The Salem Witch Trials Essay

The Salem Witch Trials Essay

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More than 200 people were accused of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials, 20 people were executed and many people throughout history have blamed this all on the theological views of this time period, but was there truly a much larger but more secretive reason for all these accusations and executions? To begin understanding the Salem Witch Trials you will need a better understanding of some beliefs and troubles of the puritans at this time Richard Godbeer states in his book The Salem Witch Hunt “Puritans in particular believed that each and every occurrence in this world, however seemingly trivial, was willed by God.” With this quote you can see how many historians have said the cause of these trials was based in the people of Salem’s theological views, but, if you dig a little deeper and begin to see the large differences of Salem Village and Salem Town and the politics and troubles that were occurring in each you will begin to get a more clear picture of what was truly unfolding.
Salem Town was a growing economic port center while Salem Village was a more rural and slowly growing farming community so ultimately there began to be large cultural and economic differences between these two closely connected towns. When the village began to gain autonomy by building a church and beginning to build its own committee to enforce their own taxes the economic differences grew much deeper within the Village. This group or council could consist of no more than five men and was elected yearly at the town general meeting these men assessed all taxes on the people for the upkeep of the ministry. A question many people of Salem Village began to ask was should you have to be a member of the church of the village or just be a taxpayer to b...


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...heavily with the town and even attended church there. Proctor was a strong advocate against the witch court and showed many people of Salem Village why they should not go against the accusers as they could easily become a target. The people of Ipswich which was the border between Salem Village and Salem Town brought up a petition for the release of their neighbor John Proctor and his wife Elizabeth to the court on August 5, 1692 with 32 signatures on it, asking for the release of the two. This petition alone can show you how this highly factionalized society viewed this as blasphemy and thought these outsiders had no right to question the charges the people of Salem had brought against the two and John Proctor was hung six days later even though he had many supporters advocating stating he was a sinner but still a good Christian who was not in bed with the devil.



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