The Salem Witch Trials as a Form of Control of the Puritan Society

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The Salem Witchcraft Trials as a Form of Control of the Puritan Society

The Salem witchcraft trials resulted from a climate of repression, religious intolerance, and social hierarchy combined with fanaticism and the oppression of women. The Puritan leaders used the trials as a way to control the community and to prevent change in the strict social hierarchy. The trials ensured that the teachings of the church would be followed - anyone not following the church was simply accused of being a witch and punished accordingly. Witchcraft was considered a crime, and punishment was severe. The first recorded incidents of Witchcraft originated in the mind of a young girls who would supposedly use crystal balls to try and predict their future.
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The tension over land was growing fast. In 1632, the general court granted governor Endicott three hundred acres of land. With subsequent land grants to others, the boundaries and borders which told the people who owned what land was in dispute. Another land problem was caused by overcrowding in the New England communities. Salem was a seaport community that had been settled early and most of the land within its borders belonged to the first generation settlers. In the 1650?s, boundary disputes between Salem residents and those of surrounding towns increased. As a result of a shortage of land, most second and third generation Salem children lived as adults on subdivided land or moved on. The sons and daughters who stayed in Salem to farm found themselves with a lower income than their parents. "The resulting tensions were Heightened by the concentration of land ownership in the hands of a relative few." The outcome was a climate of extreme animosity that lead to strife, and it was this tension that lead the puritans to use the trials to acquire land from their neighbours.
The trials were a means to maintain the strict social hierarchy. A major source of social tension and conflict was caused by the farmers. The farmers outside town petitioned for their own minister and for their own house of worship. They had two reasons for their requests. One, they were far from town, and two they were
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