20 witches were sentenced to death in Salem 1692. Salem was made up of about two varieties of individuals. Puritans which were Protestant Christians and English immigrants. The Puritans believed anything that was written in the bible. They believed that the devil was real and that he was liable for the witches. He would enter a person’s body and convert them into a witch. Within Exodus 22:18 it states, “Though shalt not suffer a witch to live!” This ideology convinced the settlers that anyone who was proven to be a witch should be killed. However, no substantial evidence or proof that someone was a witch could be concluded; however, the people still wanted the accused witches to be killed. Now, why were twenty people sentenced to death in Salem because they were accused of being a witch without any corroborating evidence? We will discuss this with the principal concepts of Age/Gender; Acting/Lying; and the want of Power/Money. One reason behind the witch trial hysteria was Age/Gender. A piece of evidence that supports this cause is, sixty-one of the hundred and ten accused female witches - 55% - were married. Sixty-five of the eighty-eight accused female witches - 74% - were forty one or above. Additionally, twenty-three of the twenty-nine female accusers - 79% - were single. Thirteen of the twenty-seven female accusers - 48% - were between the ages of sixteen and twenty. This evidence helps justify the hysteria and the hangings because it illustrates how young single
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It all began in 1692, in Salem, Massachusetts, a Puritan town. Ironically, this supposed religious town, put 20 people to death for witchcraft. The invisible crime had made itself prevalent in the town through two girls, Betty Parris, age nine, and her 11 year old cousin Abigail Williams. These two girls, in order to escape punishment for witchcraft, accused two local white women and the slave Tituba (What Caused the Salem Witch Trial Hysteria of 1692?, Background Essay). It was this first accusation, that set forth the next turn of events. From here, the number of accusers grew. Suddenly, everyone’s neighbors became witches and the jails began to overflow. A special court was built to hold trials, however, the judicial system was biased along with the rest of the town. They allowed their set religious beliefs interfere with logical reasoning and evidence. Hence, the bias. The court proved all for not though, when it ordered a mass hanging on September 22, ending the witchcraft epidemic in Salem. To this day, historians still don’t fully understand what caused the hysteria in Salem. Thus, it could only be theorized the causes of such an event. Taking a gander at probability, the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 were likely rooted in scapegoating, greed, and bias.
From the time of the 1690’s the entirety of Salem, Massachusetts were Puritans. “The Puritan lifestyle was restrained and rigid: People were expected to work hard and repress their emotions or opinions. Individual differences were frowned upon.” (Salem Witch Trials, The World Behind the Hysteria). These people believed that doing anything sinful would result in punishment from God. Just as much as they believed in God, they also believed in the Devil. Keeping up with the Puritan code, it led to the first women being accused of witchcraft. They were viewed as pariahs, and seen differently. Had the Puritan government let the afflicted defend themselves, not be so dependent on religion, not investigating the facts or scrutinize the trials the killing of many could have been prevented. The hangings from the trials would ultimately be the last in America.
The conflict of the trials continued for months with no compromise in sight. The people of Salem needed to find more witches, so they used spectral evidence. If someone had a dream or vision of a certain person it was enough, and that person was accused as a witch (Fasting; Mather 74 80). Many people started to oppose these trials, and didn’t believe in spectral evidence, people opposed the witch trials, but they would say nothing because they may be the next one accused (Latson; Brooks). No one wanted to be accused, so they would do things to convince people that they were not witches. For example, people would put on a show at the trials of the witches (Kinchlow). Afflicted girls would have fits, and people would scream and yell at the accused. The trials were very strange, the judge and jury would act strange just like the people of Salem. The jury consisted of 12 men who decided the fate of the “witches” (Magoon 56; Roach 16). The judges were very lenient toward the people and didn’t really care what the accused had to say, if they listened to the accused they themselves may be accused. Five judges would hear the
Firstly, the conflicts were caused by the factors of gender, age, and marital status. When looking at the total number of men and women who were hanged, the women far outnumbered the men, 13 women to 7 men (Source A). Of the 24 males who were accused of witchcraft, 15 were married, while of the 110 females accused, 61 were married. This shows that the number of females accused outnumbered the men and the majority of those accused were married. Of the male accusers, all 5 were single, ranging from the ages of 11-20, whereas off the 29 females accusers, 23 were single (the other 6 were married). The ages of the accusers ranged from under 11 to over 21, with the majority being 16-20 years of age. There is a distinct pattern that stands out in the accused and the accusers. The accused were mainly
To begin, one cause of the Salem witch trial hysteria was envious, young women. One piece of textual evidence that supports this cause is out of the 34 accusers, 67% of them were single females. Married women were the most targeted group for accusations of witchcraft (doc B). This evidence helps to explain the hysteria because most of the single women were jealous of the lifestyle others were living. Married women showed status in the community. They had security, a family, and money. These things would cause younger single girls to become envious of married women. Furthermore, another piece of textual evidence is the westside of Salem village were the poor people the accusers. On the eastside of Salem village were the wealthy the accused (doc E). This evidence helps to explain the hysteria because the poor single women were jealous of what the wealthy married women had. More married women were accused by young single women. 96% of accusers lived on the west side of Salem
The largest outbreak of witchcraft in America took place in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. A group of girls, including the Parris’s Indian slave Tituba, gathered in the Salem village and were attempting to see the future by decoding “messages”. Shortly after this gathering the girls started showing signs of the possessed (pg. 73). To this day people all over America are still amazed with the events that took place in this time. But why is that? The fear of the village fell heavily onto the judicial system, which later made people focus on the proper separation of government and religious beliefs. Mass hysteria broke out amongst the village and many people were being accused, therefore leading to many innocent deaths. Although there could be many theories as to the reason the witch trials in Salem began, there are two points of view that are very commonly shared amongst people. Some believe that the Salem witch trials were women unconsciously searching for power, whereas others believe it was an encephalitis epidemic.
