Historical Journalism At The Salem Witch Trials

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Historical Journalism at the Salem Witch Trials The Salem Witch Trials are one of the best known outbreaks of hysteria and fear in American history. This event began when Betty Parris, who was a daughter of Salem’s church’s minister, and Abigail Williams, who was her cousin, experiences several occasions of odd, violent behavior that they blamed on witchcraft. They accused two white women, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne, as well as a slave, Tituba, of practicing witchcraft in the village. The three women were arrested, interrogated, and kept in jail (Plouffe 1587). Hysteria and fear quickly spread throughout the village. Eventually, nineteen people were executed for witchcraft, about one hundred people spent time in jail, and about two hundred people were accused (“Salem Witch Trials”). Although the reasons behind this massive burst of terror seem clear and simple, there are actually several aspects of the trials that should be more closely examined. Topics that need to be analyzed include the ties between Puritanism and witchcraft, the difficult and obscure nature of the witchcraft accusations, and the socioeconomic factors within the village that led to the witch trials themselves. There is no denying that the belief, and fear, of witchcraft is heavily intertwined with Puritan theology. Puritanism is a very strict, reserved religion in which people are expected to live and act for God only. The presence of the devil was taken just as seriously as the belief of God. In

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