Examples Of The Salem Witch Trials And The Salem Witch Trials

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Public relations consultant Edward L. Bernays once stated, “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society.” In American history, there have been numerous examples in which an individual or group spread mass hysteria and employed groupthink to make people believe in a cause or carry out actions, regardless of the consequences. Both the Salem Witch Trials and the Stanford Prison Experiment are examples of mass hysteria and groupthink in American society.
During early 1692, the Salem Witch Trials was triggered by a group of young girls in Salem, Massachusetts, who claimed to be possessed by the devil, and then began accusing several local women of witchcraft. In January 1692, when Elizabeth Parris, Abigail Williams, and Ann Putnam began to have fits of uncontrollable outbursts of screaming, a local doctor was called and diagnosed the girls with bewitchment. After this incident, more girls in the community began to portray similar symptoms to first three, claiming that the devil possessed them, and accused several other local women of witchcraft. Salem had a Puritan-based population that held strong beliefs in divine power- specifically in the Devil’s ability to give humans the power to hurt others, in exchange for loyalty. These people, loyal to the devil, appeared to the town as witches. The Salem Witch Trials resulted in the villagers’ suspicions and grudges toward their neighbors,
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