Salem was mostly made up of Puritans, and many of the town’s laws were based on religion (O’Keefe, 18). For example, it was illegal to not attend church, and men and women could not sit on the same sides during church. Anyone who didn’t have the same beliefs as the rest of the town was considered evil. Salem people blamed anything that went wrong in the town on the devil, evil spirits, and witches: they were suspicious of anyone who was sick, homeless, or different from the rest of the community; the town assumed that these people must be under the influence of the devil. A person accused of working with the devil could be punished by death. Besides having a constant fear of evil spirits, Salem also faced other struggles. Salem had very poor sanitation; consequently, illnesses were common in the town. Salem also had multiple social issues. As Patti Wingington says, Salem was “a breeding ground for fearmongering, accusations, and
suspicion (Wingington, “Salem”);” families often fought and argued with other families, so gossip and rumors were common. Having a bad relationship with someone who had more influence on the town could a person in trouble with the community, like being accused of a crime that he or she did not commit.
In the wi...
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...as working with the evil, and everyone was worried that a witch would torment them. Fear of the devil had become much worse during the trials. It was believed that his presence was everywhere in the town, and people were afraid that they would have an encounter with him and be killed. The panic caused for the Salem witch trials to become out of control.
Eventually, the Salem witch trials ended. Spectral evidence was outlawed; executions stopped; people were released from prison. Talk of witchcraft quieted down, and the town went back about its business. However, the Salem witch trials will always be a mark in our nation’s history. They show just how far judgments and suspicion can go, and the extreme consequences they cause. People have always been criticized, mocked, and judged for their differences, and the Salem witch trials are an example of our injustices.
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