in the events of the Salem Witch Trials was an important historiographical development. All of the author’s agree Tituba’s confession was essential in initiating the events in Salem. Arguably, had it not been for Tituba’s confession, the Salem Witch Trials would not have escalated nor been of historical significance. The Salem Witch Trials provide a lens to illustrate the importance and development of historiographical methods.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Salem Witch Trials Essays

- Salem Witch Trials Salem, Massachusetts is a town infamous for its witchcraft trials and mass executions in 1692. Within that year alone, the conservative Puritan authorities of Salem arrested 175 people, and hung twenty two of them. Yet, what could go so terribly wrong so that an entire town of upright citizens would decline to such a state of hysteria so that they would accuse their own neighbors of wizardry. Conzen's America's History points out that even educated and esteemed men such as Samuel Sewall tended toward superstition, associating the natural with the supernatural; and even though they were Christians, they still did not entirely dismiss the pagan deities popular in their...   [tags: Free Essays]

Free Essays
422 words (1.2 pages)

The Trials Of The Salem Witch Trials Essay

- Accusations of witchcraft ran rampant in the 17th century colonial settlements in the United States. The individuals accused, mostly women, were put on trial and punished, if found guilty. The most well-known of such cases on public record are the Salem Witch Trials. Between February, 1692 and May, 1693, hearings and prosecutions were set up to deal with those accused of dabbling in the dark arts in the cities of Andover, Salem, and Ipswich, all in Massachusetts Bay. These trials came to commonly be referred to as the Salem Witch Trials because some of the most notorious cases were heard in the Oyer and Terminer courts in Salem....   [tags: Salem witch trials, Witchcraft, Salem]

Better Essays
2209 words (6.3 pages)

The Trials Of Salem Witch Trials Essay examples

- The Salem Witch Trials were a series of gruesome trials that began in Salem Massachusetts in 1692 and lasted until 1693. During that year, more than 200 Salem residents were accused and convicted of witchcraft, 19 of whom were hung for the crime (List of 5…). This was a bloody time for Salem that left many of its citizens broken and scared. Although the main cause for these trials seems to be fear from breaking the Partisan religion, Greed and revenge come in a close second. Not to mention, cold weather and disease which contributed highly to the outcome of the trials....   [tags: Salem witch trials, Witchcraft, Salem]

Better Essays
738 words (2.1 pages)

The Trials Of The Salem Witch Trials Essay

- The Salem Witch Trials took place in the summer and into the fall of the year 1692, and during this dark time of American history, over 200 people had been accused of witchcraft and put in jail. Twenty of these accused were executed; nineteen of them were found guilty and were put to death by hanging. One refused to plead guilty, so the villagers tortured him by pressing him with large stones until he died. The Salem Witch Trials was an infamous, scary time period in American history that exhibited the amount of fear people had of the devil and the supernatural; the people of this time period accused, arrested, and executed many innocent people because of this fear, and there are severa...   [tags: Salem witch trials, Witchcraft, Salem]

Better Essays
1060 words (3 pages)

The Trials Of The Salem Witch Trials Essay

- Do you want your life resting in the words of your worst enemy. Before the formation of the American legal system, accusations determined outcomes. In the late 1600’s the Puritans in New England were just starting to build civil resolutions to village disputes. A notable conflict was based on their strong belief in the devil and witchcraft creating an atmosphere of fear and suspicion. Instead of seeking justice of those accused of witchcraft, the inexperienced magistrates were led to presume guilt simply because of odd behavior....   [tags: Salem witch trials, Witchcraft, The Crucible]

Better Essays
1291 words (3.7 pages)

The Trials Of The Salem Witch Trials Essay example

- The Salem witch trials is possibly one of the most controversial events in early American history, where many innocent individuals were wrongly accused of witchcraft. Even though the trials occurred over three hundred years, ago, they still continue to be studied with great interest; however there is still not a conclusion to what truly caused the hysteria. Although the settlers in Salem, Massachusetts were superstitious, they could have prevented the trials from occurring, a possible similarity to our modern judicial system....   [tags: Salem witch trials, Witchcraft, Jury, Salem]

Better Essays
1131 words (3.2 pages)

Essay on The Trials Of Salem Witch Trials

- Salem witch trials The Salem Witch Trials were a series of harsh, unconstitutional, and even chaotic trials that killed several innocent people and harmed others. There were several reasons different sources have come up with that are said to have cause in the trials and the way they played out. Some of the reasons that cause the trials to go how they went is the weather, religion, and lust. Through out my research over the topic I learned that the judges in charge of the trials let fear and conspiracy control their judgment in the trials and caused several innocent people to die....   [tags: Salem witch trials, Witchcraft, The Crucible]

Better Essays
1140 words (3.3 pages)

The Trials Of The Salem Witch Trials Essay

- In 1692 the town of Salem, Massachusetts was home to one of the most controversial upsets in judicial history. The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings and prosecutions in which several people in colonial Massachusetts were accused of performing witchcraft. The supernatural was a commonplace observance in 17th-century North America. “:Witchcraft cases were hardly unknown in New England in the 1600s—more than a hundred were recorded before 1692—but they were mostly isolated, widely separated in time and space, scattered around the colonies”(Brandt 38)....   [tags: Salem witch trials, Witchcraft, Puritan, Salem]

Better Essays
727 words (2.1 pages)

Essay about The Salem Witch Trials Of Salem

- The Salem witch trials took place in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. It was an outbreak of one Puritan accusing another, hearings, trials, and executions of the people found guilty of witchcraft. One day, three teenage girls claimed to be possessed and were throwing violent fits consisting of vomiting, choking and hallucinations. Were they just bored, or was something really going on. The Puritan society was very patriarchal meaning their society relied heavily on the men in the families. The eldest male in a family was the head of the house and held all of the power, leaving the women to raise the children and teach them about God....   [tags: Salem witch trials, Puritan, Witchcraft, Satan]

Better Essays
1692 words (4.8 pages)

The Salem Witch Trials Of 1692 Essay

- Year 1692, Hundreds of people, accused with the conviction of witchcraft, stoned to death, or in confinement with no justice trials. “From June through September of 1692, nineteen men and women, all having been convicted of witchcraft, were carted to Gallows Hill, a barren slope near Salem Village, for hanging” (The Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692) What caused the mass hysteria and disaster of Salem; for, the answer is unknown. Yet, many events and factors had contributed to the accusations, the punishments, and the confessions of the sentenced....   [tags: Salem witch trials, Witchcraft, Salem]

Better Essays
1230 words (3.5 pages)