Religious Beliefs Were Behind The Salem Witch Trials

2016 Words9 Pages
The view that religious beliefs were behind the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 is predominantly incorrect. While the Puritan culture’s strong Christian beliefs did dictate the behaviour of New England society, for the authorities that instigated the Witch Trials, religion was a mere justification for their actions that allowed them to gain support by instilling in the masses the fear of a higher power. Their true motives lay in the political and social issues of the time, with Salem Town’s division due to two disputing families, the ever-present fear of smallpox, and the male population’s immense opposition to female independence and sexuality. Thus, while society had strong religious beliefs, they were merely a pretext for the political and social factors of family conflict, disease, and fear of women that were the true bases for the accusations dealt in 1692.

While Puritan religious beliefs did contribute to the Salem Witch Trials, it was only to a minor extent as, rather than being the true source of the witchcraft fear, they were used by New England authorities to manipulate and control the public. In the 1600s, religion was the cornerstone of Puritan society, a denomination that originated in England and was established in America with the migration of approximately 9,000 colonists between 1630 and 1645. Already superstitious, with a Christian Church that preached of a God who protected his servants, and a Devil who preyed on the weak, society’s fears were intensified
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