Moreover, the chosen victims that were condemned during the Salem Witch Trials also served to convert the public’s good faith in witches. Of the girls that had fallen ill in Salem, one of them named at least sixty-two names of possible witches (Kreiser). Although, a list of people was given the majority were unknown to the citizens of Salem which eludes to the concept that these were simply a delusion of a girl under the influence of hallucinations. Furthermore, even with this list being only sixty-two names long accusations continued to gather about the people in and around Salem, “Accusers and accusations multiplied. Of some 130 to 150 who were fingered as witches, 114 were charged; 50 confessed; and 19 hanged” (Conlin 2014: 68). The church used the few who were hanged (depicted in figure three) as an example to the people of Salem on what would happen to them should they decide to stray from God’s path and partake in witchcraft. This convinced the people that witches were heavily punished for their supernatural powers and for them to be punished so heavily then magic would have to be a sin. To continue, the previous reputation of the supposed ‘witches’ not only made them easy targets but it became associated with the persona of witches, “The acsusers’ targets could not have been better chosen for vulnerability by a department of sociology. Most of the putative witches were women… some of the victims were
Puritan Societal gender biases against women prompted what was called the "Witch Trials". Some trials took place in Europe around the same time, but my focus is about the trials that took place in Early America in New England. History notes these areas to be mostly in Hartford, Fairfield, and Salem. The latter being the most infamous and the most published. Although the question has been asked many times, there has not been a definite answer on Why did the trials take place? What happened to cause this phenomenon? There were several factors involving bias such as socioeconomic, historical, psychological and religious factors, but most notable were the gender biases that was evident. With all of these underlying influences, it was apparent that the one common link was women and the varying roles that they played during this time. Documented research states that approximately 78% of those accused were women (Karlsen, 1987) and similarly those who were executed were a high percentage of women.
Nineteen were hung, one was pressed and tortured to death, hundreds were imprisoned, and five had died while waiting to be trialed in prison. They were just a victim of being someone’s personal vendetta. The witch trials were revolved around a group of women that were said to of witnessed witchcraft. These young women were thirsting after their enemies to get the type of justice they thought to believe was reasonable for things certain people had done in the past that enraged them. Witch hunts like these root back far, all the way back to New England. During the 17th century europe was swarmed with accusations of
In 1692-1693, the Salem Witch Trial Hysteria occurred, resulting in 20 deaths out of the 200 accused of practicing the Devil’s magic, a practice that women were commonly accused of. Salem, Massachusetts, was a colony that consisted of Puritans, both Separatists and non Separatists alike. From the start, the Puritans believed that the Bible was true in all aspects: every word, every idea, every thought--was true. The Puritans also had minimal understanding of science, which led them to believe that phenomenon was an act of the Devil. Thus, when three young girls admitted to seeing demons and started behaving strangely, the Puritans grew progressively hysterical because they became more convinced that witches existed within Salem as they had little scientific knowledge. In a nutshell, the cause of the Salem Witch Trial Hysteria were Puritan fundamentalism, misogyny, and hysteria.
“THOU SHALT NOT SUFFER A WITCH TO LIVE.” (Document A, Exodus 22:18 KJV Bible) The Salem Witch Trial Hysteria started on June 10 and lasted until September 22, 1692. During this time 19 men and women were hanged for witchcraft, furthermore, even one man was pressed to death with stones just trying to get him to testify. The hysteria started with two very young girls, Betty Parris, age nine, and her eleven-year-old cousin Abigail Williams. (Stated in Background essay) There were at least three causes of the Salem witch trial hysteria. These reasons were the two young girls mentioned before, Ergotism, and Puritan beliefs.
Have you ever been wrongly accused of something and get in trouble for it? Have you ever wrongly accused somebody because you were mad at them? This is what occurred in Salem Village, Massachusetts during 1692. These erroneous accusations, according to Document A, led to the hanging of 19 people, and the crushing of another. But what caused the accusations? According to An Unsolved Crime: The Salem Witch Trials, the hardships the villagers endured, teenage boredom, and the Puritans strict religion were the causes of the Salem Witch Trial Hysteria. .
The witch trials of Salem are often thought to be a hysteria that can be categorized as fake and sometimes “crazy”. The trials started by the belief of the supernatural and the practice of the devil’s ability to grant people the ability to hurt others. Elizabeth Parris and Abigail Williams are the two young ladies that began the stereotypical beliefs in witchery. Williams and Parris started having hysterical fits and “uncontrollable” tantrums filled with screaming and crazy-like seizures. The result of all the insane opinions and conclusions to society were nineteen hangings, and one pressing. The Salem witch trials were a result of hasty decisions and the fear of God’s anger on the people of society. Today, the trials would be seen as crazy or fictional.
The religion of the townspeople supported the witchcraft accusations that were spreading. Back then, the people of Salem read the Bible extremely literally. In the book, it says, ‘“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” (Doc 1) This is how the executions began and how more and more people became convinced that witchcraft existed. After these three women were jailed, this set off a large stream of accusations that continued for the next few months. In the Bible it says that mostly women were bewitched, and since the people took the Bible very seriously, a large portion of the accused were female. Around 24-30 males were accused while 88-110 females were. (Doc 5) Also, since the Bible said that witches must die, 20 people were executed. Some were hanged, some died in jail. (Doc 2) The support of their religion caused paranoia to break out, introducing the last cause of hysteria.