The Salem witch trials, that occurred in colonial Massachusetts, were a hostile part of American history. People lived in a constant state of paranoia and fear. A great number of people were accused of practicing witchcraft, which was thought to be connected to the devil, and some were even executed. Eventually, the colony realized the faults in the trials. By reading the primary sources ‘A Modest Inquiry into the Nature of Witchcraft Chapter II’ by John Hale and Two Letters by Governor William Phips, we are able to discover a wealth of knowledge about the aforementioned trials. The two sources allow the reader to gain insight into how the trials were flawed by showing the nature of the Salem Witch Trials, the evidence used to find the witches guilty, and the role native americans played in the trials. While also exhibiting how primary sources can be a disadvantage in navigating through historical events.
To learn more about the Salem witchcraft hysteria, Historian Paul Boyer, and Professor Stephen Nissenbaum sought to further understand the accusations of witchcraft. During the late 1600’s life in colonial New England was one led by religion and politics. Salem was broken up into two factions, Salem Village, and Salem Town. Salem Village, which was led by the Putnam family was a rapidly growing
This is a book broken into chapters with 376 pages. This novel discusses the people and events that occurred during the Salem Witch Trials in Massachusetts. The author, Emerson Baker, does this by taking a large number of primary documents, scholarly interpretation, and speculations from the centuries that surround the trials. Baker examines the trials inside the 1600 time period, he then places the trials into the bigger picture of American history
While spring is a time for growth, newlife, and awakening, in the spring of 1692 a rotten presence (both figuratively and literally) swept over Salem Village, Massachusetts when a group of young girls claimed to be possessed by the devil and accused several local women of witchcraft. Not only was this the spark of a religious uproar in the quaint, puritan town; but a spark that lit the match which eventually convicted over a hundred innocent people and claimed 20 lives. While the true pain of these trials cannot be seen in photographs or videos, it can be experienced through the words that have been written. In Marilynne Roach’s novel, “Six Women of Salem”, she tells the untold story of six women who underwent the grueling Salem witchcraft trials, and she evoked a strong sense of empathy for the victims through her use of first person narratives and factual evidence. Through these devices Roach successfully highlighted the twisted, prejudice, and uneducated society that America was, and, in some ways, still is today.
Many people are aware of the witch hunt that occurred in Salem, Massachusetts in the year 1692, however these same people may not be as familiar with the other witch hunt that also occurred in New England during the same year. Escaping Salem: the other witch hunt of 1692, written by Richard Godbeer, is a historical monograph that reconstructs the, mostly unheard-of witch hunt, that occurred in Stamford, Connecticut. The book also gives its readers insight into the minds of early American citizens. Thus, the theme of Escaping Salem, beside witchcraft, is human nature and Richard Godbeer’s thesis is that humans demonize others before recognizing their own share of human frailty. It is evident that he is biased toward the witches and sympathizes with them. This, of course, is not surprising since they were irrationally punished because of their neighbours unsubstantiated accusations. Richard Godbeer is currently a Professor of History at the University of Miami, who offers courses on a broad range of topics, including sex and gender in early America, witchcraft in colonial New England, religious culture in early America, and the American Revolution. He is also the author of 11 other historical monographs.
The Salem Witch Trials began in the late 1600’s and is widely known to this day as one of the darkest periods in American history. In this essay, I will be analyzing the context and origins of the trials, the hysteria that dramatically spread through Massachusetts, and the legacy that we’ve come to know today. (thesis statement will go here I just can NOT think of one and I’m tired of wasting my time trying. Help .)
