The Trials Of Salem Witch Trials

Better Essays

Many explanations for the cause of the Salem Witch Trials in 1692 have been offered by historians since the first girl fell ill to bewitchment in December 1961. This marked the beginning of the witch hunt that ended with the death of twenty convicted “witches”. Historical writers have tried to allocate one particular factor or event as the cause of the Trials, but it is more likely that many of these factors and events are connected and a number of these issues are at the centre of the trials. The context that these historians are writing in are reflected in their work and perspectives and are also influenced by their own emotions and opinions. For this reason alone, no objective reasonings have been or may not ever be brought forward to explain what truly caused the Witch Trials to occur.
Many of the historical writings surrounding the Salem Witch Trials can generally be looked at in four categories: that there was real witchcraft at large within Salem, that the afflicted girls were deceiving the townspeople and the authorities, the victims were suffering from a physiological illness or that the social circumstances of the time were to blame. As with all historical writings and theories, each of the above theories should be considered as a reflection of the context that each historian is addressing the Salem Witch Trials in, as well as the sources they have chosen to use.

This comment, made by Winfield S. Nevins, perfectly emphasises the difficulty that historians face

Get Access