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Factors That Influence The Salem Witch Trials

Decent Essays
Numerous factors and events helped create and influence the Salem witch trials in colonial Massachusetts. The main factors that started and fueled the trials were politics, religion, family feuds, economics, weather and the imaginations and fears of the people.
Salem consisted of 600 residents who were divided into two groups; Salem Town and Salem Village. The residents who wanted to separate from Salem were called Salem Village, they was set apart based on; economy, class, and character. It consisted of poor farming families who made their living cultivating crops.2 The residents who wanted to remain a part of Salem were typically located on the eastern side of Salem--closest to Salem Town, giving them their name Salem Town. The
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This was a very uncommon perk to be included in a minister’s contract during this time period, the perk especifically angered the residents who wanted to remain a part of Salem Town. The Salem Town supporters showed their opposition by refusing to worship at the Meetinghouse and began to withhold their local taxes, which helped pay the minister’s salary and provided his firewood. In October of 1691 a new Salem Village Committee was elected, it was comprised mostly of Parris’ opponents. This new committee refused to assess local taxes that would pay Parris’ salary and also challenged the legality of his ownership of the ministry-house property. These actions by the new committee caused Parris and his family to rely solely on voluntary contributions for sustenance. The Putnams were now worried of losing Parris and the soughted independence from Salem Town the congregation would help bring, and Parris was concerned about his job and providing for his family. Salem Village, where the trials took place, was an agrarian, poorer counterpart to the neighboring Salem Town, which was populated by wealthy merchants. According to Benjamin C. Ray, “it was an economic difference that eventually divided the village geographically into two conflicting groups…the poorer agrarian householders who lived on the western side of the village set their hearts and fears against
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