The changing historiography of the Salem Witch Persecutions of 1692. How current/contemporary and historical interpretations of this event reflect the changing nature of historiography. The number of different interpretations of the Salem Witch Trials illustrates that historiography is ever changing. The historians, Hale, Starkey, Upham, Boyer and Nissenbaum, Caporal, Norton
Amanda Whitsett Robison History 1301 November 17, 2010 The Social Psychology of the Salem Witch Trials The events that took place in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692 have had historians scrutinizing over the causes for years. There have been several theories about how the situation became so out of control. The haunting story is well known in America, taught to our youth and has been the focus of numerous forms of media. We are familiar with the story but unfamiliar with the origin of its beginnings. The role of religion and the presence of mob psychology were the primary catalyst behind the Salem witch trials.
In the article, The Witchcraft Trials in Salem: An Account, professor Douglas O. Linder attempts to put the Salem trials into historical perspective by highlighting the socioeconomic differences between the accusers and the accused. Furthermore, Linder’s uses a commentary “account” of the trials to support his criticism of the Massachusetts Judicial system. More specifically, Linder highlights moments in the trials in which spectral evidence, which bases itself upon dreams and visions, taints the integrity of the Judicial system. “Salem should warn us,” Linder argues, “to think hard about how to best safeguard and improve our system of justice.” It is worth noting that Linder is not fair to the individuals including Cotton Mather and members of the jury, who firmly believed in spectral evidence at the time of the trials. Furthermore, the author does not appear to push any political agenda.
It is often difficult to understand the thought process that other people’s might have had many years ago. A college professor and writer, Richard Godbeer attempts to explain the thought process of the people who were involved in witch trials in the year 1692 in his text “How Could They Believe That?”. He often tells students in college and high school that we can relate to how society was in 1692 and how their views on life, and specifically the supernatural forces, are completely justifiable. In this article he explains the social atmosphere, the environment in which the settlers lived in, as well as how thorough the process of persecution was.
Between the months of June to September of 1692, the infamous witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts resulted in the hanging of 19 men and women; the deaths of five others, including two children, while imprisoned in jail; the pressing to death of an 80-year old man, and the stoning of two dogs for collaborating with the Devil. Hundreds of others faced accusations and dozens more were jailed for months during the progress of the trials. For over three hundred years these events have not only captured the general publics' imagination, but that of the academic community. Beginning with Charles Upham, in 1867, historians have attempted to explain the mass hysteria that swept through Salem in 1692. These accounts vary both in their
Puritans and the Salem Witch Trials During the time period of 1691 to 1692 the town of Salem, a small thriving community within the Puritan Massachusetts Bay colony, was struck by widespread hysteria in the form of witch trials. The way these trials and accusations played out are historically unlike any other witch trials found in European and American history. Historians have pointed to a number of economic, political, and social changes of the then existing institutions throughout the Massachusetts Bay area to be the cause of the Salem witch trials, along with the direction they took. If studied closely however, it becomes apparent that the main cause for the Salem witch trials can be found in the way the people of Salem viewed and
The central issue at stake for people during the Salem witch trials were a series of hearing and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft. It all started in Salem Village, in colonial Massachusetts between 1692 and 1693. A man by the name of Richard Godbeer, the author of “The Salem Witch Hunt” and several other books is a professor at the University of Miami. Godbeer’s research and teaching interests center on colonial and revolutionary America. Also, his fields of interest are in gender, sex, witchcraft and religious culture.
Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum depict a picture of the people and events during the Salem Witch Trials whose lives changed. It is a story of deeply divided families and of a community determined to establish an independent identity. Bringing to light a minister whose obsessions left tormented girls in
The Salem Witch Trials: Crisis in Salem Village Many people know of the Salem witch trials that took place in Salem, Massachusetts in the year 1692 spilling over into the year 1693. But for those who do not know, the Salem witch trials were a series of trials against men, women, and children accused of being a witch and or practicing witchcraft. In “The Devils Snare: The Salem Witch Trials of 1692” by Mary Beth Norton, the author recollects the stories of real life accounts of those accusers and the accused in Salem during that time. Mary Beth Norton explains the Salem witch trials differently than other books and articles by giving wide-ranging background on incidents leading toward the trials and how events in history were related to the trials.